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  1. #1
    libby davis's Avatar
    libby davis Guest

    Default Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    Hope I can find some quick help.

    My home is rented - I live in another state. Tenants tell me that this morning the hot water heater (a gas unit, installed in an attic state select brand)
    emptied itself.

    They heard water rushing through the pipes and hot water was streaming out of the overflow pipe on the front outside of the home. They cut the water off at the main supply and left it. They are leaving town and i am out of town. trying to determine if I need to get someone in ASAP. A few questions

    #1 The hot water heater has not been touched.
    there is a dial on the bottom front that indicates it is an automatic gas shut off that once tripped cannot be reset. It has 3 positions - Off, Pilot and one not labeled (assume that is on). It still appears to be in the on position.
    Can a consumer safely turn that to off to shut of gas? if so i'll have a neighbor go in and do it?

    #2 The water supply to the water heater is still on. If we shut off the gas (I assume that is what the step above will do) then turn the water to the home back on will that be a problem?

    #3 Any ideas what could have caused this? it will be Monday before anyone can be there to wait for a professional to service!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    4,170

    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    #1 - Yes, turn off the gas at the valve going to the heater, it is ok to turn off the control at the heater but to but safer to use the service valve in the gas line going to the heater.
    #2 - maybe - but I would not advise it unless the water is needed. If water is needed, then turn off the water supply valve at the water heater (usually at the top of the heater) so that you have cold water to the house but the hot water system is still shut down.
    #3 - don't know, wait on the professional to diagnose.

    By the way they did the right thing to shut down the water but the gas should also be shut down since the water that came out sounds like it came from the Temperature/ Pressure Relief valve. This is the last line of defense to prevent the heater from exploding!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    libby davis's Avatar
    libby davis Guest

    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    Jim - thanks - can I ask a follow up? The black valve (off/pilot/on) is now in the off position.
    There is a flexible line running from this to what we assume is the gas line. on it is what looks like a knob but there is no level or anything to turn. the best I can describe is a tab with a hole in it - like you may need to insert something into that hole to run the tab. Does that make sense and is that where the gas is turned off? My neighbor cannot make it budge just by turning it with his hands.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    4,170

    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    Quote Originally Posted by libby davis View Post
    Jim - thanks - can I ask a follow up? The black valve (off/pilot/on) is now in the off position.
    There is a flexible line running from this to what we assume is the gas line. on it is what looks like a knob but there is no level or anything to turn. the best I can describe is a tab with a hole in it - like you may need to insert something into that hole to run the tab. Does that make sense and is that where the gas is turned off? My neighbor cannot make it budge just by turning it with his hands.
    That sounds like an old style gas valve that needs a wrench to operate.
    Likely just turning the control on the water heater to the off position is enough. I definitely would not have someone who is inexperienced to start "wrenching" on a gas line.
    Look and see if the pilot light is off or still burning. From what you have described the pilot should already be off and you should be good until the plumber gets there.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    The black valve (off/pilot/on) is now in the off position.
    Thats good

    There is a flexible line running from this to what we assume is the gas line. on it is what looks like a knob but there is no level or anything to turn. the best I can describe is a tab with a hole in it - like you may need to insert something into that hole to run the tab. Does that make sense and is that where the gas is turned off?
    Yes

    My neighbor cannot make it budge just by turning it with his hands.
    It's OK to leave it alone for now.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    Sorry Jim
    I should have waited a little longer before I replied.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
    libby davis's Avatar
    libby davis Guest

    Default Re: Water Heater emergency - am out of town...

    Thanks to you all. It is probably overkill but I had him call the gas company to just cut the gas off at the meter until the water heater can be repaired in a few days. better safe than sorry.

    Thanks for your prompt responses from this scared out of town homeowner!


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