Preventing fires is at the forefront of most people’s minds these days. When it gets hot out, it also gets dry. That increase in environmental dryness contributes heavily to fire danger risks. However, like Smokey the Bear says: “Only You can prevent forest fires!” Also, that saying applies directly to water heater owners. While it is surprising to some, water heater malfunctions are the direct cause of hundreds of fires every year. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, water heaters were responsible for 11% of all the fires started by home-heating devices! So, in light of that shocking piece of fire trivia, let’s talk about the steps you can take today to help prevent water heater-caused fires this summer.
Step 1 – Have Your Water Heater Inspected by a Professional Every YearHaving us here at the Water Heaters Masters come out and inspect/perform maintenance on your water heater annually is an impactful way to prevent fires. During these inspections, our plumbing professionals will make sure that your water heater is free of malfunctions. We also make sure to get a head start on preventing possible future failures. Remember, even something as seemingly minor as a pinhole gas leak can cause a major fire! Get your water heater checked by our water heater experts annually!
Step 2 – Learn How to Shut Your Water Heater OffThis may sound kind of silly, but many homeowners have no idea how to shut their water heaters off entirely. Moreover, that is the first thing you should do if you are starting to have serious issues. If you smell gas or discover a leak, you can shut off the water heater before a fire starts or more damage is done. To entirely shut down your water heater:
- Turn off the water supply by turning the handle on the water valve clockwise until it stops moving.
- Shut off the gas by twisting the dial at the top of the water heater thermostat from the On to the Off position.
- If you have an electric water heater, head over to your breaker to turn off the power to the unit
- Drain the water in the heater by attaching a hose to the drain valve at the unit’s bottom. Then turn the valve to allow the hot water to drain. It would help if you also turned on the hot water somewhere in your house to help keep air from being trapped and causing issues. Be careful. The water draining from your water heater will be very HOT!
- Open the relief valve at the top of the water heater so that it points straight towards you. Be careful here. The water or steam that can be released from the relief valve will be HOT.