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What Should You Do When Your Water Heater Leaks?

water-heater-tankOh no. You’ve run out of hot water or noticed problems with the consistency of heating, and you’ve checked on your water heater only to find that it seems to have sprung a leak. Water is pooling up on the floor, and you want to take action—fast. What can you do to get the problem under control?

In most cases, you won’t be able to solve the problem on your own. You need professional plumbers to get the situation under control. However, we have some advice on what you can do right away to get the problem under control without

#1: Find out where the leak is coming from

If there is water leaking from your water heater, it’s important to narrow down the source of the problem so that you know what to expect from repairs. You may not be able to do this on your own, or you might need to skip to the next step if the leak is urgent. However, if you can get a good look at the leak, it will give you something to tell a plumber.

  • A leak from the pipes – If water seems to be leaking from the point at which hot and cold water pipes meet the tank, tightening connections with a wrench may be a simple solution, but a plumber will know best.
  • Leaking from a valve up top – The valve near the top of the water heater is the temperature and pressure valve, allowing water to leak out to relieve excess pressure in the tank. This valve may only need replacement, or you may need the tank flushed.
  • Leaking from a valve at the bottom – This is the drain valve, which will likely need replacement.
  • Leaking from the bottom of the tank – At this point, the tank is corroding through, and you’ll need a new water heater.

#2: Shut off the water heater and the water supply shut-off valve

Shutting off the water heater is the first step in stopping the problem from escalating into something much worse.

You’ll likely find an on/off switch on the unit itself if you have a gas tank water heater. For an electric water heater, shut off the power at the circuit breaker.

Then, shut off the water that leads into the water heater. You’ll find a valve to turn clockwise, with a handle located above or off to the side of the water heater.

#3: Drain the tank (if you can)

Finally, drain the tank of hot water if you feel capable of doing so safely without the help of a plumber. This can stop any additional leaking, but you can also wait for an experienced plumber to do it for you. The process involves first attaching a hose to the drain valve and then emptying the water into a sump pump or floor drain.

#4: Call a friendly local plumber!

In most instances, you’ll need an experienced plumber to help you through your water heater troubles. Although you may have found the source of the leak, only a trained plumber can ensure the safety of your home and the performance and efficiency of your water. Improper repairs can lead to additional leaking or flooding, so make sure you entrust someone skilled to do the job.

Butler Plumbing repairs water heaters in Boca Raton, FL. Just tell your friends the Butler did it!

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