How to shut down a leaking water heater?


Stumbling upon a puddle of water on the floor of your basement where your water heater is located usually means only one thing: you have a leaking water heater, and it’s something that you have to deal with immediately to avoid any water damage. In most cases, you will have to replace the water heater itself, especially when the water heater is leaking from the bottom.

However, before you can call on a plumbing professional to replace your water heater, you need to shut your water heater down first before the leak and the flooding gets any worse. Come to think of it, you will also need to shut your water heater down if it starts acting up for any reason. If you don’t have any idea how to shut down a leaking water heater, here are the steps you need to follow to do it safely.

1. Turn the gas or electricity off

Gas-powered heaters usually have a dial on top of the thermostat. Find this dial and twist it from the ON position to the OFF. You will also need to turn off the gas supply valve at the water heater. Just locate the red knob and twist it clockwise until you can’t twist it anymore.

For electric water heaters, all it takes is switching off the water heater’s circuit breaker.

2. Turn the water supply off

Your water heater has a water supply valve. You can cut the water supply off by turning the valve’s handle clockwise until it stops. If that doesn’t work, you can opt to find your house’s main water valve and turn off the water supply from there.

3. Drain the water heater tank

You may have already turned the water supply off, but water will continue to soak your floor because of the water still inside the tank. To stop this, you have to drain the tank itself. At the bottom of the tank is a drain valve, to which you can attach a hose. Take the other end of that hose outside or any place lower to drain all that water, which will likely be rusty and filled with sediments. To let air into the tank, you will have to open a hot water faucet anywhere in the house.

4. Open the relief valve on the leaking water heater

Position the handle straight up or straight out to open the relief valve and allow air to enter the heater. Be careful with the water though, because it could still be scalding hot.

After you shut down a leaking water heater, waste no time in hiring the best plumber to help you remove the damaged water heater tank and get a new one. To make it easier for you to find a plumbing professional, just use the Tradebusters free service. We can help you find and arrange a plumber in minutes.

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