How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater

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Water heaters connect to a water supply system and a fuel system, such as electrical supply lines or gas pipes. To safely remove or repair a water heater, you must disconnect all utilities from the appliance. Additionally, if you plan to remove the unit, you should drain the water tank before lifting the water heater. Water heater drain cocks protrude from the base of the heater's tank and accept a standard garden hose for easy draining.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
(Pierce Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Ladder
  • Garden hose
Step 1

Use a flashlight to locate the water heater's supply lines at the top of the heater's tank. Use a ladder to access the pipes. Place your hand near the supply pipes to determine which pipe is the cold supply line.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 2

Follow the cold supply line away from the water heater until you find the water supply valve. Water heater supply valves are typically located within 2 to 3 feet of the appliance.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 3

Turn the valve's handle counterclockwise to the off position. If you cannot locate the valve near the water heater, follow the cold water supply pipe to utility closets or the building's exterior.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 1

Use the flashlight to locate the pilot light access door at the tank's base. Find the black gas pipe that enters the heater near the access door.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 2

Follow the pipe away from the heater until you find the gas line's shut off valve. Gas shut off valves typically have stubby yellow or red handles. Turn the handle counterclockwise to the off position. In the off position, a gas valve's handle rests perpendicular to the gas pipe's length.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 3

Access the home's electrical breaker panel to shut off an electric water heater. Use the labels beside the breakers to locate the breaker that controls the water heater's electrical supply. Flip the heater's breaker switch to the off position. Alternatively, disconnect all electrical power to the home by turning off the main breaker switch.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 1

Locate the water heater's drain cock near the base of the water tank. Press a garden hose's female fitting against the drain cock's male threads.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 2

Twist the hose's fitting clockwise to attach the hose to the drain cock. Unravel the hose and lead the hose outdoors. Use an exterior window or door to access the home's exterior.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 3

Lay the hose's loose end away from the house. Nearly one full tank's worth of water will drain from the hose; use the water to water plants, if desired.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media
Step 4

Return to the water heater. Turn the drain cock's handle clockwise to open the valve. Drain water until the flow slows to a trickle.

How to Shut Off Leaking Hot Water Heater
Pierce Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, immediately contact your utility provider or emergency services for assistance.

References

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