Think Fast: What to do when your water heater bursts in your home

Think Fast: What to do when your water heater bursts in your home

For many, the first indicator that their water heater is going out, is simply a lack of hot water.

The nightmare of a water heater leak is costly and potentially devastating to a home.

So how do you properly avoid and prepare for a water heater bust?

"Water heaters should last, roughly eight to ten years," said Angelina Plumbing Supply Owner Mike Branson. "Of course, the water heaters are not made as heavy duty as they used to make them."

Tim Hutchison of Hutchison plumbing explains that a powerful leak does not happen overnight.

"On a gas water heater, right here, you'll start seeing it on the bottom here," said Hutchison. "If something gets stuck in it, then you'll start seeing a rust stain down the side of it and you'll have to change your T&P. Most of the time it's going to be at the bottom and it's going to be inside your tanks a small leak, usually, and then if you don't take care of it then, then it will get bigger."

Hutchison describes the breakdown as a more of a wear-and tear process, as opposed to all at once.

"It thins that metal down and it will start cracking," Hutchison said.

When a leak occurs, your water heater continues to run. Many can expect to experience far more than 40 or 50 gallons of water that your water heater may hold.

"You have a cold side a hot side, and your cold side comes in here and if feeding your water heater, so if you don't walk up here and shut this valve off, you water is steadily running because it's making a circle through this water heater," Hutchison said.

Shalisha Smotherman's home illustrated when this type of disaster goes from bad to worse.

"I woke up and got ready to get up and answer the door and it's like I stepped immediately into warm water," said Smotherman. "So, then I open my door to go check on my kids and it was just like I was swimming in water."

The mother of three says mold become the next battle you fight after a flooding event of this nature.

"I got the new water heater and I went on," said Smotherman. "But maybe like a month after that, I just started see black spots in certain places, behind beds and things like that."

Despite days of dry and cleaning, the mold was unstoppable.

"I'm staying at other places with three kids, I have had to throw away beds, anything that is touching the mold, kitchen table, everything I've had to throw away," said Smotherman.

Hutchison says there are simple ways to help prevent a flooding disaster in your own home.

"Have it flushed yearly," Hutchison said. "You can take a water hose and turn your water on. It pushes all of your trash and stuff out of your water heater. If you did that once a year, then it would definitely help the life of a water heater."

A small task that could save you thousands of dollars.

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