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MYTH-BUSTING PLUMBING: Preventive Tips Against Water Heater Explosions

exploded water heater

Water heater explosions are not just plain science fiction. Here is a myth-busting truth – your ever reliable appliance may transform into an explosive bomb if it not properly maintained. Such life-threatening (and literally home-wrecking too!) situation is primarily due to excessive heat. When the tank water reaches a high temperature, it produces steam, which then creates pressure build-up in the tank. Usually, steam tends to occupy more space in the tank, thus quickly filling it up. There are also other factors that cause it such as improper adjustment of temperature and pressure controls, tank deterioration due to corrosion, leaks, lack of routine and proper maintenance, faulty workmanship of unqualified personnel, and the installation of water heaters close to combustible objects.

Here are some of the preventive measures to make sure your water heater’s safety mechanisms never deteriorate:

  • Perform an annual water heater tune-up.

  • Seek the help of a professional plumber to inspect your water heater carefully so as to prevent and detect any gas leaks and ensure that your water heater’s safety features are in a good condition.

  • Do not handle repairs & installations by yourself.

  • Never try to skimp on costly professional services by tackling water heater issues by yourself. Hire a trusted and qualified specialist to handle the repairs and installations to prevent future problems caused by your improper or careless efforts.

  • Set the right temperature.
  • Ideally, set the temperature down to 120° to observe child-safety. Most paediatricians recommend this, since children may experience second or third degree burns if exposed to heated water exceeding 125° F. Avoid turning up the maximum heating performance beyond 180°F except for sanitation purposes and prevent a catastrophic blow-up by making sure not to exceed 212°F. Any higher can result in pressure build-up exceeding the unit’s safety mechanisms.

    The T&P (temperature and pressure) valve is highly vital since it is responsible for releasing steam, relieving pressure and controlling rising temperature. These operations are highly important to prevent your water heater from exploding.
    Test this regularly by flipping the lever; see to it that it releases some water when it goes back into place. Ensure the replacement of sticky valves or defective units that are unable to discharge water.

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your homes In case gas leaks occur. Bear in mind the common indications of carbon monoxide poisoning such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. Call a trained professional immediately if gas leaks are suspected. They have the proper and safe methods to easily trace the source of gas leaks and fix the problem immediately.

  • Follow the Manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Most manufacturers recommend the inspection or replacement of the TPR valve every 3 years. Do not hesitate to replace old units since most water heater models may only last for 15 years.

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