Synchronized SR calcium (Ca) release is critical to normal cardiac myocyte excitation-contraction coupling, and ideally this release shuts off completely between heartbeats. However, other SR Ca release events are referred to collectively as SR Ca leak (which includes Ca sparks and waves as well as smaller events not detectable as Ca sparks). Much, but not all, of the SR Ca leak occurs via ryanodine receptors and can be exacerbated in pathological states such as heart failure. The extent of SR Ca leak is important because it can (a) reduce SR Ca available for release, causing systolic dysfunction; (b) elevate diastolic [Ca]i, contributing to diastolic dysfunction; (c) cause triggered arrhythmias; and (d) be energetically costly because of extra ATP used to repump Ca. This review addresses quantitative aspects and manifestations of SR Ca leak and its measurement, and how leak is modulated by Ca, associated proteins, and posttranslational modifications in health and disease.