I have a bad leak in my bathtub faucet. The hot handle. I have a plumber coming but not until the upcoming week. I turned off the water supply to the electric hot water heater and it quit leaking.

My question is, is it safe to leave it off, until I get the leak fixed? I obviously won’t have hot water until then, and that’s fine, but it quits leaking while I wait.

I don’t know about the pressure in the tank and all that stuff. Do I need to shut the breaker on the wall off for the heater? Turn the temperature down so it doesn’t heat the tank as much? Just wondering these things so it doesn’t blow up or anything lol, or doesn’t cause it any harm. It’s fairly new (2 years old). Rheem.

I just don’t want to mess anything up, and I want it to stop leaking until the plumber gets here this week. It may need to be off for a few days.

Any help would be appreciated.

  • Look around the bathroom, in a closet behind the tub, in the basement, somewhere, there may be a valve that will shut off the water to just the tub or maybe the whole bathroom. That way, you can leave the water heater on and the water to the rest of the house, as well. If you don't have one, have the plumber find a good spot for whole bathroom shut-off (both hot & cold sides) while he's there. The few extra bucks now will be well worth the added convenience in the future.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 15, 2023 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


Turn off the breaker!

If sufficient water leaks out or is used to expose an element (usually the upper, until it's drained a great deal) the element will fry in seconds if it turns on without water around it.

You may think your plumbing setup won't allow that to happen, but it's really never safe to have the power on with the water off, and it's always safe to have the power off, so turn the power off.

  • 1
    Ok. Cut off breaker to water heater. And water supply to water heater is off. Will it be ok now for a few days until I get a plumber out here?
    – Jeff
    Jul 15, 2023 at 19:59
  • 2
    Yes, it should be.
    – keshlam
    Jul 15, 2023 at 20:38
  • Am I missing something? The OP doesn't say the WH is leaking, just that the hot water at the tub is leaking. (Not clear what kind of leak it is though—faucet problem? pipe problem behind the wall?) Once the hot water is turned off at the WH, there should effectively be no water coming in or out of the WH, and no cause for the element to "fry." Basically the same as if you went on vacation—I know some people turn their main water valve off, but I'm aware of few people who turn their WH off.
    – Huesmann
    Jul 16, 2023 at 12:34
  • @Huesmann If the location of the tub relative to the water heater, or some other leak relative to the water heater takes water out, you are risking things you don't need to risk, since flipping the breaker off is easy.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 16, 2023 at 12:41

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