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A boiler and hot water heater in a laundry room

Water heaters will typically last for many years as long as you take care of them. However, there’s always a chance that they may leak. When this happens, it’s crucial that you call a plumber right away to repair the damage.

While You Wait – Initial Steps To Take

While you wait for help to arrive, it’s important that you take steps to prevent further damage and to keep you and your family safe. Here’s what you should do:

  • Turn off the energy source. If it’s an electric heater, flip the switch on your breaker panel labelled “water heater.” If you have a gas-powered tank, shut off the gas by turning the knob on the thermostat from ON to OFF or PILOT.

  • Shut off the water. There’s a valve next to the main water line that you should turn to the OFF position. If water doesn’t stop flowing, you’ll need to cut off the main water supply to your home until the plumber arrives.

  • Drain the tank. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve found near the bottom of the tank. Run the hose to a floor drain, sump pit or tub. Open the valve. If water doesn’t come out, it’s because there’s a vacuum in the tank. Break the seal by turning on any hot water faucet in your home.

The tank should take about an hour to drain. Be careful around the water, because it’ll be very hot. There are few things that can cause your water heater to leak including broken drain valves, corrosion, loose water line connections and broken water temperature valves. Your emergency plumber will be able to pinpoint the cause of your leak and take the necessary steps to repair it.

How To Prevent Future Damage

To prevent future problems, make sure to maintain your water heater properly. Mainly, you should flush the tank once or twice a year to get rid of sediment or minerals that have settled to the bottom. Start by taking the same steps outlined above. When the tank is empty, turn the cold water valve back on to rinse out the inside. You can also hire a plumber to come in once a year to perform regular hot water heater maintenance. This will ensure that your heater stays in good condition and will help you avoid costly emergency repairs or replacement.

Call Us for 24/7 Emergency Plumbing Repairs

If your water heater is leaking or you’re experiencing any other type of plumbing emergency, call Pitton Plumbing & Heating Inc. We have plumbers available 24 hours a day to respond to your call. Contact us immediately to report an emergency or any time to schedule a future visit.


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