How To Deal With Water Heater Flooding

water heater flooding cleanupWater Heater Flooding

One of the most important appliances in your home is the water heater. It allows a supply of hot water to be used throughout the house, including bathroom sinks, showers, kitchen faucets, washing machines, and dishwashers. All of this warm water is provided by the heater in your basement.

Like all appliances, there are multiple ways that your water heater could fail. If it is an older model, rust or corrosion may be affecting the gaskets or pipes that are connected to it. Sediment buildup can also be an issue, though the anode rod should help guard against rust in the tank. Additionally, a malfunctioning thermostat could lead to a buildup of pressure in the tank since the heater cannot determine the temperature of the water inside.

These Issues Can Cause Water Heater Flooding

If corrosion or rust has led to the deterioration of seals, gaskets, or pipes, then your water heater could start leaking. Or, in a potentially very dangerous scenario, a broken thermostat could allow overheated water to build up so much pressure that the tank explodes, sending debris and water all over the area. This can cause serious damage to the room and the house as a whole. A plumbing issue with the connected piping could also cause the heater to release water into the room.

The Consequences

If your water heater tank explodes or leaks, then standing water could end up in places that it shouldn’t. This can cause flood damage that will harm the structure of the home, the surfaces in the affected area, the air quality, and your nearby possessions.

Structural Damage

Water can have a devastating effect when it is absorbed by porous materials. Whether it is in contact with wooden floorboards, drywall, concrete, or other building materials, it can compromise the integrity of the whole building. Eventually, if left untreated, rot could develop or a floor could even collapse. Structural damage caused by water needs repair immediately to protect everyone in the building.

Mold Growth

Mold thrives in dark and damp environments. Since most water heater flooding occurs in the basement, a low-traffic area, mold has the potential to spread before it is discovered. This releases harmful contaminants into the air, potentially causing respiratory problems or other health issues for those exposed. Proper remediation tactics will be necessary to remove the mold and prevent further spread.

Ruined Possessions

Depending on where your flooded water heater is located, your possessions could be at risk of damage. A leak could put excess moisture in contact with other appliances, furniture, storage structures, and other items that would be ruined.

Important Steps to Deal with a Flooding Water Heater Tank

To mitigate the damage that can be caused by water heater flooding, there are a few steps that you must take. Safety always comes first, so if you are uncertain about anything, call someone who can provide professional help so that you do not get hurt.

Safety First

Before you attempt to turn anything off, make sure that it is safe to do so. If there is steam in the room, there could be a buildup of pressure in the tank, making it dangerous. If the leaking water feels hot, this could also indicate that it is unsafe to approach the tank. Any electrical outlets that are close to the water should make you immediately stop and call a professional.

Consider the Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker in your home could also be a danger if the water is nearby, so consider shutting off power if the water is widespread. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination and can cause fires, so make sure that electricity is off wherever there is water.

Turn Off Cold Water Valve

Shutting off the supply of water to the heater is a crucial step to preventing more flooding. If there are any leaks, the heater will continue to draw in water, so the supply needs to be cut off.

Shut Off Heating Element

You also want to make sure that the source of heating is off, whether you have an electric water heater or one that runs on natural gas. Doing this will prevent the heat from building up in the water tank.

Check the Drain Valve and Pressure Relief Valve

Drain valves, (located on the bottom of the tank), give you the ability to drain the water heater, but they can also be the source of the leak if they are corroded or faulty in some way. Similarly, the pressure relief valve is meant to allow small amounts of pressure to escape the tank during the heating process so that it does not build too much. This valve could be another source of leaks.

Water Damage Solutions

Once you have stopped the leak by shutting off the water supply with the appropriate valves and draining the tank, it is time to consider how to repair the damage. You may need to replace parts for the heater to return it to working order, or even replace the water heater entirely if the damage is too great.

But you also have to think about fixing the water damage that was caused by the flooding. You can either attempt the restoration process yourself or hire a Portland water damage restoration company.

DIY Restoration

If you want to handle the repairs yourself, then you will need the right equipment. A water meter and infrared technology can help you locate every spot that the water has reached in the affected area. Sump pumps, manual pumps, and wet-dry vacuums or shop vacs can help you extract the standing water that is left behind.

For the materials that have absorbed the moisture, use large fans, air movers, and dehumidifiers to evaporate the water and remove it from those surfaces.

You should also remove any wet items that you can and allow them to dry outside. This will reduce the amount of moisture in the room and help dry out the area faster.

Professional Services

The better option is to hire a team of professionals to restore your property. They will have more effective equipment, more knowledge of water heater flooding, and can provide a thorough inspection to weed out every drop of water that is left over. Plus, you can rely on a licensed plumber to do the job correctly.

When you feel ill-equipped to handle the water damage in your home, contact a reliable contractor who can return your property to its original state. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost of the repairs, so it is best to leave it to professionals to make sure that it is done correctly.