EMERGENCY, almost. temporary fix for leaking gas water heater.

A friend who just had minor? surgery (a hydrocelectomy) tells me that there is water on the basement floor including under the bed his son sleeps in, from the hot water heater, which we just replaced 7 years ago.
He wanted to turn off the cold water input to the HWH and I said that would pretty much stop the leak, but he figures air will get in through the leak while water is getting out. And the leak won't stop. Who is right??
Then he said he could use a bucket at the drain at the bottom and he and his son could pour it all down the basement sink. I said that he could do the first half of the HWH with a garden hose as a siphon. He says ok and they'll finish up with the bucket. I'm thinking the water will stop flowing while he is still siphoning, because the intake valve will be turned off. And he can quit then and only a few tablespoons will leak in the next couple days. ???
His incision isn't healing like it should, and liquid poured out of it this evening, and the doctor wants to see him tomorrow morning but he wants to stop the leak tonight. I offeered to go over but so far he has turned me down.
I would try to find stuff on the web before posting, but I think it would be hard and this is pretty much a rush question.
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meirman wrote:

<SNIP>
Anytime a tap upstairs is opened, the vacuum will be broken and water can leak out again. Also, opening a single-handle faucet will introduce new water back into the tank via the Hot side.
It's problematic whether the leak will continue after incoming pressure is removed (by shutting off the Cold inlet). I think, under the circumstances, shut off the inlet and let it go; see what happens.
Jim
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In alt.home.repair on Mon, 30 May 2005 20:26:17 -0400 Speedy Jim

Two very good points. I'll let you know how it goes.

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A friend tells me that there is water on the basement floor including under the bed his son sleeps in, CY: I think in most places, it's not legal to have bedrooms in the cellar.
from the hot water heater, which we just replaced 7 years ago.
He wanted to turn off the cold water input to the HWH and I said that would pretty much stop the leak, but he figures air will get in through the leak while water is getting out. And the leak won't stop. Who is right?? CY: What's the other choice? You only gave us one.
Then he said he could use a bucket at the drain at the bottom and he and his son could pour it all down the basement sink. I said that he could do the first half of the HWH with a garden hose as a siphon. CY: I think since you mentioned water on the floor, you might be still talking about water on the floor. I doubt you can get water off the floor with a bucket.
He says ok and they'll finish up with the bucket. I'm thinking the water will stop flowing while he is still siphoning, because the intake valve will be turned off. And he can quit then and only a few tablespoons will leak in the next couple days. ??? CY: siphoning is done by putting a tube up and over some kind of obstacle. The tube is filled with water (typically by suction on the end that is outside the container). The only way ou can suction water off the floor is to have a lower place to end the hose.
he wants to stop the leak tonight. I offeered to go over but so far he has turned me down. CY: Well, then, there's not much you can do.
I would try to find stuff on the web before posting, but I think it would be hard and this is pretty much a rush question. CY: Did you try?
Meirman CY: Rather than trying to siphon the water off the cellar floor, you might want to consider draining the water heater through a garden hose. Get the water off the floor with a shopvac or carpet cleaner extractor.
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In alt.home.repair on Tue, 31 May 2005 00:27:51 GMT "Stormin Mormon"

I say the leak will stop. He says it won't.

He called 20 minutes later to say I should come over. I'm leaving now, but I can read answers, if any, on their son's computer.

No, because I figured he needed an answer soon. And I figured I'd be going over there soon.

OK.
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Common sense is to close the inlet and see what happens. It has to be better than waiting. Unless you are a troll.
If you open the drain valve on the heater and dump a gallon into a bucket, that will minimize any leak; though it is certainly a moot point by now.
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toller wrote:

The OP said the water heater was in a basement, so chances are he can't drain it completely with a garden hose unless the ground slopes down away from the house somewhere, 'eh?
And, I'm dubious about how he can get a bucket under the drain valve on a typical water heater, they're usually only a couple of inches above whatever the water heater's sitting on.
He could use a hose and a bucket to drain the tank and the household hot water piping down to the height of the bucket without spilling any on the floor. That's better than dumping it ALL on the floor, I suppose.
The OP is either a troll or someone with a limited ability to fully describe the instant situation so he could get some really useful advice. His referring to it as a HOT water heater bespeaks that.
Jeff
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Probably 80% of the people refer to the water heater as a HOT water heater. What's the big deal about this post?
As for shutting off the water, it will less the pressure from the city or well pressure to the head pressure. It may not stop, but certainly will lessen the amount leaked.
--
Ed
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The OP said the water heater was in a basement, so chances are he can't drain it completely with a garden hose unless the ground slopes down away from the house somewhere, 'eh? CY: Or if there is a sump pump. Or French drain.
And, I'm dubious about how he can get a bucket under the drain valve on a typical water heater, they're usually only a couple of inches above whatever the water heater's sitting on. CY: Right. I'm with you. Pan or tray more likely.
He could use a hose and a bucket to drain the tank and the household hot water piping down to the height of the bucket without spilling any on the floor. That's better than dumping it ALL on the floor, I suppose.
The OP is either a troll or someone with a limited ability to fully describe the instant situation so he could get some really useful advice. His referring to it as a HOT water heater bespeaks that. CY: I suspect Mierman is a "she". But, I could be mistaken. Perhaps S/He will clarify.
Jeff
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Thanks a lot to all for your good advice. If it hadn't been for the pain in his groin and the trip to the doctor tomorrow, I'm sure he would have been more able to handle this.
In alt.home.repair on Tue, 31 May 2005 02:14:27 GMT "Stormin Mormon"

Either before or after I first posted, I talked to him on the phone and suggested draining into the sump. He said it was in another room. I'd forgotten how many rooms there are in that basement. I suggested drilling a hole to pass the hose through (since they are both what I would call storage rooms). He didn't seem to want to do that.

He did have a big triangular plastic pan that fit underneath, but shortly after that, he bought into draining the tank and went outside to get a hose. I saw the light go on outside and opened the basement door to talk to him. Someone else had turned on the light but in the outside stairwell leading up to ground level, I saw a drain at the bottom. We used that. (He had forgotten that he had it.)
We changed the water heater once a little over 7 years ago, and were able to turn off the water, but this time it took a big wrench on the handle, and I think it was still running a bit.

We were going to siphon from the heater to the sink, which would have gotten out more than half of the water. He has a 40 gallon tank.

Oh dear, I get so flustered when my sexuality is in dispoute.

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I say the leak will stop. He says it won't. CY: Most times the leak is very small. Air doesn't come back in -- so it drains a couple ounces and stops. Frustrating, if you are trying to drain a water heater. So, you open the temp pressure valve to let air in, so it will drain. One time I drained a WH by drilling holes in it with a cordless drill, and 3/8 bit.

He called 20 minutes later to say I should come over. I'm leaving now, but I can read answers, if any, on their son's computer. CY: Hope son's ISP gets alt home repair.

No, because I figured he needed an answer soon. And I figured I'd be going over there soon. CY: OK, well, tht answered the question. However, I don't think you asked the right question. Incidentally, the answer is 42.

OK.
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In alt.home.repair on Tue, 31 May 2005 02:14:27 GMT "Stormin Mormon"

Didn't think of that -- wish I had -- but he ended up going to sleep I think with the hose out the door draining. It's at the bottom of a narrow stairwell, and no strangers will even be near there before breakfast tomorrow. He'll probably lock it tomorrow, but maybe I'll go check.

Might not but I was going to use groups.google.com . Very easy if one remembers the exact thread name, or part of it.
But Netzero hung up on me once or twice and I never did get a good connection. So I had to skip that until I got home.

I'll write that down.

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Be sure to turn off the power or the gas to it before shutting off the supply. Shutting off the supply (cold) will not totally stop the leak, but it at least it will limit it to the volume of the heater.
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Joseph Meehan

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Drain whatever possible from tank and hot-water lines, after closing supply. Close valve to hot-water distribution. Surely you have the two valves?
With both valves closed, you will have no further leakage.
With tank drained, it'll be as easy as possible to remove it from building.
J
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