You never can know when you need an emergency water heater repair in McHenry. And while you can’t prevent the need for a repair, you can be ready for anything. By knowing what to do when you need to shut down your water heater, you can minimize the cost and the damage. Follow a few emergency shutdown instructions, and you could save your home or wallet. 

Why Would You Need to Shut Down Your Water Heater?

When it comes to their water heaters, people don’t pay much attention. They assume that the appliance will last for decades and will never fail. But your water heater won’t last forever, and you should be ready for a serious issue. If you experience any of the following problems, you need to shut down your water heater.

Main Water is Shut Off

If the main water supply to your home is off, you may want to turn off the water heater. Although this isn’t necessary, this step can save you from a serious problem. It’s a case of preferring to be safe and not sorry. 

A water tank could build up pressure if there is no water supply. If your pressure release valve doesn’t work, your tank could explode. The chance of your release valve not working while your water is off is slim, but it’s possible. If the tank is close to empty and it won’t be refilled soon, your chance of trouble is high. 

You Go on Vacation

You probably have a checklist of things to do before you go on a vacation. However, you shouldn’t limit your checklist to things like packing bags and locking doors. Before you leave town, there are a few things you should do to protect your home from damage. 

When it’s time to go on vacation, pay attention to your water heater. You don’t need to have heating elements on when you’re not home to use hot water. If you leave your water heater on, you end up wasting energy. But you shouldn’t just shut off your heater and hope for the best. Turning your unit on and off frequently stresses the heater and could cause long-term issues. 

Instead of just shutting off the water heater, you should set it to “VAC” mode. If you have an older system, it might not have VAC mode. In this case, you should turn the temperature down to 50. You can save energy but avoid damaging your water heater. Furthermore, you won’t need to come home and wait hours to have hot water. 

So, you shouldn’t really use the emergency shut off when you go on vacation. With that said, it’s still important to know how to turn off your water heater. 

There’s a Leak

As soon as you notice a leak in your water heater, you should turn it off. A leak could result in water damage, which causes several issues. You could experience property damage, develop mold, or have structural problems. If the water comes into contact with electricity, you could be at risk for a shock. 

For these reasons, you should shut off your water heater at the first sign of a leak. The leak could happen for any number of reasons, like old age or a broken valve. If you don’t provide regular maintenance to your heater, you’re even more likely to have a leak. 

Regardless of the cause of your leak, you should call someone for a water heater repair service. Don’t turn your heater back on until you’re certain that the leak is gone. 

How to Turn Off the Water Heater

Now that you know when to turn off your water heater, you should learn what steps you need to take to turn the system off. If you don’t follow these steps, you risk damaging the water heater or doing more harm to it. 

Turn Off the Gas or Electric

The first step is shutting off the water heater is to turn off the gas or electric source. If you have a gas model, twist the dial located on top of the thermostat. It should be labeled with “on” and “off.” You should leave the home and call the gas company if you detect a gas smell near your water heater, or anywhere in your home for that matter. 

If you have an electric heater, go to your breaker box. Flip the breaker to the off position. Some water heaters have a switch directly on or near the heater, and in this case, you only need to flip the switch. 

Turn the Water Off

As part of the emergency shut down process, you should turn the water supply off. To accomplish this, find the cold water pipe that connects to the water heater. Then, follow the pipe back to the wall and locate the shut off valve. 

You probably have one of two valves. If you have a gate valve, it looks like a faucet handle. Twist it clockwise until you can’t twist it any more. A ball valve requires you to push or pull the handle a quarter turn until the water shuts off.

Drain the Tank

This step isn’t essential, but could be useful depending on the situation. If you want to drain your tank, connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Walk the house to a lower location, like the bottom of your driveway. Make sure there’s nothing near the end of the home that could be damaged by hot water, and keep your kids away from it. 

Turn on the hot water at a fixture that’s close to your water heater. Then, give the tank 10 to 30 minutes to empty out. 

Call Us for Emergency Water Heater Repair

After you shut off your water heater in McHenry, you should call a professional for help. Here at J. Blanton plumbing, we can repair any issues with your water heater. We’ll send someone out to you immediately and will get your hot water up and running in no time. The next time you need an emergency water heater repair, call us for help. (773) 724-9272