Leaking Water Heater

What to do immediately when your water heater starts leaking?

No one has invented a water heater yet that doesn’t eventually leak, in fact the only way to prevent a leaking water heater is to replace it before it starts leaking.  We don’t plan for our water heaters to leak but we can plan to know what to do when it happens.

You very likely don’t look at your water heater every day, even walking by it every day you aren’t actually paying attention to your water heater and inspecting it for slow leaks.  Did you know that approximately 14,000 people experience some type of water damage at home or at work each day here in the US?  That is a lot of water damage!  The average cost of a water claim is more than $7,000.00 and isn’t always covered by your insurance. Many of these instances could have been avoided which is why we recommend quarterly inspections of your plumbing.  Damage from your water heater can also often be avoided with the proper installation of a water heater pan.

What do you do if you’re water heater is leaking?  Here are some steps to help you alleviate the emergency while you call the professional team of Robins Plumbing to replace your water heater.

Gas Water Heater 

  • Turn off the gas – Twist the dial on top of the gas control valve as shown in the diagram from on to off.
  • Turn off the water to the water heater – the valve at the top of your water heater, located on the cold side which shut off the water to just your water heater, not to the rest of your home.
  • Drain the heater (if necessary) – if your water heater tank is leaking and is causing damage it may be necessary to drain the tank of the remaining stored water to avoid any further damage.  Attach a garden hose to the drain cock at the bottom of the water heater marked number 3 on the diagram.  Run the other end of the hose to a safe location, the water coming out of your heater will be extremely hot and will be filled with rust and particles.  Turn on a hot water fixture in the home to vent your hot water line.  Turn on the drain cock and allow to drain.  You may need to watch the hose to make sure that it isn’t blocked with debris coming from the water heater.
  • Unplug your recirculating pump – if you have a recirculating pump you will need to unplug it from the wall.

Electric water heater

  • Turn off the electricity – Turn the power off to your water heater by turning off the breaker at the breaker panel for your home.  This breaker should be marked “Water Heater”
  • Turn off the water to the water heater – the valve at the top of your water heater, located on the cold side which shut off the water to just your water heater, not to the rest of your home.
  • Drain the heater (if necessary) – if your water heater tank is leaking and is causing damage it may be necessary to drain the tank of the remaining stored water to avoid any further damage.  Attach a garden hose to the drain cock at the bottom of the water heater marked number 3 on the diagram.  Run the other end of the hose to a safe location, the water coming out of your heater will be extremely hot and will be filled with rust and particles.  Turn on a hot water fixture in the home to vent your hot water line.  Turn on the drain cock and allow to drain.  You may need to watch the hose to make sure that it isn’t blocked with debris coming from the water heater.
  • Unplug your recirculating pump – if you have a recirculating pump you will need to unplug it from the wall.