Why Does My Kettle Leak?

Where would we be without a kettle? In the UK we drink an average of 5 cups of tea or coffee every day, that’s nearly 2000 cups a year. The poor old kettle has its work cut out. It’s a good job they’re relatively cheap to buy.

In a recent survey, the biggest bug bear about kettles was they leak. Either from the lid when pouring, around the base, or even from where the element is attached. Electricity and water don’t mix too well so be very careful if your electric kettle is leaking.

So that poses the question, why does my kettle leak? There are a few reasons the kettle might leak, let’s have a look at some of the more obvious reasons.

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Why Is My Kettle Leaking From The Lid?

The first thing to check is whether the kettle is overfull. As water boils, it expands or increases in volume. So if the kettle was over full before it started to boil, it will leak from the lid as it gets hotter.

 If it’s not caused by overfilling, it could be limescale build-up along the kettle rim. The edge of the kettle top or the lid itself doesn’t get descaled because the solution doesn’t reach that far from the full line even when boiling. The limescale can prevent the lid from sealing correctly allowing water to escape when pouring.

If it’s none of the above issues, it could just be that the lid is broken, there is usually no way of fixing a broken lid so you will need to replace the kettle.

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Why Does My Kettle Leak From The Spout When Pouring?

This is a common problem and an easy one to fix (in most cases) as it’s usually caused by limescale build-up around the rim of the spout. The limescale prevents the water from flowing freely along the spout, creating side streams of water that give the impression of a leak. Even if you regularly descale the kettle this can be a problem, because the descaler doesn’t reach as far as the spout.

If your kettle has a mesh scale filter just inside the kettle (before the spout) this can become clogged with limescale. That will cause the water to go everywhere except where it should.

Why Does My Kettle Leak From The Bottom?

Sometimes the kettle bottom can accidentally get immersed slightly in water when filling from the tap. This often happens if the bowl is full, and is easily done, we have a million and one other things going on and don’t always notice what’s going on under our nose. Check the kettle after filling but before placing back on the base, if it’s wet, wipe it dry and then place it on the base plate.

If it’s not wet from the sink, check if the water is spilling down the side of the kettle as you fill it. Sometimes just a slight angle to the kettle is enough for a slight trickle to run down the side. If it’s not that, it could have a small hole or split in the viewing window or the actual base might have a slight leak.

The problem with most modern kettles is they are made from plastic and plastic is not as robust as stainless steel or iron. They only need a slight knock and they can develop a small crack, as the boiling water expands, it can force its way through the hot, pliable plastic. Even stainless steel kettles are usually constructed with a plastic bottom, this is probably because plastic makes a good insulator, the heating element and all of the electronics can be sealed in plastic for safety.

The problem is the seal between the stainless steel sides and the plastic base can fail in places allowing water to leak out. If this is the case, stop using the kettle immediately, electricity and water do not mix and you could get electrocuted. If the kettle is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer for a repair or replacement.

Another reason for the base of the kettle to appear to be leaking, could be a small build-up of condensed steam every time the kettle boils. This can cause the seam at the base of the kettle to allow some of this steam in as it cools it turns back to a liquid state, and appears as a leak. Sadly this is a design fault in many electric kettles, and can’t be repaired.

All you can do is hope it’s still under guarantee and return it to the manufacturer and ask for a replacement. If possible, ask for a different model.

Why Does My Kettle Leak From The Viewing Window?

If you notice that water is leaking from the area around the kettles’ viewing window it’s probably because a small portion of the sealer used to secure the plastic viewing window has failed. This is quite a common problem with electric kettles. If the kettle is still covered by the guarantee, contact the manufacturer, this will usually result in sending the kettle back for repair or replacement.

Leaking Kettle Troubleshooting Guide

Check our troubleshooting guide for possible causes and cures for leaking kettles.

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Water leaking from kettle lidOver filling the kettleNever fill above the full line
Water leaking from kettle lidLimescale build-upRemove limescale with a descaler soaked cloth.
Water leaking from kettle lidBroken lidReplace kettle
Water leaking from the lid when pouringLimescale build-up on the rim of the kettle or on the lid.Remove limescale with a descaler soaked cloth.
Water leaking from the kettle spout when pouringLimescale build-up in spoutWipe the spout with a cloth soaked with descaler.
Water leaking from the kettle spout when pouringClogged scale filterRemove filter, descale, and replace.
Water on the kettle bottomBottom touched water in the sink when fillingKeep the sink clear of pots etc and take care when filling the kettle
Water appears to be leaking from the bottomWater spillage down the kettle when fillingKeep the kettle directly under the tap when filling and don’t allow water to spill down the sides.
Water appears to be leaking from the bottomLeak in the viewing window and water running down and pooling at the base.Check for leak and repair with food grade silicone sealant.
Water appears to be leaking from the bottomSteam entering the seal at the base of the kettle – Design faultReplace under guarantee.
Water leaking from the bottom of the kettleSlight crack in either the bottom of the kettle or the joint between the kettle side and base is leaking.Check for leak and repair with food grade silicone sealant.
Water leaking from the viewing window.Crack or joint failure on the viewing window.Check the viewing window, and repair with a food grade silicone sealant.

How To Repair Kettle Leaks

If your kettle has a leak and you can identify where it is actually coming from, the first thing to do is contact the manufacturer. If your kettle is still under warranty, and you have not caused the problem by neglect or willful damage, they will repair or replace it. If it’s out of guarantee, a new kettle can be purchased for as little as £5.

If, however, you would like to try to repair it, read on for our leaking kettle repair tips.Some are not so much repairs as descales but it will still result in stopping your kettle from leaking. Before undertaking any form of repair be absolutely certain that the kettle is unplugged and the power socket turned off.

How To Repair A Kettle Leaking From The Lid

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If the problem is caused by overfilling the kettle, this is a quick fix. Just remember to never fill the kettle above the fill line. That will solve the water leaking when boiling (caused by water expansion).

If you never overfill the kettle and the problem is scale build-up, just pour some descaler onto a cloth and wipe the kettle top rim and lid. Allow to work (check pack for timing details) rinse with clean water on a fresh cloth. The lid should now be leak-free.

If it’s neither of the above and it turns out to be the lid is broken, you’ll need to buy a new kettle. It might be possible to buy and replace the lid, but with cheap electric kettles starting at around £5 is it worth it?

How To Prevent Water Leaking From The Kettle Spout When Pouring

This will usually be caused by limescale forming in the spout, causing the water to run via side streams that are uncontrollable. Clean the spout using descaler on either a cloth or cotton swab, allow it to work and rinse. The water should now flow correctly through the spout.

If the kettle has a scale filter, remove it and soak it in a descaler, rinse it clean. Then replace it into the kettle. Next time you do a kettle descale, remove the filter and place in the kettle, this should remove any limescale whilst descaling the kettle.

If it still leaks it’s possible that the spout has been damaged, this could happen if it has been caught on the tap or if the kettle has been dropped. If this is the case, you will need to replace the kettle or learn to live with the leaking water.

How To Stop Water Leaking From The Bottom Of The Kettle

As we said earlier, if the bottom of the kettle is wet, it could be a number of things. Check that the kettle bottom doesn’t touch any water in the sink, when filling. That’s the easiest fault to fix. Or it could be a lack of care when filling the kettle, again this is another easy one to remedy just take care when filling.

If there is a crack in the bottom of the kettle, firstly boil the kettle, watching closely to identify where the leak is. Mark with chalk or some other easy to remove marker. Empty the kettle, allow to cool down and then repair with a food grade silicone sealant. Allow to cure, boil and empty 3 times and the kettle is then safe to use again.

If your kettle is stainless steel, the leak could be coming from the joint between the stainless steel side and the plastic base. Locate the leak, seal with food grade silicone sealant, allow to cure (see container for details) boil, rinse and repeat. The kettle should now be sealed and safe to use.

Whenever you undertake a repair to an electrical appliance that contains water only consider doing the repair yourself if you are confident of your ability and aware of the dangers and take relevant safety precautions.

If there is no actual leak but a build-up of moisture caused by steam condensing in the seal at the base of the kettle, there is no repair to be done. Contact the manufacturer and replace the kettle preferably with another model.

How To Repair A Leaking Viewing Window On A Kettle

Sometimes this is caused by the original seal wearing, or it could be the actual window has a slight split. Either way, locate the leak and use a food grade silicone sealant repair. Once the sealant has dried (cured) Fill the kettle, boil, empty, check for leaks and refill, boil, empty and the kettle should now be leak-free and ready to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a leaking kettle dangerous?

A leaking kettle is dangerous as boiling water can cause serious burns. Plus electricity and water do not mix, this could cause electrocution or a power shortage.

How do you fix a leaky plastic kettle?

You can fix a leaky plastic kettle using food grade silicone sealant.

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