Every homeowner needs to know how to turn off the water heater in case of an emergency. The longer a malfunctioning water heater continues to run, the more damage it could be causing, increasing the risk of leaks, flooding, and water damage.

Before you call Roger The Plumber for plumbing service, be sure to take the following steps to shut off the water heater.

1. Turn off the gas or electricity
If the heater is powered by gas, twist the dial on the thermostat to the OFF position. If the heater is powered by electricity, flip the circuit breaker for the water heater to the OFF position.

2. Turn off the water supply
The next step is to turn the water valve clockwise to stop the water from entering the water heater. If you still hear the water heater running, you’ll need to shut off the main water valve.

3. Drain the water heater
Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and run the other end of the house to a sink or outdoor location where you can drain rusty, hot water without causing damage. Be sure to also open a hot water faucet in the house to let air into the tank.

4. Open the relief valve
Flip the relief valve so it is pointing out or up.

Signs The Water Heater Needs to be Drained
It’s important to drain the water heater every three months to prevent sediment buildup, improve performance, and maintain energy efficiency.

It may be time to drain the water heater if you notice any of the following signs:

Little or no hot water
If you aren’t getting any hot water in the home, or very little of it, the cause may be a faulty burner or sediment buildup. In addition to draining the water heater, you’ll need to clean the tank with vinegar or a lime descaler. Roger The Plumber can take care of water heater cleaning for you, just give us a call!

Strange smells
Strange smells may indicate bacteria overgrowth caused by sediment buildup. In this case, you’ll need the help of a professional plumber to drain and sanitize the tank.

Unusual noises
A range of issues may cause the water heater to produce unusual noises.

Click here to see 8 plumbing tools every homeowner should have.