What to Do if Your Water Heater is Leaking
Residential water heaters play an important role in ensuring your home has hot water for bathing and washing dishes. These heaters are often designed to hold anywhere from 50 to 60 gallons of water or even more, depending on their size, and that means if your water heater ever springs a leak, you could end up with a sizable flood by the time you notice it. Here’s what to do if you find your water heater is leaking.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Leaking Water Heaters
If you notice your water heater leaking from the bottom, it is a dangerous sign that should be resolved as quickly as possible. Here’s what you should do in the form of step-by-step instructions.
- Stay calm. This is perhaps the most crucial step of what to do if your water heater begins leaking. Panicking is not going to help your situation! It’s important to stay calm and assess the problem rationally. Don’t try to fix the leak yourself if you’re uncomfortable doing so, if you lack the tools to do it properly, or if you don’t have the expertise necessary.
- Find the source of the leak. Knowing where the water heater is leaking will be important later, as the location of the leak will determine how it is resolved. Fixing a leak from the hot water outlet, for example, is likely to involve different steps from the drain or the pressure relief valve. Once you’ve found the source of the leak, you can take steps to stop it.
- Turn off the water. Shutting off the flow of water to your water heater will prevent long-term issues. If the leak is coming from the water supply line, for example, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to your water heater. This will stop the leak from getting worse as water continues to flow into the heater until that flow is interrupted.
- Turn off the heater. Once you’ve turned off the water supply, you’ll need to turn off the heater. This will prevent the heater from working and potentially causing more damage. The heating elements inside many water heaters can burn out unless they’re in contact with water, and a leak can lower the water level within the tank to the point where this may happen.
- Drain the tank. If the leak is coming from the tank itself, you’ll need to drain the tank. Most water heaters have a built-in drain spigot for this purpose. Be sure to drain the tank only after you’ve shut off your heater to prevent excess damage, both to your tank and your home!
- Call an expert. If you have the tools and knowledge to fix a leak on your water heater yourself, you can do so at this point. However, if you’re not able to fix the leak yourself, you’ll need to call an HVAC professional or plumber. They will be able to assess the damage and make the necessary repairs to prevent the leak from returning.
Burns & McBride has been fixing water heaters in Delaware and throughout some areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland for more than 70 years. Feel free to call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX to discuss any issues.
Tips on How to Prevent Water Leaks
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is much better to avoid the dangerous possibility of a water heater leak than to deal with costly repairs. Even worse, you may find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to completely replace your water heater due to such a damaging leak.
To that end, here are some additional tips to help you prevent a dangerous water heater leak in your home:
- Have your water heater inspected and serviced regularly by a qualified professional. This will help to identify and fix any potential problems before they cause a leak, as well as keep your water heater in good shape thanks to regular maintenance.
- Install a water leak detector. A water leak detector can alert you to a leak even if you’re not home, especially if you opt for a Wi-Fi-enabled smart device. These early warning systems are crucial, as having a water leak detector alert you to a problem will give you time to take action and prevent further damage.
- Keep your water heater clean. A dirty water heater can build up sediment within the tank, especially if you have hard water at your residence. This sediment build-up can increase the risk of leaks.
- Check the water heater connections regularly. The connections between the water heater and the pipes should be tight and secure. If they’re not, this could be a sign of a leak.
- Be aware of the signs of a water heater leak. Not every water heater leak is immediately catastrophic. Often, they begin more subtly. However, knowing the telltale signs of a water leak that’s just starting can help you identify it early, before it becomes too destructive or costly to fix. Some signs of a water heater leak include:
- Water leaking from the bottom of the water heater.
- Water pooling around the water heater.
- A musty or moldy smell coming from the water heater.
- A drop in water pressure.
- A change in the temperature of the water coming from the faucet.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to have your water heater inspected by a qualified professional as soon as possible. You can reach Burns & McBride anytime at 302-273-1341.
Preventing and Fixing Leaking Water Heaters
Just like any other appliance in your home, your water heater needs regular maintenance and servicing to keep it functioning properly. With your water heater playing such an important role in the ability of your home to be safe and comfortable, it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to it so that you can keep leaks from getting out of hand. Again, if you’re unable to fix a water leak directly, do what you can to stop the leak temporarily by shutting off the water and the heater itself, and then call a qualified professional immediately for further help.