When you think about common water heater issues and potential repairs, you most likely think about random leaks, inconsistent temperatures or abnormal noises, right? But did you know that it’s possible to experience a water heater blow up?
Yes, you read that correctly – a water heater can explode if it’s not properly maintained. Though massive explosions are rare, they have happened. Because of this possibility, it’s extremely important to check the condition of your water heater on a regular basis to ensure it’s functioning properly.
So what causes a water heater to explode?
– Too much internal pressure built up inside the water heater – if pressure inside the water heater is left unchecked, your home’s hot water heater can become very dangerous, causing a potentially very serious explosion.
– Rust that corrodes the tank over time – since your water heater is made from steel, over time, the water will cause the tank to rust; once the three to five foot long sacrificial anode rod deteriorates, rust can become a problem.
– Built up sediment – minerals from hard water collect at the bottom of your water heater’s tank over time, forming a mineral layer that insulates the water from the burner.
Having identified potential causes of a water heater explosion, it’s important to be able to identify the signs ahead of time.
What to look for: the signs of a potential water heater explosion
Here’s what to look for so when it comes to a potential water heater burst:
– If your home’s carbon monoxide detector is going off frequently, your hot water heater could be experiencing a gas leak. This is dangerous, as the pilot light turning on could cause it to ignite.
– If the temperature is set too high, this can cause the relief valve on the water heater to be unable to handle it.
– Be on the lookout for a worn out relief valve.
– If the water coming out of our faucets contains chunks of sediment, it’s most definitely time to have your water heater professionally cleaned.
– Leaking water in or around the unit is a sign that repairs are most likely needed.
– If you notice that your water temperature isn’t consistent, there could be an issue with the heating element.
How to avoid a hot water heater explosion
Now that we’ve run through the causes of hot water heater explosions and the signs to look for, here are a few ways to avoid a dangerous explosion.
Tip # 1: have a professional clean your water heater once every year.
Tip # 2: every few months, manually lift the relief valve to make sure it opens freely.
Tip # 3: ensure your hot water heater has a pressure and temperature relief valve, aka PT valve (when compared with a regular value, the PT valve has a long temperature element that protrudes that’s attached to the inlet of the valve).
If you could use some extra guidance when it comes to preventing a water heater explosion, give Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area a call to get help from the experts!
We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help. Call today!