When it comes to your water heater, it’s important to know when a problem requires immediate attention and when it can wait until regular business hours. In some cases, a leaking water heater may not seem like a big deal, but it can quickly escalate into a plumbing emergency. Knowing what constitutes a plumbing emergency can help you determine when to call an emergency plumber and when to wait.
Water Heater Issues
One of the most common causes of plumbing emergencies is a problem with the water heater. Whether you have a traditional tank water heater or a tankless water heater, there are certain issues that require immediate attention.
- Leaking tank: If you notice water pooling or leaking from your water heater around the base of the tank, it could be a sign that the tank is leaking. This is a serious problem that requires immediate attention, as it can cause significant water damage to your home.
- No hot water: If the water heater is not producing hot water, it could be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or a pilot light that has gone out, or a clogged heat exchanger for a tankless water heater. While these issues are not as urgent as a leaking tank, it is still important to address it as soon as possible.
Why a Leaking Water Heater is Dangerous
If a water heater leaks, it can cause a significant amount of damage. Some of the possible types of damage include:
- Water damage: a leaking water heater can cause water damage to the surrounding area, including the warping of flooring, discoloration of walls and ceilings, and the growth of mold and mildew.
- Structural damage: if the leak is not caught and repaired quickly, it can cause structural damage to the building, including the weakening or collapse of floors and walls.
- Electrical damage: if the leaking water comes into contact with electrical wiring, it can cause a short circuit, which can lead to electrical fires.
- Equipment damage: if the leaking water comes into contact with other equipment, such as HVAC systems, it can cause damage to those systems, which can be costly to repair or replace.
- Safety hazards: leaking water can create slip and fall hazards, and if left unrepaired, it can lead to a failure of the water heater which can cause burns, scalds, or even explosions.
It is important to address leaks as soon as they are noticed and turn off the power and gas supply to the heater. It’s also best to call a professional to repair it since it can be dangerous to attempt to repair it yourself.
What to Do if Your Water Heater Is Leaking
Here are a few things a homeowner can do before a plumber arrives to help with a leaking water heater:
- Locate the source of the leak: if possible, try to locate the source of the leak. This will help the plumber quickly identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.
- Turn off the power and gas supply to the water heater: to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of the plumber, turn off the power and gas supply to the water heater.
- Collect information about the water heater: have the make, model, and serial number of the water heater available for the plumber.
- Prepare access to the water heater: make sure that the plumber will have easy access to the water heater, including clear paths to and from the water heater and enough space to work around it.
- Take pictures or videos: if possible, take pictures or videos of the leak, this will help the plumber to have a better understanding of the situation before arriving.
- Be prepared to answer questions: the plumber will likely ask you questions about the leak, such as how long it’s been leaking, and what you’ve noticed about the leak. Be prepared to answer these questions as accurately as possible.
- Move valuables away: if the water heater is located in an area with valuables, move them away from the area, to prevent them from getting damaged.
By doing these things, you will be better prepared for the plumber’s arrival, and the plumber will be able to quickly identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.
Can You Still Use Hot Water If Your Water Heater is Leaking?
It depends on the severity of the leak and where the leak is coming from. If the leak is minor and coming from a pipe connection or a small hole in the tank, you may still be able to use hot water, at least temporarily. However, if the leak is severe and coming from the tank itself, it is likely that the water heater will not be able to heat water and should not be used.
It is important to address leaks as soon as they are noticed, not only to prevent further damage but also to avoid the risk of the water heater failing and causing scalds or burns and even explosions. Additionally, if the water heater is leaking it can also cause damage to your home and create slip and fall hazards, so it is important to address it as soon as possible.
In general, if you suspect that you have a water heater emergency, it’s important to call a professional plumber as soon as possible. The plumbers and technicians at Payless Water Heaters can help you assess exactly what’s wrong, and correctly repair any issues. Call Payless Water Heaters today, and don’t forget to check out our Google reviews!