September 12, 2016
When you’ve got a leaking water heater, there’s a lot more at stake than just your comfort. Even minor leaks soon turn into massive headaches if they’re neglected, damaging the walls and floors around them. Sometimes, they can get bad enough to cause flooding, too.
You should call an HVAC professional for an inspection when you find a leak. Otherwise, you could end up with heavy repair costs, both for the heater and your home.
Here’s a 5-step guide to what to do when your water heater is leaking:
1. Confirm the Source of the Leak – The heater is not always to blame for puddles near its base. These could also be the result of condensation from the heater’s pipes, exterior body, your home’s plumbing, and other appliances (like furnaces).
Check overhead pipes and nearby appliances for drips or leaks, mop up the pooled water and wait to see if it collects again. If there’s an obvious leak from the heater tank or fittings, or puddles keep forming after you clean them up, move on to the next step.
2. Disconnect the Power Supply – As long as the heater’s getting power, it keeps heating and you face risk of serious burns. At temperatures ranging anywhere from 125° F to 190° F, even indirect contact with the heated water is extremely dangerous!
3. Disconnect the Water Supply – If you haven’t located the exact source of the leak, and it’s not a heavy one, leave the water supply on to help you find it.
For serious leaks, turn off the cold-water supply from the shut-off valve (only if you can reach it safely). This is a handle or dial located above the heater, which you either pull down or turn clockwise. If you can’t reach the valve without touching the leak, turn off the main water supply valve for the house instead.
4. Locate and Diagnose the Leak– Before calling a repair company, try to find the exact location of the leak to help speed things up.
5. Hire a Professional for Repairs –If the leak is caused by a damaged storage tank, you will need to replace the unit entirely, since cracks in the tank’s glass lining cannot be repaired. Remember, leaks can get worse with improper handling, so always call a trained technician for repair or removal.
At Service Champions, we’re here to help with all your water heater maintenance and repair needs. If you’re facing a heater emergency, give us a call right away. We work 7 days a week – you don’t have to wait for a Monday!