Just. Great. You've noticed water pooling around your water heater because of a leak at the bottom. Now you're wondering, "How serious is this problem? Can it be repaired or do I need a new water heater?" Well, the seriousness of the problem depends on WHERE the leak is coming from at the bottom. So... Step 1: Determine the leak's location at the bottom of the water heater Look at these 2 places:

  • The drain valve (the spigot at the bottom of the tank that drains the water heater of sediment)
  • The water heater's tank

The drain valve looks like this:

If the leak is here-good news-the repair is simple and relatively inexpensive. You just need a plumber to replace the faulty drain valve. However, if the leak is coming from the tank, you'll need to replace the water heater. Why? Because, most likely, sediment (minerals) has built up at the bottom of the tank, corroding the tank's inner lining.

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Step 2: Turn off the water heater and water supply Now that you know where the leak is, you'll want to slow the leak to prevent further water damage. First, turn off the water heater.

  • For electric water heaters, find the water heater's circuit breaker and flip it to "off."
  • For gas water heaters, look on your water heater for an on/off switch or dial. Turn it to "off."

Now, shut off the cold water supply. To do that, look for a lever or dial above your water heater. Pull the lever or turn the dial clockwise. WARNING: Your water heater may be hot. So be careful that you don't come in contact with the tank as you reach for the dial or lever.

Step 3: Call a plumber for help If the drain valve is leaking water, call a plumber to replace the valve. Like we said, it's a relatively inexpensive repair. If the water heater's tank is leaking, you'll need to call a plumber to replace your water heater. To help you shop for a new water heater, check out these resources:

Do you live in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area? Ragsdale Heating, Air, Plumbing & Electrical can repair or replace your water heater and help you find a new one that's right for your family.

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