4 Things You Should Immediately Do If Your Tank Water Heater is Leaking

If you’re reading this, there are two possible scenarios. First, you discovered that your tank water heater is leaking and don’t know what to do. Or, you’re interested in being prepared in case this ever happens in your home

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Either way, this will be good information for you to know. When (or if) your water heater begins to leak, time is of the essence. Any minute wasted could be more gallons of water escaping and ruining your home. So without further ado, here are the four actions you should take if your water heater is leaking.

1. Turn off the unit – You want to make sure that the power is cut so the unit stops heating up water and the system is safe to work around. If you have an electric water heater, go to your home’s electrical panel and turn off the breaker to the water heater (this should be labeled). For gas units, look for the thermostat and find the “Off” setting on the knob.

2. Shut off the water supply – Next, make sure that new water isn’t entering the tank. To do this, find the shut-off valve by following the water supply pipe that connects to the water heater. Rotate the valve to the right until it won’t turn anymore. This will close off the valve and shut off the water. If you have any issues finding or adjusting the water heater’s valve, you can also temporarily close the main water supply shut-off valve to the home.

3. Drain the tank – Even when that water is shut off, there are still 30 or more gallons stored in the tank. That’s why it’s important to drain the tank to prevent further damage. But remember that you’re dealing with hot water so be careful so you don’t get scalded. Here are the steps to draining your hot water tank.

  • Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. You should be able to twist the hose on like you do for the outdoor faucet (also called a hose bib or spigot).
  • Place the other end of the hose into a floor drain or sump pump. Remember that water will only flow down, so avoid raising the hose to drain into a sink that’s higher than the drain valve.
  • Open the water heater drain valve. If the water doesn’t start flowing right away, you may need to open the hot water side of a nearby sink faucet to break the vacuum.
  • Keep an eye on everything to make sure the tank is properly draining until it’s empty. 

4. Call a plumber – With the immediate needs taken care of to prevent water damage, it’s now time to take the next step and contact a licensed plumber. There are a handful of reasons why the water heater is leaking including:

  • Broken pressure relief valve
  • Corrosion inside the tank
  • Faulty drain valve
  • Worn-out or loose water lines

Some of these parts can be replaced, while others are more serious and may require you to replace the entire water heater system. 

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A leaking water heater can be a startling discovering. To get the issue fixed the right way, call the professionals at Emergency Plumbing & Solar. We offer 24/7 emergency service, so call us any time at (808) 691-9309.


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