Leaking Hot Water Tank? What Should You Do?

June 25, 2018

A homeowner has woken up to a leaking hot water tank. The appliance surface is damp, water is dripping, and the floor is quickly becoming a wading pool. This is a sobering moment. The situation is obviously unnerving, but this is no time to give in to rash thinking. Before doing anything else, close the system down. Here’s how we proceed. If the system is electric, start by turning off the electricity.

Turn off the Power 

Stay calm and in control. Keep all family members away while addressing the issue. As mentioned above, begin by turning off the electricity supply to the hot water tank. Clearly, this advice only applies to electrical systems, but there are many of these products on the market. If the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, the water may be conducting a lethal charge. Turn off the power at the distribution board before going any further.

Stop the Water Supply

The leak could be penetrating the gas or electric innards, so stop that water right now. At the bottom of the tank, the tap or lever should be clearly visible. A crouching position helps here, but try and stay away from the damp puddle, if at all possible. Turn the tap and stop the water. If it’s rusty and inoperable, then the mains water valve will have to be closed down, so head back to the property mains water line and close that primary valve.

Isolate the Fuel Line 

If this is a gas-fueled water heating system, that gas supply line needs to turned off, too. Locate the dedicated gas line, shut off the valve, and pause for a moment to double check the work. The breaker has been flipped and the water supply is OFF. Alternatively, the gas line has been closed, the pilot light set to OFF, and the water supply has once again been isolated. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the system, all of the system, should never be approached until these steps have been taken and verified.

Hot water tanks are loaded with safety features. There are thermocouples and safety valves and circuit breakers and carbon monoxide sensors protecting everyone. However, safety features can fail. As unlikely as that prospect seems, we can’t take chances with gas or electricity. That’s why these three system mediums need to be addressed before we can even think of approaching the water tank. Isolate the electricity or gas, turn off the water, and make everything safe. Then and only then, start troubleshooting the fault. Better yet, call in a Bexley emergency repair service.

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