Clients often ask us what they should do when their water heater bursts. It would’ve been fantastic if water heaters gave us notice before they go on the blink, but unfortunately, they choose to surprise us, usually in the middle of the night.
While you wait for your emergency response plumber to arrive, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage:
1. Stop the Flow
The first step is to find the cold water supply and turn i t off. The cold water supply line leads out of the main supply and into the top of your water heater. When the tank is full, a properly working supply should turn off. However, the burst empties out your water heater, which keeps the cold water supply working. Turn the valve clockwise to turn it off and to stop the water flow, and stops it from spilling out of the burst seams.
2. Shut Off the Power
Your water heater’s heating element poses a hazard if it stays on, as it stays hot for long after all the water has leaked out of the tank, wasting energy and posing a fire hazard.
A properly working water heater should cause the element to shut itself off once the water reaches a set temperature. However, if your water heater burst as the result of a faulty thermostat, you will have to switch it off. You will have to locate the breaker and flip the switch in your electrical box, or by shutting off the gas line. Be sure to vacate your home until the smell is completely gone.
Once the plumber has fixed your water heater, you will need to salvage what you can in order to dry up your home and replacing damaged items.
3. Clean Up the Flooded Area
Firstly, remove all the undamaged items from the flooded rooms. You will have to take photos or videos of the damaged items, ceilings, floors, walls, and other fixtures for insurance purposes.
Finally, remove the water from around the tank and carpeted areas using a wet/dry vacuum. Running a dehumidifier should help prevent mold growth. Don’t throw the broken water heater away, as the insurance company will want to see it.
Some companies offer a specialized service to help homeowners clean up flooding in their homes.
4. Claiming Damages from Insurance
Even if you have not sustained much damage, it is a good idea to call your insurance company, as they will probably send out a restoration team to draw any excess moisture from your flooring and walls. They will also send an adjuster to take a look at the old water heater, inspect your home and look at the photos.
Keep this information handy, in case you ever have a burst water heater.