How to Shut Off a Water Heater

Is your hot water heater acting funny, overheating, or making odd noises? Most likely it needs your attention. Every homeowner needs to know how to turn off their water heater.

Even if you feel the need to call your local plumbing contractor, you still need to know how to shut off the water heater in case something more drastic happens before they arrive. If you procrastinate, or worse, ignore suspicious activity from your water heater, you risk leakage or flooding your home.

Whether you use a gas water heater or an electric water heater, you need to follow the proper procedure for shutting off, otherwise you risk injury to yourself or others.

First turn off the gas or electricity. With a gas water heater, twist the dial on the top of the thermostat to the off position. On an electric unit, switch the circuit breaker for the water heater to the off position.

Next, turn off the water supply. Do so by turning the handle on the water valve clockwise until it stops. If the water doesn’t stop, then move to the main water valve to shut off the water to the house.

Once you have the water turned off, it’s time to drain the water heater. First attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your tank. Run the opposite end of the hose somewhere at a lower angle. Be sure it’s somewhere safe to drain dirty hot water. Turn on a hot water faucet in your home to allow air into the tank.

Lastly, open the relief valve. Flip the handle so that it’s sticking straight out or up. Proceed with extreme caution, since you are dealing with extremely hot water.


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