My first question for you is do you know where to turn off the water at your house so when the water heater begins to leak, it does not continue to leak and ruin everything? Many people don’t. This is kind of important for 2 reasons; one thing that insurance companies consider when reviewing claims is did you make a reasonable effort to prevent additional damage after the initial discovery and, in many cases, the water will be going into your house through the walls and ruining things you love that can’t be replaced!
About 2 years ago my water heater died. If you have not had this happen yet, the bottom rusts out and the water leaks out and into the drywall surrounding the unit. We were home fortunately and saw it happening and got the water turned off before it had a chance to do much damage.
I don’t know if there are exceptions to this but above the water heater should be 2 metal water lines – one is for cold water coming in and one for hot going out. If you are lucky, they are marked with colors somewhere (blue/cold and red/hot). That cold water line should have a valve and if you turn that off, it should stop any more water from entering the water heater. Then you want to hook up a hose to the front of the water heater and empty it out to the street (remember that water is hot). Now, do you remember where I said it “should stop any more water from entering the water heater”? Well, if that valve is “worn”, it may not. In many houses, there is a whole house water shut off valve (sometimes in the garage – take a few minutes today to find yours). The downside of this is that it turns off all the water inside the house – the good news is, it will keep that water heater from continuing to fill and continuing to leak through the walls and all over your stuff! And if you can’t find that, you can go find the metal water meter cover in front of your house and remove that lid and turn it off at the street (if you live in a multi-unit building like a condo or apartment, ask where the shut off is for your unit).
Now, I have seen many water heaters with these cool pans underneath and assumed (be careful when you do that) that when they installed the new one 2 years ago, they would put one of these under it. They did not – they didn’t even offer. This made me sad, and there was really no reasonable way to put the pan under afterwards, so I just continued with my life and figured it was likely to be about 8 years before the new water heater failed (that is the average in Las Vegas I’m told). Fast forward 2 years, it happened again, and this time, we did not discover it so soon, so water traveled through the walls and underneath our beautiful laminate floors…. ruining them. This time, I went to a hardware store and bought the pan for them to install underneath, and it has the ability for me to attach pieces of PVC pipe and guide water where I want it to go next time it leaks, (instead of just letting it seep under my laminate).
This is not a story designed to have you feel sorry for me… it is supposed to inspire you to protect your belongings before what happened to me happens to you. Hopefully you’ll take the time to learn where your water shut-offs are, and if you have a water heater installed for any reason, make sure you get one of those pans (that goes for washing machines as well – I’ve heard some pretty bad stories about those too).
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Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff