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Water Heater Mishaps: Your Guide For What To Do

Water heater failures are one of the top five sources of residential water losses. Since most residential tanks hold 40 to 60 gallons of water, when a malfunction occurs, flood damage becomes a harsh reality for homeowners.

What Causes Water Heater Mishaps?

Most people don’t pay much attention to the risk appliances, such as water heaters, pose to the safety of their property. They notice when they are not working because they are surprised with a spray of ice-cold water during what should have been a hot shower. Or wake up to stepping into a puddle of water on the floor after a water heater floods their home. Other than that, water heaters are one of the most often forgotten appliances in the home. But they shouldn’t be.

Water heaters endure wear and tear just like your vehicle or other appliances. They must be maintained to prevent a fire or water disaster you may not have bargained for.  Common causes of water heater mishaps include faulty temperature and pressure relief valves, rusted tanks, leaking seals and connections, sediment buildup, and improper sizing for water needs.

How Can You Prevent a Disaster?

To help prevent a water heater mishap, consider these simple safety tips:

  • Avoid piling boxes or other items around the water heater because you want to make use of the space. This puts your home in a dangerous situation. Waters heaters should never be in contact with other objects.
  • Take extra precaution to ensure no chemical or flammable products are stored near the water heater. It’s a simple safety tip that you can’t afford to overlook.
  • Monitor the temperature of the water heater. While hot water heaters can reach temperatures of 210 degrees, if it is set above 120 degrees there is a risk of scalding, especially for young children. Keeping the temperature at a safe level will also reduce your energy usage and save you a little bit of money.
  • Inspect your water heater every month. Look for signs of corrosion or blackened areas or moisture in area surrounding the water heater. Check the piping connections. If you do find a leak, you’ll need to get a replacement to fix the issue. If water floods your home, you will need a professional restoration company, like Rainbow International, to clean up the water and mitigate the damage.
  • Set the water heater to its lowest temperature while you are away from home. This will not only save you money, but it will reduce the chances of any water heater mishaps greeting you when you arrive back at home.
  • If you live in an area with frequent earthquakes, you can look into strapping your hot water heater to make sure it stays in place through any shaking.
  • Have your hot water heater checked for maintenance once a year to make sure the appliance is running smoothly.

When a Water Heater Mishap Occurs…

If you face a water heater mishap and water is flooding your home, there are immediate steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of long-term damage. Steps to take as soon as you detect flood damage:

  • Take a deep breath and remain calm so your thinking stays clear.
  • Close the water main or shut off any water source so flooding stops.
  • Shut down the electrical breaker in damaged areas before unplugging or removing any electrical devices from the wet carpet or submerged areas.
  • If gas water heater, turn off the gas valve to the heater.
  • Call the restoration experts at Rainbow International for immediate start of water remediation.
  • Contact a plumber who can drain the tank or replace the water heater.
  • Place aluminum foil under the legs or feet of any furniture in contact with wet carpet or water to prevent permanent staining.
  • Lift any curtains or draperies away from wet carpet or water.
  • Lift and tack up any upholstered furniture skirts.
  • Remove books, papers, fabrics, shoes, potted plants or other items that are able to stain wet carpet.

If you find yourself dealing with a water heater flood disaster, call your local Rainbow International or schedule an appointment online to get your home back in its best shape. 

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