You Could Have a Ticking Bomb in Your Home – And You Use it Every Day

2013 Jul 24
Posted in: Plumbing

It sounds like an urban legend or a myth. Something people whisper about around the campfire after sunset.

A water heater explodes, rockets into the air and decimates a home. People are evacuated. The remnants of the water heater are found 300 feet away from the home.

But it’s real. This is exactly what happened in Phoenix a few years ago. And it wasn’t the first time, either.

What causes water heaters to become bomb-like?

Traditional water heaters heat and store water in a tank. As heat is increased in the tank, pressure builds.

Think about the last time you boiled water. You turned on the burner and kept the pot covered. If you looked away for too long, the water may have boiled over. This is a result of the increased heat and pressure, which pushes the lid off the pot.

The same thing can happen in your water heater. As the heat builds up, so does the pressure. But there’s no lid for the water heater to push off. Instead, water heaters have built-in temperature and pressure relief valves.

When the temperature and pressure of the water heater tank becomes too much, the valve releases water, lowering the pressure to a safe level.

But if routine water heater maintenance is ignored, this valve can become stuck. And Myth Busters has accurately shown what happens when the safety mechanisms on your water heater malfunction – your water heater explodes.

How can I avoid a water heater explosion?

There are a few things you can do to keep your family and home safe from a water heater explosion:

  • Only hire licensed plumbers to install your water heaters – If not properly installed, your water heater safety devices might not function correctly.
  • Set your water heater around 120 degrees – Much higher than this can be dangerous and can cause scalding. Plus, it leads to more heat and pressure in your tank.
  • Get your water heater maintained yearly – We hinted at it before, but the best way to ensure your water heater is safe is with annual tune-up and flush from a professional plumber. They will inspect your water heater and make sure everything is running safely.

Want to avoid an exploding water heater in your home? Schedule your annual water heater tune-up online today.

George Brazil has been keeping Phoenix-area homes safe, comfortable and energy efficient since 1955. Contact us online for more information about any of our services.
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