Hot water tanks have a normal life expectancy of around eight years. The best way to avoid flooding and other malfunctions is to have your tank serviced once
a year. Sometimes, however, emergency situations are beyond anyone’s control. The best way to avoid extensive damage when your hot water tank leaks,
is to know the right steps to take and to act quickly.
1. Find the leak
The most important step is to determine the source of the leak. Hot water tanks are often in areas prone to condensation and close to other plumbing
pipes and drains. If the leak is small, try wiping it up and determining the source of the leak via observation. If visibility is low, lay down some
paper towels or old rags to help you determine where the water is coming from.
2. Shut off the gas or electricity
Once you have determined that the leak is originating from the hot water heater, turn off power to the unit. If your heater is electric, locate
the breaker box and switch off the breaker associated with your tank. It is especially important to turn off the power for electric heaters, as floods
and electricity do not get along well.
If you have a gas hot water tank, there should be an on/off switch or dial at the top of the tank. You can flip the switch or turn the dial clockwise.
Avoid turning off the gas valve if possible. The gas valves can be finicky and susceptible to failure if not handled properly.
3. Shut the water supply off
If the water heater is leaking a significant amount, turn off the water at the cold water shut off valve.
Most water heaters have a valve located above the water heater that will shut of the water supply. It will either be a handle that you pull down or a
valve that you turn clockwise. All water heaters have this shut off.
If your water heater is inaccessible or the water surrounding it is too hot for your to safely access the area, turn off your home’s main water supply.
This shut off valve is located in a different place for each home, so it is important that you locate it prior to any emergencies. Cutting off access
to the water heater should slow down or stop the leak.
4. Call a pro
The last step you should take is calling a plumber. If your tank is leaking from the base, you will most likely need a replacement.
Trying to do repairs yourself could lead to further damage and leaks as hot water heaters can be very particular.
If you have any concerns during any of the aforementioned steps, give Milani Plumbing a call. He are happy to help, and walk you through the necessary
steps to prevent lasting damage to your home.