Your trusty water heater has always been there when you needed a quick shower before work or a long bath after the kids went to bed. However, when you least expect it, your faithful water heater can cause a major flood, leaving your basement and property damaged. Here are a few of the main causes of a water heater flood, the potential dangers associated with the rising water and how to prevent leaks and floods in the future
Why Do Water Heaters Leak or Cause a Flood?
Because water heaters hold gallons and gallons of water, they can cause some serious damage to your basement and property. From a small puddle caused by condensation to a huge water mess caused by a serious problem, here are a few of the reasons why water heaters leak:
Condensation – If you have a gas powered water heater it is not uncommon for some condensation to form when the colder water fills the already warm unit. Luckily, condensation will generally only cause a small puddle and, in the worst cases, some minor water damage.
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve or Drain Valve – According to Home Tips, if the water is running out of your water heater, the two main culprits are a faulty temperature and pressure release valve or a faulty drain valve. If you suspect either of these leaking valves is the cause of your flood, contact a professional immediately to fix the issue.
Rust – Finally, if your water heater is older, rust can form on the seams, near the valves and just about anywhere there is metal. Eventually, the rust spot will become large enough to cause a serious leak or flood.
Dangers Posed By a Water Heater Flood
A leaking water heater can cause some serious damage to your home. However, the threat to you and your family's health and safety should also be one of the your main concerns. Here are a few potential threats to watch for:
Threat of Electrocution – The combination of water and outlets or exposed water is dangerous, and it could lead to an accidental electrocution. If you enter your basement or home and there is standing water, don't try to shut off the water heater yourself; instead, contact a professional.
Burns – If you are in the vicinity of the water heater when it blows a leak, the hot water that comes spewing out of the unit can cause a serious burn.
Mold – Finally, one of the biggest threats associated with a water heater flood is mold. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold can form on a flood-damaged carpet is as little as 48 hours. After you contact a professional to deal with your leaking water heater, it's important to prevent mold growth by eliminating any standing water and removing any flood-damaged items from your basement.
How Can I Stop a Flood From Happening Again?
Water heater leaks and floods are unfortunately very common, but they are also very preventable. One of the easiest way to prevent a future flood is to have your water heater serviced and flushed once a year.
Replacing a water heater that is over 10 years old and installing a floor drain are two ways you can also ensure you don't suffer the financial devastation associated with a water heater flood.
Dealing with the mess and potential health hazards associated with a water heater flood can be emotionally overwhelming and financially devastating. Luckily, maintaining a yearly water heater maintenance schedule and replacing an older unit are two easy ways to can prevent this tragedy from ever happening!