Water heaters can do their jobs for years on end without any significant problems popping up, but when issues do start, they can create quite a headache for homeowners. It's important to keep it at the point of being a headache rather than potentially risking life or limb over a leak. As soon as you're finished calling a plumber to fix this problem, take steps to protect yourself from the following problems.
Risk of Burn
Most of the time, when a water heater leaks, it's the hot water coming out and not the cold water that it uses as an intake. This hot water is extremely dangerous. Think about how hot the water is when you turn on the hot tap and not the cold; it can definitely burn you. But that's how hot it is after traveling through pipes to get to you. The stuff in the hot water heater itself is even hotter and can seriously burn you.
Avoid touching the leaking water if at all possible. If your water heater is electric, consider turning off the power to your home temporarily to stop it from continuing to heat what's left in the tank. If it's gas-powered, don't touch the water heater or the water itself. If you have to enter the room, wear boots that will protect you from the heat.
Risk of Electrocution
If your water heater is located inside your home, there's a risk of electrocution. Water leaking out of the tank can potentially intercept electric outlets. If there are any power outlets near your water heater, again, consider switching off the power to your home. This will protect you and the plumber alike from any risk of electrocution. If your power outlets have become visibly wet, you should talk to your plumber about it or make a call to an electrician to ensure no damage has been done.
Slip and Fall
Even without the danger of being burned or electrocuted, it's possible for you to slip and fall on the spilled water, potentially injuring yourself. For now, the best thing you can do is to avoid the room entirely until the plumber arrives. Consider gathering some drop sheets or towels; your plumber can drop these on the floor to help start sopping up the mess while they work. Even once the majority of the spill is wiped up, keep in mind that the floor may still be slippery. Step carefully, wear shoes with good treads and hold onto something if you need to once you enter the room.
To learn some more about water heater repair, reach out to plumbers to get some more information.