Hot water heaters are an indispensable part of any modern household, so it's quite a disturbance to daily life when they don't function properly. If you've discovered a puddle or pool of water under or around your water heater, you should check out this list of steps to get the problem under control safely.
Keep Your Distance
Your first instinct here might be to sop up the mess and then to try and examine the water heater. While this is a good intention, it's a bad idea.
For starters, if the water that's leaking and creating the pool is coming from the water heater and not the water intake, it's going to be a hot puddle that could scald you. Secondly, there's the hazard of slipping and falling. You can toss a towel down if you must, but keep your distance and don't touch the water with your hands or feet.
Shut off the Water
Next, if the puddle is growing or has ripples in it like water is still flowing, you should shut off the water main to your house. While turning the water off at the water heater itself would be more convenient for your household, as previously mentioned, it's not necessarily safe to approach it right now.
For now, you'll just have to go without water for a little while. To make this easier for your family, consider filling a few containers with clean water so you can all have something to drink. You can even fill a large bucket with water and use it to flush the toilet while the water is turned off.
Call a Plumber
The last step here is to call a plumber. This is an essential thing because it's nearly impossible for homeowners to repair burst pipes or leaking hot water heaters on their own. The plumber will arrive with all the tools and knowledge necessary to do so and will figure out where the leak is coming from so you don't have to.
If the leak is coming from the pipe, this should be a fairly easy replacement. Your plumber will figure out where the leak is coming from and will replace that segment of the pipe.
If your water heater is leaking, there are two possible options. If a repair is possible, your plumber will fix it. This may be covered under your water heater's warranty, so make sure to ask about that.
Unfortunately, some leaking water heaters will need to be replaced entirely. If this happens to you, ask your plumber for advice on replacing the water heater. If it's been a while since you've replaced your water heater, there may be new makes and models that can do the job more efficiently than the one you've had.
For more tips, reach out to an emergency plumbing service near you.