Upgrading Your Pipes

Prevent Pressure Leaks on Your New Hot Water Heater

If you have replaced a hot water heater in the last few years due to leaks, and your newer heater is now suffering the same issue, there might be an issue with the pressure buffering in your system. If this is the case, then there is something you can do when you install your new hot water heater that will ensure that this appliance lasts as long as it's supposed to.

The Low Down on Pressure Problems

In newer homes, especially those built since the new millennium, there is no way for the pressure to be released from the steam that expands inside a hot water tank. After a few years, the tank begins to leak due to this increased pressure. The leaks typically can't be fixed, so you then must install yet another new hot water heater.

Building regulations now require backflow preventer valves to be installed on hot water lines. Previously, expanding water and steam could backflow out of the tank and into the lines, thus relieving the pressure. Of course, this was hard on the water system and could lead to issues with the water lines and connector valves, thus the chance in building regulation. With a preventer valve in place, though, the pressure has nowhere to escape, which is what leads to water tank failure.

Solution: Thermal Expansion Tanks

Thermal expansion tanks are attached between the cold water supply and the water heater tank. When pressure builds in the tank as the water heats, it can escape into the thermal expansion tank. The water then cools in the tank and is redelivered into the heater as needed, along with the rest of the cold water supply.

It makes sense to install a thermal expansion tank at the same time as your new water heater installation so that you won't have to worry about the new appliance giving out too soon. In older homes without backflow preventers, consider having both the preventer and the thermal expansion tank installed at the same time. Although backflow valves can lead to water heater leaks, this is only a problem if you don't have an expansion tank. The lack of the backflow valve is a more severe option since it can affect the plumbing pipes.

Contact a hot water installation service in your area to learn more about backflow, expansion tanks, and prolonging the life of your newly installed water heater.