Before You Call a Plumber: If Your Hot Water Tank or Heater is Leaking

Before You Call a Plumber: If Your Hot Water Tank or Heater is Leaking

It's a common problem with older water heaters, which is why it's a good idea to replace your tank, or at least have a plumber inspect it, if it is nearing the end of the warranty period. If it's already too late, and your water heater is leaking, you should aim to get a replacement as soon as possible, to avoid major damage from flooding.

Water heater tank with locations of water supply lines and power source.

1. Shut off the plumbing supply line. The first step to take when getting a leaking hot water tank ready for your plumber is to turn of the water supply to the heater. To do this, locate the cold supply line to the heater, which will be the colder of two lines usually located at the top of the tank.

2. Shutting off the power supply.

a. (electric tank) For an electric water heater, locate the breaker.

b. (gas tank) For a gas water heater, locate the gas valve and set it to the off position.

3. Call your plumber. It's a good idea to have the make and model of your tank handy, as well as the serial number. This information can generally be found on the tank, usually on a label or in a pocket affixed the the heater.

There are a few other problems common to hot water tanks. Sediment in the bottom of the tank, which can make it harder for the heating element at the bottom of the tank to heat the water, and can lend to the deterioration of the water heater's bottom. A faulty T&P (temperature & pressure) relief valve, or one which is clogged by sediment, can also be an issue. This device prevents the water in your heater from reaching a dangerous pressure level. Regular maintenance on your hot water tank can help to prevent these problems, among others. Your plumber can inspect and perform regular maintenance on your tank, just call for recommendations.