What Should You Do if Your Water Heater is Leaking?
If you ever experience a leak from your water heater the way I have, you need to understand a few important steps to take. A water heater leak can rapidly become a serious problem. It is true that a leak may not be something that can be repaired, and in many cases, you will need to replace the water heater. This is often true when the water heater is old, but if you ignore a leak the water heater can burst. This will likely cause water damage to your home and will cost much more than a simple water heater replacement.
Find Out Where the Leak Is
When I say find out where the leak is, I don’t necessarily mean the exact location of the leak, but verify that the leak is actually coming from the water heater. When I experienced a water leak on my water heater, I saw a puddle of water in front and slightly underneath the platform that the water heater was standing on. However, this didn’t necessarily mean that it was my water heater. My water heater is located in the garage, and there is a nearby washing machine. It is also possible there could have been a leak in the garage roof. Rule out the possibility of other sources.
Although I don’t have any nearby water pipes, these also need to be checked if they are near the water heater. Once you have the leak narrowed to the water heater, take a flashlight and see if you can get a visual confirmation of the source of the leak. There is no reason to touch anything; you need only to look.
Turn the Gas or Electricity Off
My water heater uses gas and there is a dial on the bottom of the tank. It is a simple matter to turn the dial to the off position. Most water heaters that use gas have a similar off switch. There are many water heaters in the county that use electricity. You will need to turn the power off to the water heater in one of two ways.
Your circuit breakers should be labeled, so you need only switch off the power to the circuit controlling the water heater. If you are not sure which circuit breaker it is, then you may have to turn the power off in your entire home. This latter option may seem drastic, but you cannot have electricity being fed into a leaking water heater for safety reasons.
Turn Off the Water Valve
After the power is off, the next step is to turn off the water. There is no need to turn the water off to your entire home; there is a valve or a knob that is connected to the water line running into the water heater.
After the power and water are turned off, call a professional for help. Whether a repair can be made or a new water heater needs to be installed, this type of work is best left to a professional. You may also need water damage restoration services if the accumulating water caused any serious damage to your floor.