One of the biggest household problems you can go through is a leaking water heater. This can cause all sorts of damage to your property, leaving you with thousands of dollars in expenses as you try to repair everything. To this end, it’s best to fix this problem as soon as possible. This typically isn’t something that you should do yourself given the amount of things that can go wrong. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t stop further damage from occurring. The process of stopping a water heater leak is fairly simple, and only requires a few steps that are outlined here.
Turn everything off
If you’re using an electric water heater, the first course of action is to turn it off at the breaker that controls the water heater. Since a leak is occurring you don’t want the heater to be running, wasting water, and potentially damaging itself. If you’re using a gas water heater, find the shutoff valve that connects to the water tank, and turn it all the way down. Besides the potential damage, a leak makes your water heater a lot less efficient, so you would end up wasting a lot of electricity or gas, costing you a lot more money over time.
And of course, you also need to shut off the water supply to the heater. On the right-hand side of the water tank, you’ll see around knob next to the cold inlet. Turning it clockwise as far as it will go will turn off the water supply and prevent any further leaking.
Find water meter
If for some reason, turning off the water supply does not stop water from flowing, you’ll have to find the water meter outside of your house. Usually, this can be found in a valve closet near the street. You’re looking for a fairly small valve. Due to its size, you’ll have to turn it using pliers. In some cases, it may be a valve requiring a meter key to turn, so if that’s the case you need to make sure you have the key on hand.
Drain with hose
On the bottom of the tank will be a drain valve. If there is any remaining water inside of the tank, you’ll need to drain it out before you have a professional work on it. All you need is a standard garden hose that you can screw onto the drain valve. Just make sure that you drain it completely in order to prevent further damage. Note that you should drain the water into a gutter or sink as opposed to the yard or driveway.
You also need to make sure that you have an actual water heater leak rather than simply a loose or open valve. An open water relief valve will cause water to accumulate on the floor, and you definitely don’t want to call a plumber for such a simple problem. And as mentioned before, if you don’t have experience with fixing water heaters, do not attempt to do it yourself. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartaches.