Understanding Why Hot Water Heaters Rupture

December 12, 2023
Hot water heaters in Conroe, TX

A water heater can rupture for various reasons. Even though it’s not that common of a scenario, understanding why this happens can help prevent accidents and unit failure.

1. Pressure Buildup

Heated water undergoes thermal expansion. This means that hot water occupies more space than cold water. The expansion will create pressure in a closed system, such as a water heater. The tank is designed to withstand this pressure through a pressure relief valve or an external thermal expansion tank. However, if it is malfunctioning or locked, the relief valve does not release pressure from the tank. Setting the thermostat temperature too high can also result in more water expansion.

2. Corrosion

Tank water heaters are installed with a sacrificial anode rod. This attracts corrosive elements into the water to prevent corrosion of the tank’s lining. They should be regularly monitored and replaced every five years. Homeowners who use water softeners should replace the anode rod more often. This is because water softeners increase the corrosion rate.

3. Scale Buildup

When hard water is heated, minerals such as calcium form a layer of scale on the tank surface. This layer can act as a heat insulator and cause overheating in the tank. The metal in the tank expands unevenly, weakening those areas. Scale can also trap sediments against metal surfaces. This can accelerate corrosion, leading to rupture.

4. Old Age

Water heaters have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Lack of proper maintenance reduces this age limit. Components such as pressure relief valves and thermostats may fail with time and use. This will increase the pressure or temperature in the tank. The constant expansion and contraction of the metal and the stress due to pressure changes will cause wear and tear. Weak spots may develop and result in rupture.

If you are concerned about the efficiency and safety of the water heater in your Conroe, TX, home, you would benefit from a professional plumber inspecting and maintaining your system. At My Guys Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we service and repair all makes and models of units. We are also experienced professionals in plumbing services, indoor air quality testing, central air conditioning, and gas furnace services. Contact My Guys Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule an appointment.

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