Steps to Take When Your Hot Water Heater Starts Leaking

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If you’ve ever approached your water heater only to find it trickling water, you know just how disconcerting that experience can be. You depend on your water heater for not only comfort but safety and sanitation. Hot water has become an irreplaceable component of modern life, and when your water heater fails, that can leave you inconvenienced and even displaced from your home until a repair can be made by a plumbing company in Gainesville, GA.

Though you’ll likely need the help of plumbing repair services to remedy the situation and install a new water heater in your home, there are some immediate steps you can take to mitigate damage. The first thing to do is contact your favorite plumbing contractor, as the sooner you can get professional help, the less time you’ll spend without hot water. Keep reading to learn a few of the steps you should take upon discovering that your water heater has sprung a leak.

Step 1: Turn It Off

To prevent further leakage that could cause secondary damage to flooring, walls, and other structures, you should immediately turn your water heater off upon discovering a leak. Look for a shutoff valve on the cold-water intake line. It could be a gate-style valve or a ball-style valve. If the valve itself is damaged or leaking, you may need to turn off the water supply to your entire home, either at a shutoff valve just outside your home or at the street where your meter is located.

Step 2: Cut Off Fuel Supply

Whether you have an electric or gas water heater, there is some fuel or energy that powers a heating device in the form of a burner or heating element. You’ll need to turn that off as soon as you cut the water supply, as failure to do so could result in further damage to the appliance or a hazardous situation. If your water heater is electric, simply flip the breaker that services the appliance. If you have a gas water heater, there should be a shutoff valve on the gas line that supplies the appliance. You can turn off the supply of gas safely there.

Step 3: Locate the Leak

Finding the leak can be tricky, but there are only a few components in the average water heater system that can leak. Leaks will usually be relegated to the tank or the connections that unite it with the supply line. Start with the connections, since they’ll be the easiest potential leak sources to assess. Check the cold-water supply line where it connects to the appliance, as well as the hot water outlet. Find the pressure relief valve on your tank. Check for dampness or leakage there, as it’s designed to allow excess pressure to escape. If your water pressure spikes or the temperature on your thermostat is set too high, that could lead it to leak to equalize pressure. If that’s the source of the leak, adjust your thermostat and monitor the valve for further leakage. Inspect the bottom of the water heater and the drain valve. If water seems to be dropping from the bottom of the heater and the source isn’t the drain valve, it could be indicative of a leaking tank.

Step 4: Drain the Tank

The average water heater holds 30 to 50 gallons of water. When you experience a leak, that water will end up in your home unless you take steps to stop it. The first step is to cut the water supply, but you still need to deal with the water that’s already in the tank. To accomplish that task, all you need is a garden hose. The drain valve on the bottom of your water heater can be connected to a standard hose, and the hose can be run outside through a door or window. All you need to do is turn the valve on once the hose is connected, and the water will empty harmlessly outdoors instead of causing secondary damage inside the house.

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If you notice that your water heater is leaking, your first step should be to call a plumbing service in Gainesville, GA, to assess the cause and provide solutions. Once you’ve made that call, use the steps above to take action to prevent further damage or safety issues. To learn more about what you should do when your water heater starts to leak, contact Gainesville Mechanical at (770) 532-9130.

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