Shutting off the gas and water to a failed water heater should be done with safety in mind. Here are the safest steps, in the proper sequence, to accomplish this:
- Turn Off the Power: Before doing anything with the water heater, turn off the power supply. If it’s an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker or fuse at the electrical panel. If it’s a gas water heater, set the gas control valve to the “Pilot” position.
- Turn Off the Gas Supply: For a gas water heater, locate the gas supply valve on the gas line leading to the water heater. This valve is typically located near the water heater or along the gas line. Turn the valve to the “Off” position. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable doing this, it’s advisable to contact a professional plumber or gas technician.
- Turn Off the Cold Water Supply: Locate the cold water supply valve, which is typically located above or near the water heater. Turn this valve to the “Off” or “Closed” position. This stops the flow of water into the tank.
- Open a Hot Water Faucet: To relieve pressure in the tank, open a hot water faucet in your home. This helps prevent a vacuum from forming in the tank, which can impede drainage.
- Drain the Water Heater: Connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Position the other end of the hose to safely drain the water, ideally outside or into a floor drain. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely. Be cautious as the water may be hot.
- Ventilate the Area: Ensure the area is well-ventilated to dissipate any lingering gas fumes if it’s a gas water heater. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to flow through the space.
- Contact a Professional: After safely shutting off the gas and water and draining the tank, it’s recommended to contact a professional plumber to inspect and repair the water heater or replace it as necessary. They can also safely relight the pilot light on a gas water heater if needed.
Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with gas appliances and water heaters. If you are unsure about any of these steps or have concerns about gas safety, it is best to contact a qualified professional to handle the situation and address any potential issues with your water heater.