What to do When Your Water Heater Breaks

water heater is broken

Having hot water just a quick turn of the faucet handle away is one of the greatest luxuries people rely on in today’s modern homes. From showering to laundry to dishwashing and cooking, there are plenty of daily uses for hot water that we all take for granted. Once the hot water stops flowing however, we quickly realize how important our hot water heaters are to our daily routine. That is why it is important to know how to spot signs of damage to your water heater, and what to do in case you require water heater repairs.

Common Water Heater Issues

A hot water tank is the source of hot water for most households. The popularity of tankless water heaters is definitely on the rise, but the majority of homes still feature a hot water tank as their source of hot water. Typically, a hot water tank will last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, but homeowners may start to notice a decline in performance after about 10 years of use. This decline can be caused by anything from a buildup of sediment or rust inside the tank, an increase in water pressure, or just minor leaks that go unnoticed for an extended period of time. If not properly maintained, your water heater will eventually succumb to issues like these, and the time will come for major repairs or replacement.


In the unfortunate instance where your water heater does break down, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage to the appliance before repairs get underway. First, you should deactivate the water heater entirely. If it is a gas-powered model, you’ll have to turn off the thermostat, usually located near the top of the tank. If you have an electric model you’ll have to turn off the power at the circuit breaker. You should then cut the water supply to the tank by closing the water valve. If the valve is broken or too stiff, you can turn off the main water supply to your home. You can now drain your tank without worrying about it refilling. There is a hose attachment found at the bottom of the tank where you can screw on a standard garden hose. Once the hose is attached and directed towards your basement floor drain, open the drain valve and empty the tank completely. You should also open the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank to ensure the water drains smoothly.

Even if your water heater is in good shape, you might want to periodically drain a portion of the water in the tank using the same steps listed above. This will help prevent any rust from occurring in the tank, and it will also drain any sediment that builds up over the years. Keeping rust and sediment out of your hot water tank will go a long way towards extending the life and improving the overall efficiency of the heater.


A leaky water heater is a major problem in any house. Not only does this mean your water heater will require repairs, but you may also notice the area surrounding the tank is stained or damaged, meaning more costly repairs. Draining your tank before a technician arrives to perform repairs is a good idea in the instance of a leak.

No Hot Water

Another common issue with water heaters is when they don’t produce hot water. Whether you have a gas or an electric model, this is almost always an issue with the power supply to the heating element. Check your circuit breaker switch to make sure your electric water heater is still on. If the switch is tripped, try turning it back on, then run the hot water after an hour or so to see if it is working again. For gas heaters, check to make sure the pilot light is still on. If it has gone out, you can attempt to relight it yourself, or wait for professional help to arrive.

Hot water heater repairs can be costly, especially if the heater hasn’t received any maintenance for a significant period of time. If you require either maintenance or quality water heater repairs, be sure to enlist the help of the experienced team of plumbing experts at Lillie Family Ltd today!

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