Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-05-2019, 04:41 PM
FloatyGimpy's Avatar
FloatyGimpy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,579

My hot water tank tried to burn down my house

Well that was a close one!

I was all ready for work this morning and about to head out the door when I noticed an odor. Took a bit but I pinpointed it to the area around the hot water tank. Looking behind the wall panel I notice lots of condensation and a puddle.

Called the plumber and he pulled the front off of the electrical panel and there is a burning, smoking plastic cover. The water was leaking and was about to start an electrical fire.

I likely would have come home to no house.
Old 11-05-2019, 04:51 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 29,341
That's one of the t-stat covers. I've had them melt. In my case, there was just something wrong with the t-stat or element. If you saw water, it must have been leaking into that area and probably causing some arcing.
I don't think you would have had a fire. Best case scenario, the breaker would blow. Worst case, some of the insulation and/or plastic bits in the area smolder and fill the house with smoke. But it probably wouldn't have taken the house with it.
Old 11-06-2019, 05:58 PM
rbroome is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,504
I agree that almost certainly wouldn't have burned the house down. But be glad you found it early! It would have at least stunk up the house and the leak might have coincidently decided to get worse-water and smoke. And of course a slight chance of a larger fire.
You dodged a bullet there. Good timing.
Old 11-06-2019, 06:02 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 29,341
Also, in my case, when I noticed the smell it was a few days before I decided something was probably burning that shouldn't be burning and another day or two before I finally tracked it down.
It's at a business, near a kitchen area so it's not always easy to tell that something is burning and where it's coming from. Mine was probably smoldering for close to a week.
Old 11-07-2019, 07:52 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is online now
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rural Western PA
Posts: 33,018
A sentient hot water tank!?


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:04 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017