I have a small leak in my water heater. The drips of water are
originating at a removable panel that reads, ""power supply must be
disconnected before adjusting thermostat or resetting E.C.O." I
called my housing maintinance and they sent out a young man that said
that it needs to be replaced- he will put in the order for some time
this week. He said that there should not be water in that area
because that is where the electrical components are located. Now I
find myself worrying about it.
The water heater is electric, Ruudglas Pacemaker Model PE52-2 C 50
Is this dangerous? Is there any threat of safety? I am a military
wife and my husband is not here to advise me on these matters. Anyone
know anything about this? Should I be losing sleep? or is it fine
until it can be replaced.
It's exceedingly unlikely to present a risk.
The odds of anything bad happening are millions to one. But I
understand how people can get a bit nervous with things they're
not familiar with, and what I'm saying here is meant to reassure
you. The precautions I give you as options are extremely
UNLIKELY to be necessary, but should make you feel more
I'm surprised he didn't pull the panel off and inspect the tank.
This could be a leaky gasket on one of the heaters, and that's
On the other hand, maybe he did, and perhaps the tank really is in
need of a replacement.
There are usually several access panels, and the electronics behind
most of them are pretty minimal.
Especially if the leak is at the bottom of the tank (bottom hatch),
chances are it's not getting anywhere near the electrical bits.
A properly installed water heater is quite safe, even if there
are slow water leaks into the tank insulation. The grounding and
panel breakers will protect you. That said, until it's repaired/replaced
avoid touching it, and don't step in any puddles of water from the
tank (if any). Wear rubber-soled shoes (eg: running shoes) when
you're near it.
Keep the kids (if any) away from it.
If it still makes you nervous - call your housing maintenance,
express your concern (make a joke about it), and ask what they
suggest. Especially if this is military housing, I'm sure they'll
steer you right.
If you're still very nervous, you could turn off the panel breaker
feeding the tank. Once the power is removed, you'll still have hot
water for a while - up to several days depending on your usage pattern,
and you've completely eliminated any possible risk from the electrical.
If you run out of hot water, you could turn the breaker back
on for a few hours. But it sounds as if they'd have it replaced
before that would be needed.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
On Oct 16, 10:34 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Chris Lewis) wrote:
Without knowing where the water is coming from, I'd be concerned about
the leak suddenly getting worse and a flood resulting. I'd know
where the shut off valve is located in case that happens. Also, I'd
consider where the water will go and what damage might result. If it
can cause damage, then I'd probably shut the water to it off, for sure
if you're going to be going out for any length of time.
As someone pointed out, enough diagnosis should have been done to find
out where it's leaking. The guy should have done this to determine
that a new heater is needed. If it were around the heating element,
then the leak isn't going to suddenly get worse. But if it's the
tank itself that is shot, these leaks can suddenly get worse and
start leaking badly. You could also buy one of the alarms that go
for about $10, run on a battery, and you can set on the floor near
the unit. If water makes it to the unit, the alarm sounds. That's
something you should have anyway.
I wouldn't be worried about it blowing up, or catching fire. The
main risk is that you could have a flood.
FYI, the removable panels on most electric water heaters conceal the "base"
for an electrical element that sticks horizontally into the inner cavity of
the heater. Imagine an oversized light bulb filament that penetrates into
the cavity of the water heater. Turn on the light bulb and the resulting
heat warms the water.
The elements are cheap and easily replaced. The base of the element is a
screw-in plug that seals the cavity once the element sticks inside. It also
has contacts to hook up the power wires from the main power line to the
heater. It sounds like one of your elements has developed a leak in the
base, or the wall into which it is threading has developed a crack.
I am not clear on what needs to be replaced - the heater itself or just an
element? Because elements are a slam-dunk, I assume the whole heater is
getting replaced. If you can do without hot water until then, simply turn
off the circuit to the hot water heater. As another poster indicated, the
risk of any problem is mitigated by modern electrical panels and circuitry.
But I wouldn't mess with it, and if you see any evidence that the leak might
be getting worse, I'd kill the circuit just to be safe. Call me Captain
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