Few things in life are worse than a leaking hot water system. It’s a real end of the road problem as it most likely means you have to replace the entire unit. Sadly there’s no patch job for a major hot water leak.
From a slight trickle to a complete burst cylinder, hot water issues will leave you a bind. Fast action is required to prevent any nasty water damage and additional problems.
Now, the best course of action is to contact an emergency plumber straight away. But if you are looking at a hot water leak, you probably can’t leave it alone until they arrive, even if it’s within the hour.
You have to address the leak and make sure you’re not going to be flooded. Here’s how you can safely manage a leaking hot water system and minimise any loss of water leaking from the top of the tank.
Confirm Where the Hot Water Leak is Coming From
If you’re worried about a hot water leak, it’s always best to be 100 per cent sure of where the water’s actually coming from. Being aware of the cause is going to help you work out what to do next.
Take a close look at your unit and surrounding plumbing. Potential leaking parts include the following:
- Storage tank cylinder
- Temperature pressure relief valve (near the top of the tank)
- Tempering valve
- Associated pipework or plumbing
If it turns out the leak is from the plumbing that carries cold water into the water heater, then it’s likely you’ll have to turn off the water mains entirely. However, if the pressure relief valve is leaking, you can often get away with just closing the cold water supply line.
Shutting off the Hot Water System’s Water Supply
To shut off the water supply flowing into the water heater, look for a tap with a round, black dial. This is usually located by the unit and when turned in a clockwise direction will shut off the hot water system’s supply
Turning off your Water Mains
While waiting for a plumber to arrive, it might be necessary to switch off the water at the mains. Your water mains will often be located at the front of your property, near the fence or driveway.
If you live in a set of units or apartments this may be a touch more difficult. Turning off the water supply to multiple homes is a big call and potentially not possible. Alternative options may include an isolated water mains supply within your apartment. This could be located under the sink, in the laundry, or possibly in the bathroom.
Switch Off the Power Supply
Due to safety reasons, it’ll also help to switch off the power supply to your hot water system. For a gas water heater, twist the gas supply valve next to the system. This is a handy precaution to prevent any unmitigated risk.
Meanwhile, for an electric hot water system, head to the switchboard and turn off the circuit breaker labelled hot water.
Patch it Up!
If there’s still water coming out of a storage tank or pipe and the supply’s shut off, can you stem the flow any other way? It might be a quick patch job with some duct tape or a towel, and it may just have to do while you wait. Try not to do anything which will damage your plumbing, though! Just grab anything which is going to provide a helping hand in retaining water.
A Leaking Water Heater: What Happens Next
The good news is that if you’ve called Jim’s Plumbing, we’re already on the way. Switching off the water supply in the meantime will hopefully minimise damage caused.
Now, a leaking tank is hard to manage. Hence why you want an emergency plumber within the hour. But at least with the water shut off, you can worry less about major flood damage outside (or inside).
With a plumber on site in a hurry, you’ll then be advised of the best possible solution. This could be simple and effective valve replacement or plumbing repairs. Perhaps a few fittings and connections need to be tightened! Or, it may be the replacement of your entire water heater.
Regardless of the outcome, you can trust a hot water specialist from Jim’s Plumbing. We’ll provide fast and reliable repairs so your leaking water heater is watertight. Contact us today for more advice or support.