I'm trying to shut off water coming from my hot water heater. I currently have the water shut off to the entire house due to a shower repair that went awry (hot water flows like a shower even though the faucet is turned off). The plumber I am waiting on suggested turning the water off at the hot water heater, so that I can turn the main water back on and still have use of the cold. He made it sound like no big deal, but I am unsure of what I am doing. I am wanting to do this because it may be at least a couple days before the repair can be done. So, I guess my question is, what is the easiest way to do this? Do I have to turn off the electric supply? Can I just turn a valve that stops the water? My hot water heater is electric and in the basement of my ranch home.

Side question, I have lived here several years and never drained the hot water heater. Should I do this as routine maintenance? Thank you!

  • 1
    Some information about your plumbing would be helpful, or a photo. Typically there's a valve on the supply line for the heater. Simply close that. You don't need to turn off the heater unless you plan to empty it or not use it for a length of time. Yes, heater maintenance is recommended, but "side questions" are not. Please post a second question instead.
    – isherwood
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 16:50
  • Thank you. I'm at work and don't have a picture available. My main concern was if shutting off the water was okay for a few days without shutting off the entire water heater. I know I have a valve at the top, so I will try that. I'm sorry if I am using this site incorrectly. New to this, and new to doing my own home improvements. Thank you.
    – Amy B
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 16:59
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    I would strongly recommend turning the power off to the water heater if you turn the water off. If you accidentally drain the tank (by running the 'hot' water somewhere in the house) while the water is off and power is on you could cause damage to the heater element.
    – brhans
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 17:01
  • I think you should reword the title to say "...shut off water going to my hot water..."
    – mike65535
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 18:05
  • I don’t want water to come FROM my hot water heater. Is that not even a possibility?
    – Amy B
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


Normaly there is a valve on the supply line to the water heater, turn this valve off and it would be best to turn the water heater breaker off.

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