Emergency Hot Water Heater Shutdown Procedures

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Be Prepared For Almost Any Hot Water Heater Emergency!

Know Exactly What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater Starts Acting Up!

One of the most frequent questions we get from customers at Horizon Services is “How do I turn off my hot water heater?”  This is something EVERY homeowner should know how to perform.

If your hot water heater is overheating, making strange noises or performing unusually, it’s EXTEMELY IMPORTANT that you do not allow it to run; the longer your hot water heater continues running, the worse the problem could get and the more likely that you are going to have leakage, flooding or worse. Even if you have called a plumbing or heating contractor to come look at the problem, it is still better if you can turn off the hot water heater before the technician arrives to look at your appliance.

Do-it-yourselfers who perform their own hot water heater maintenance will want to drain water from their hot water heater tank every three months to prevent sediment build-up and improve performance and energy-efficiency. Before draining your hot water heater, you DEFINITELY must turn it off to avoid the risk of scalding or electrocution.

Whether you use a gas water heater or an electric water heater, follow these instructions any time you need to shut off your appliance. Use the diagram below to see where on your hot water heater you can expect to perform each of these functions.


Hot Water Heater Shutdown Instructions:

  1. TURN OFF GAS OR ELECTRICITY:
    • Gas: Twist the dial on the top of the thermostat from the ON to the OFF position.
    • Electric: Switch the circuit breaker for the water heater to the OFF position.

  2. TURN OFF WATER SUPPLY. Turn the handle on the water valve CLOCKWISE until it stops. If the water does not stop, turn off the main water valve for the entire house.

  3. DRAIN WATER HEATER. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Run the other end of the hose to a lower place where you can drain rusty, hot water without causing damage. Open a hot water faucet in the house to let air into the tank.

  4. OPEN THE RELIEF VALVE. Flip handle so it is sticking straight out or up. (CAUTION: Scalding hot water).

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