Puddles of water around your hot water heater maybe due to a leaking pipe. Though hot water heaters do have release or pressure valves that sometimes drain off water from the tank, it always is a good idea to check the around the pipes for leaks. It probably will not take you long to pinpoint a problem if there is a leaking pipe, just be sure to cut the power to the heater before you begin.
Turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater. Find the circuit breaker box to your home. Switch the breaker to water heater to the "off" position.
Shut off the gas supply to the water heater if it uses gas. Locate the gas line and turn the valve clockwise until the line is completely shut.
Examine the cold water input pipe. Look at the area where it meets the water heat, on top of the tank. Check to make sure the pipe's fittings are tightened down all the way. You may not have to replace the pipe if the connector is simply loose. Tighten the connector with an adjustable wrench or a pipe wrench if it is loose.
Repeat the step above for the hot water pipe located to the left of the cold water pipe. If you tighten both pipes and either one is still leaking, you will have to replace it.
Examine the rest of the pipe to see if you can locate the leak along the surface of the pipe. Look for drips, or large amounts of water covering the outside of the pipe.
Measure the length of the entire pipe with a tape measure. You will need to measure all of the angles or curves if the pipe is not straight. Add the lengths together to find out the total length of the pipe you need.
Shut off the water supply to the entire house. Open several faucets to drain the water lines in the house.
Connect a garden hose to the faucet at the bottom of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose in a place where it is safe to drain warm water. Open the valve to the faucet on the heater. Allow the entire tank to drain before proceeding.
Remove the leaking section of pipe with your wrench. Connect the new section of pipe and tighten down the connector pieces.
Shut the valve to water heater faucet. Remove the garden hose. Shut off the open water faucets inside the house. Turn on the water supply to the house. Turn the gas back on to the water heater. Flip the circuit breaker to the water heater back to the "on" position.