There are some hot water heaters that hold about 20 gallons of water at a time. There are others that hold about 100 gallons.
But no matter how big or small your home's hot water heater might be, you're going to have a huge mess on your hands if it ever bursts on you. When you see your hot water heater burst, there is going to be water all over the place. You'll have to act fast to stop a bad situation from getting even worse.
So, what exactly should you do when your hot water heater goes kaput? There are a series of steps you should take as soon as you see water start to leak from it.
Here is what you should do to stop your hot water heater from doing any more damage than it already has.
Shut Off Your Hot Water Heater's Water Supply
First things first: Before you even think of doing anything else to your hot water heater, you should shut off its water supply so that water doesn't keep on refilling it.
As soon as you see your hot water heater burst, you should find the water valve located on it and turn it clockwise until it's tight. This should stop water from continuing to flow into your water heater's tank.
If, for whatever reason, it doesn't, the next thing you should do is shut off the main water supply valve in your home. That will definitely do the trick as far as preventing water from filling your water heater tank.
Drain Any Water That's Still in Your Hot Water Heater
If you don't see your water heater burst right away, there is a decent chance that it'll empty water all over your floor. That will leave you with a huge clean-up job.
But if you get to your hot water heater before it's empty, you can stop it from draining completely. You can grab a hose for your water heater and attach it directly to the drain valve that's positioned down near the bottom of it.
You can then open up the drain valve and let the water from your water heater drain to a place where it won't cause any damage.
Open Up Your Hot Water Heater's Pressure Relief Valve
While water is in the process of draining from your water heater's tank, a vacuum might form that will stop the water from flowing out of your tank smoothly. There is an easy way to fix this problem.
Find the pressure relief valve on your water heater and flip it so that it opens up. This will stop a vacuum from forming and keep the water from your tank coming out.
Just be extra careful when you take this step since you might expose yourself to hot water from your water heater. You could end up getting burned by it if it comes into direct contact with your skin.
Rinse Your Hot Water Heater Out With Cold Water
As long as you've done everything that we've mentioned so far correctly, the water left in your water heater should continue to drain out until there's no water left. You should watch it drain to make sure that no other problems pop up.
You should also prepare to turn the water supply back on after your water heater is empty. By doing this, you can rinse it out and wash away any sediment that might be left behind in it.
You should, of course, be very careful when doing this since the last thing you want to do is welcome too much more water into your home. Only use as much cold water as you need to rinse your water heater clean.
Mop Up Any Water That Leaked Out Onto Your Floor
Even if you're able to start working on these steps right after you see your water heater burst, you're probably going to have to clean up at least a little bit of water from the floor surrounding your tank. Get to work on it as soon as you can.
If you allow too much moisture to linger around in your basement area or your utility room, it could lead to mildew and mold growing in the space. It could also lead to you having to replace flooring by the time everything is all said and done.
Don't put off cleaning up the mess left behind by a bad water heater for any longer than you absolutely have to. You could pay the price for it later.
Contact a Plumber to Have Your Hot Water Heater Replaced
You're not going to be able to live in a home without hot water for very long. When you don't have a functioning water heater, you won't be able to do things like take a shower or even wash your hands.
It's essential for you to get in touch with a plumber as soon as you can to have your water heater replaced. They can talk to you more about what to do (and what not to do!) with your old water heater.
They can also talk to you about the pros and cons of traditional water heaters versus tankless water heaters. It'll help you pick out a new water heater for your home in no time.
Make Sure You Spring Into Action When You See Your Water Heater Burst
When you see your water heater burst, you're going to start to panic right away. It can be difficult trying to figure out what to do when your water heater conks out on you.
Keep the steps listed here in mind to make the most of a bad situation. You should be able to get things under control in a matter of a few minutes and avoid doing any lasting damage to your home in the process.
Looking for advice on replacing a hot water heater? Check out the articles on our blog to see which hot water heaters you should consider using when you do it.