It starts with warning signs. Rumbling sounds and even banging noises from the basement or hot water cupboard. Rusty looking or smelling water from the hot tap. Maybe even a small pool of water at the base of the tank. This is a hot water tank calling out for help, telling you in all the ways it can that trouble is brewing.
This is the time to call the plumber, to get it sorted out before disaster truly strikes. But sometimes that’s simply not possible. Maybe you missed the signs, maybe you weren’t there to notice. Left unattended your distressed water heater finally throws in the towel and you’re left with the nightmare of all home-owners: the sound of rushing water gurgling out of the tank and steadily filling up your basement.
The hot water tank has burst.
Stop the onslaught of water. Damage control will come later, the first priority is to put a halt to the sudden tsunami raging against your carpets. Put on a brave face, and your gumboots, and wade to the tank. The cold-water supply pipe is what you’re looking for, it feeds water into the tank from the main pipe. When the tank is filled its designed to turn off automatically, but there is no filling a burst tank so it’ll just keep on pumping out water until you turn it off. It needs to be manually closed, turn the valve nice and tight. If this doesn’t stop the water flow, you’ll have to find the main water supply valve for the house and turn that off.
Cut the power. You’ve already got a burst water tank, you don’t need a housefire on top of that. The heating element inside the tank is designed to be constantly submerged, it’s a massive fire hazard if left turned on while out in the open air. If the tank is gas powered turn off the valve leading to the tank.
Drain, and call the plumber. Now comes the hard work. It’s best to drain the water as soon as it’s safe to be in the room in order to avoid future problems like mold build up from all the moisture. Call us up to get the tank itself sorted out, and take photos of the disaster for insurance purposes or if you’re a renter.
Blog by Leticia Philip.