Leaky hot water tanks are a common occurrence in many households. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation, such as when you spot a leak, is important in order to keep your house safe and free from damage.
Cummings Plumbing Heating & Cooling is a plumbing and HVAC company based in Tucson, Arizona. Their specialty lies in repairing and installing residential and commercial plumbing, heating, and cooling systems. They provide a few tips on what to do when you have a leaky hot water tank.
Figure Out the Source of the Leak
Notice a leak in your hot water tank? The first course of action is to determine the source of the leak. Cummings Plumbing Heating & Cooling of Tucson, Arizona, claims that more often than not, it isn’t actually your hot water tank leaking, but something else. Whatever you do, don’t panic. Instead, take the time necessary to figure out where the leak might be coming from and if it is even a leak that you’re dealing with. For example, not all water found at the base of a hot water tank is necessarily a leak. Sometimes condensation can form and as it builds, it causes droplets of water to land on the floor. In addition, something else, such as the water softener discharge lines, furnace drain lines, or another plumbing issue could be the cause of the leak. In order to determine the source, dry the area and then inspect the hot water tank for signs of a leak. If you don’t notice anything obvious, inspect any other possible sources (remember to look up as water will always drip down). If you still aren’t sure, place some paper towels on the floor over the area where you found the original puddle of water. Check back every few hours to see if any water has returned. If the water doesn’t return after a day or two, it was likely just a build up of condensation; however, if it returns and you haven’t found any other obvious leak, then it is more likely your hot water tank.
Turn Off the Power
As soon as you have determined that your hot water tank is responsible for the leak, Cummings Plumbing of Tucson, Arizona, claims that your next course of action should be to turn off the power supply to the hot water tank. If you have an electric water heater, there should be an “off” switch for your water heater on the circuit breaker box. Alternatively, if you have a gas water heater, you should be able to find an “off” switch or dial on the tank itself, usually towards the bottom. Ideally, you want to avoid turning off the gas shut-off valve, as these can be quite finicky and hard to turn back on.
Turn Off the Water Supply
Cummings Plumbing’s final piece of advice for a DIY repair of your leaky hot water tank is to turn off the water supply. Before a plumber arrives, do your best to turn off the water supply to your house by turning the cold water shut-off valve to “off.” Typically, cold water shut-off valves either have a handle that you will pull down on or a dial that can be turned clockwise. It’s important to note here that Cummings Plumbing does not recommend closing the cold water shut-off valve if you can’t reach it without coming into contact with water. Thus, if you’re unable to turn it off, then your only option will be to turn off the house’s main shut-off valve; however, this will cut off any and all water supply to your house. One benefit to shutting off the main water supply valve is that it should completely stop, or at the very least, slow down the leak.