While there are many things that can go wrong with a water heater, one of the most startling things you can experience with yours is finding that its overflow pipe is dumping water everywhere. If your water heater is in your garage or a closet, this can cause a big disaster. However, don't act without reading this guide first: making the wrong decision could make the problem worse, or even create a dangerous situation.
Don't Shut Off The Valve
The overflow pipe is generally located on top of water heaters, and its purpose is to dump extra water that the water heater can't hold or has become to hot. If your first instinct is to turn the valve that's on the pipe, don't. If the pipe isn't cracked or broken, this valve would indeed stop the leak. However, there's a strong likelihood that the pipe is leaking because it's fulfilling its purpose: the water heater is overheated or needs to drain of water for safety's sake.
Turning the valve and shutting off this flow could result in the water heater becoming pressurized. Unfortunately, it is possible for water heaters to explode, and they can cause devastating damage to homes and potentially harm anyone that's nearby with scalding water.
Save Water & Your Home
If you're concerned about wasting water or your home becoming water damaged due to the overflow pipe leaking, there is something you can do to safely stop the flow. Turning off your home's water main will prevent water from flowing into the water heater. While your water heater may remain overly hot, it won't be pulling in more water to replace what's being lost via the overflow pipe, so the flow should eventually stop.
You can also shut off your water heater's heating mechanism. The process for this depends on whether you have an electric water heater or a gas-powered one. If your water heater came with a manual, make sure to consult it before attempting to shut off your water heater.
Call A Plumber
The final step you must follow is to call a plumber. A plumber will be able to quickly and easily determine if the pipe is damaged or the water heater is simply overheating. Whether the repair is as simple as replacing a damaged pipe or replacing the entire water heater, your plumber will be able to handle the situation and get your life back to normal.
Now that you have these tips on-hand, you can take immediate action to stop the flow of water and get the help you need. Nobody wants to find that their water heater is malfunctioning, but these tips can help to make the water heater repair process as easy as possible.