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What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater Leaks

Water heaters can last a long time, but even the best ones can break and leak. When your water heater does break, you need to take action immediately. A leaky water heater may seem like a minor inconvenience, but if left untreated, it can turn into a major problem. While you wait on a master plumber to permanently repair the problem, here’s what you can do.

what to do when your hot water heater leaks

Turn Off the Water Supply

The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the water supply. To do  this, you’ll need to find its shutoff valve on the cold inlet pipes. If your water heater has a gate-style valve (a wheel that turns), turn off the water supply by turning the valve clockwise as far as you can. If your water heater has a ball-style valve, turn the handle 180 degrees to shut off the water supply. 


Turn Off the Power Supply

To ensure your safety, the next thing you need to do is shut off the water heater’s power supply. The process for doing so will depend on whether you have an electric or gas water heater. 

For gas water heaters, you can locate the gas shut-off valve on the gas line leading to the tank. To shut off an electric water heater, it’s recommended to shut off the circuit breaker completely.


Determine the Location of the Leak

Next, it’s time to find the location of the water leak. There are a few ways to determine the location of the leak. As a general rule, when water leaks from the top, it can be repaired. If your water heater is leaking from the bottom, it’s more likely that there’s a serious problem. Here are some possible locations where your water heater can be leaking from.


  1. Inlet and Outlet

Start by checking the inlet and outlet. Where pipes connect to your water heater is often a source of leaks.


  1. Check the Pressure Relief Valve 

The pressure relief valve, also known as the T&P valve, may release water as a safety measure if too much pressure is built up. 


  1. Check the Bottom of the Tank

If the leaks aren’t coming from the inlet, outlet, or pressure relief valve, the next place to look is at the bottom of the tank. If the leak is located at the bottom of the tank, your water heater is likely cracked. If this is the case, you will need to have a new water heater installed. 


  1. Check the Drain Valve 

The last place to check for the source of a leak is the drain valve. It’s usually located at the bottom of the tank and should be closed completely. Leaks can occur if a washer inside the valve has gotten warped or needs to be replaced. 


Enlist the Help of a Master Plumber

The quickest and easiest way to resolve a leaking water heater is to enlist the help of Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating. We offer emergency repair services and will be there to help no matter when your water heater starts leaking. Give us a call now at (866) 531-1449 to schedule an appointment. 

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