Did you ever scream like a lobster going into the pot when your shower water surged and became suddenly hotter?
That kind of near-scalding is painful. Usually, it’s operator error – you somehow nudge the controls.
But it also can indicate your water heater is under severe pressure.
“When water is heated, it expands,” says watts.com. “For example, water heated from 90°F to a thermostat setting of 140°F in a 40 gallon hot water heater will expand by almost one-half gallon.”
Heat makes water’s temperature, density and volume increase. This is called “thermal expansion.” Ultimately, there’s nowhere for this extra volume to go and system pressure grows.
“The increase and fluctuations in pressure can result in damage to plumbing fixtures such as broken pipes, leaky taps, relief line leaks, or a damaged or leaking water heater,” according to About.Plumbing.com,
If the water pressure continues to increase unchecked, more serious problems like carbon monoxide poisoning or an explosion could occur.
Temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valves are used to control dangerous levels of thermal expansion.
“These relief valves protect the water heater from excess pressures and temperatures by discharging water,” Watts.com says.
An additional solution keeps water pressure below the levels where a safety valve is even needed, The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says.
An added expansion tank allows thermal expansion but won’t let the water pressure to grow to dangerous levels.
“The expansion tank contains a sealed-in compressible air cushion which will compress as thermal expansion occurs, providing a space to hold and store the additional expanded water volume,” wvdhr.org says.
Suspect your water heater has a problem? Call Eyman Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Let us check it out for you today…402-731-2727.