Water heaters can experience all kinds of problems in their time, but when one fails, it's a disaster for most homeowners. Whether your water heater is indoors or outside, if yours has sprung a leak, you need to be careful. Here's what you should do immediately after finding a leak in your water heater or the plumbing leading to and from it.
First of all, examine the area and stay away from the water. If your water heater is indoors and the leak has either caused a pool to form or is spraying around the room or on the walls, it could quickly become an electrical hazard.
Rather than trying to do anything in the room with the water heater, head outside and shut off the power at your breaker. This will ensure that no electricity is flowing in the room with the water heater and will keep you safe.
Next, you need to control the water itself. This is usually a two-step process for most people.
Your first step should be to shut off the water main to the home. This will stop the leak and keep it from making a bigger mess.
Once this is accomplished and your water heater is safe to access, shut off the water supply at the heater itself. This will allow you to turn the water main back to the entire home so that you have access to water again. Keeping the water shut off at your heater, however, will prevent the leak from getting any worse.
Next, pick up the phone and call a reputable plumber. Temporary fixes, patchwork, and so on won't be a good way of addressing this problem. If your water heater has developed a leak itself, a full replacement will likely be necessary. Leave the process in a plumber's hands instead of trying to struggle with it yourself.
Secondly, if you simply have a leak in the home, you might feel as though simply fixing the pipe or patching it will be enough. However, since your water heater emits extremely hot water, you'll need a specific type of pipe that can withstand extreme temperatures. These temperatures could also damage patchwork, so contact a pro for help.
Having a water heater go bad isn't something that anyone wants to experience, but most people will go through it at least once if they own a home. Talk to a plumbing contractor and get the problem corrected so that you don't have this same headache again soon.