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How to Turn Off a Water Heater? – The Most Detailed Guide

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

how to turn off a water heater

Water heaters are essential when it comes to your homes since they ensure that you always get hot water in your shower, faucet, or even your washing machine! So, when a leak happens, it’s important to shut it off to prevent further damage quickly.

The good news is, you do not have to be a master plumber to figure out this simple task.

In this post, we’ll be providing you with the steps on how to turn off a water heater.

Table of Contents

What to Prepare

Just prepare a long hose, one that can lead the water in your heater tank to the garden. Also, a large bucket should be ready for the water to flow in when you drain the tank. You can also leave the water running into your garden’s soil if you don’t want to keep it in the bucket.

How to Turn Off Gas Water Heater When Not in Use


Step 1: Locate the Gas Water Heater

The first step to turn off hot water heater is to locate the heater itself. In most households, the water heaters are stored in places that can be obstructed or hidden, such as utility closets, attics, garages, or basements.

Step 2: Find and close the Temperature Dial

This dial is usually located in front of the water heater, near the bottom; you will see a valve or an actual dial. Turn it tightly to ensure that it is fully closed and that you will be safe when proceeding with the following steps.

Step 3: Locate The Heater’s Plumbing Line

To turn off hot water heater water supply, you need to look at either the top or the bottom of your water heater for the plumbing line.

Once you locate it, rotate the valve to shut it off and stop the entire water supply to the house.

Step 4: Drain The Heater

For safety precautions, it’s best to empty the remaining water located inside your tank before turning off water heater. Locate the boiler drain found on the underside of your water heater and attach a hose through it.

Then after attaching the hose, you should bring it into your garden for the water to flow into.

Note that the more water there is left in the tank, the bigger the bucket is required not to overflow; the best solution is to make sure that the hose drains outside your workspace.

Step 5: Identify The Supply Valve

Locate the gas shut off valve for water heater, it is a copper pipe that comes out of the well and then directly attaches to the gas tank. It is usually on the tank’s right side.

For a lever, you can turn it perpendicular. In case it is a supply valve, we can turn the valve clockwise. Once the knob or the lever is perpendicular to the pipe, this indicates that you have successfully turned the gas pipe off.

When shutting the valve, do so gently until you can no longer turn or tighten it; you may use a wrench to aid you if it feels too hard to turn due to rust.

Step 6: Search For The Relief Valve

One last thing to do is look for the relief valve; you can usually locate it on top or near the water heater. Once done, it will allow air to flow into the tank, making it all safe for you to begin your maintenance. Congratulations, you have successfully shut off water heater!

How to Turn Off an Electric Water Heater


For this type of water heater, all the steps are also easy to follow. Just make sure you do them in the correct order.

Step 1: Locate the electric water heater

Just like a gas water heater, an electric water heater is often set up in your utility closet, at the garage corner, or in the basement.

Step 2: Turn off the Breaker Box

For safety purposes, you must look for the breaker box of your electrical unit and shut it off. It is often found on the main breaker panel of your household or near the heater unit.

Step 3: Find the heater’s plumbing line

As you stand in front of your water heater, it is easy to notice the unit’s plumbing line at the bottom or the top. Now, reach for the valve connecting the line and the heater, then turn it shut the water supply before carrying to the next step.

Step 4: Drain the water heater

This step is similar to what we do with a gas water heater. Just prepare the garden hose and a bucket, then allow the water to drain from the water tank. Make sure to check if there’s no water left to perform the final state.

Step 5: Find the water heater’s relief valve

This step is necessary to let the air flow into the water tank. To do so, we locate the valve often installed near the water heater’s top part. Then, we turn the hot water heater shut off valve in a swift move. That’s how it’s done.


Isn’t it great that shutting off water heater wasn’t that complicated?

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