You hear a noise coming from the basement; perhaps it’s a hissing or a rattling, but upon further investigation you discover it is in fact your water heater. Do you know what to do? It’s very important that you know how to shut down an overheating water heater, since the longer it runs, the more there is chance of flooding or even expensive damage to the heater and its components.
First things first, turn off the gas or the electricity. For a gas heater, turn the dial on top of the thermostat to the ‘off’ position. For an electric heater, simply switch the circuit breaker for the heater to the ‘off’ position.
Now that it’s safe to handle the heater itself, turn off the water supply. Make sure the handle hasn’t overheated first with a quick touch to avoid potential burning. Turn the valve clockwise as far as it will go. If the water doesn’t stop after this step, turn off the main water valve to the entire house.
The next step is to drain the water heater by attaching a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose at a lower position into a large metal bucket or some place that can handle hot and dirty water without sustaining damage. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house to let air in.
Finally, carefully open the relief valve by flipping the handle so it sticks straight out or up. Watch out for the possibility of spraying hot water during this step and be sure to protect your extremities and face. After the water heater is shut down, call a local Lakeland professional for help.