How Big Is A Water Heater Explosion?

Can Your Water Heater Explode? Warning Signs & Prevention

An explosion in a hot water heater can cause significant property damage, personal harm, and even death.Fortunately, there are very apparent prevention measures and warning indicators that should be kept in mind at all times.The information in this page will provide you with all of the information you need to know about preventing an explosion of this nature, as well as what to do if one does occur.

Water Heater Explosion Causes

An explosion caused by a water heater has the potential to utterly demolish your residence.Water heaters rely on both high pressure and high temperatures to function properly.The most common cause of a water heater explosion is when one (or both) of these parameters reach unsafe levels that cannot be handled by safety measures such as the temperature and pressure relief valves.Extremely high temperatures can cause a buildup of gas within a water heater, which can result in an explosion in one frequent scenario.Unless the temperature and pressure relief valve is unclogged (which is often due to sediment buildup), the surplus gas will not be able to escape.It continues to accumulate until the tank is essentially transformed into a nuclear weapon.

  • The consequences can be catastrophic.
  • Anyone who is in close proximity to the water heater will very certainly be hit by a combination of searing hot water and debris, not to mention the enormous power with which these explosions occur.
  • Serious damage is almost a given, and one would be lucky if they managed to avoid death altogether.

Everyone, including those who are not in the same room as the water heater, is at risk of death or serious harm.Exploding heaters may fly up into the air like a rocket, penetrating right through the roof of your home and landing several streets distant.Obviously, this is detrimental to the structural stability of your home, as you may understand.

A gas or electric water heater explosion may be extremely dangerous.Watch the video below to see how severe it can be.If sediment or rust accumulates within your hot water heater tank, it is possible that a less serious explosion will occur.Both of these issues affect the structural integrity and functionality of the heater, resulting in water gushing out of the unit, causing damage to your property and the possibility of serious injury.

Note: A Water Heater Gas Explosion Is Something Different

Typically, a gas explosion caused by a water heater happens after gas from the heater (or any other source, actually) has filled the room and is ignited by a spark (typically from the pilot light, although it can also come from, for example, a lighter).As a result, the explosive force itself does not come from within the tank in this situation.However, it can still be quite lethal in some cases.Such explosions often demolish entire homes and kill all of the people inside.These explosions occur as a result of a malfunctioning thermocouple in your water heater, which is relevant to this article.More information on this may be found in our post on typical water heater problems.

Water Heater Explosion Statistics

In spite of the fact that reliable hot water heater explosion data are difficult to come by, they happen frequently enough that you read about them in the news on a regular basis.Even though it is just February 2020 at the time of writing, there are already multiple news pieces from 2020 that chronicle similar instances.It has occurred in Russia, California, Illinois, and Alaska, to mention a few places where this has occurred.As a result, such explosions are prevalent enough to need significant investments in and research into possible remedies.Consequently, while we would never advise you to be concerned about your water heater exploding at any time, it is a very serious concern that you should be aware of.Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent warning indicators to see if they might help you become more attentive.

Water Heater Explosion Warning Signs

Pressure Relief Valve Leakage

Water heater explosion warning indicators to look out for include a leaky pressure relief valve, which is one of the most common.For whatever cause, a leak of this nature indicates that the valve is unable to effectively handle the pressure within the tank and must be replaced.As you recall, this is one of the most prevalent causes of major tank explosions, and it is also one of the most dangerous.

A Consistent Popping Noise

Water heaters in Phoenix, Arizona, are particularly prone to silt build-up.Arizona’s water is very hard, which means it has a high concentration of silt.It is possible that this sediment will build up in your tank and compromise its structural integrity if you do not have a water softener installed.The popping sound is the result of water seeking to escape from beneath the sediment layer of the sediment layer.When the coating has grown to this thickness, it indicates that the heating element will have to work more than usual to attain the necessary temperature.It is also possible that this silt will block your temperature and pressure relief valves.

  • It is possible for an explosion to occur when an excessive temperature and incorrect pressure relief valve performance are coupled.

The Pressure Relief Valve is Constantly Open

As previously stated, a pressure relief valve is meant to open when temperatures and pressures get too high to be tolerated. If you notice that the valve is continually in the open position, this is an indication that the temperature and pressure of your water heater are out of balance. An explosion would very certainly occur if the relief valve failed to operate correctly.

A Leaking Tank

There are several sorts of water heater leaks to be aware of.The majority of them can (but do not usually) indicate that a leak is about to occur.None, however, should be treated with the same seriousness as a leak from the tank itself.That the tank itself has deteriorated significantly, whether as a result of age or injury, is indicated by this condition.Even a little puncture in the tank might result in an explosion in a gas or electric water heater.

How to Prevent a Water Heater Explosion

Consider the following scenario: you’ve seen one of the aforementioned warning flags.What happens next?Well, for starters, if you suspect an explosion is imminent, you should turn off the water heater’s electricity and/or gas supply lines.Follow the directions in your unit’s handbook for the proper procedure to be followed when completely turning off the heater.Once you’ve done that (which should lessen some of the impending hazards of an explosion), call a professional.This isn’t something you want to deal with on your own unless you’re a professional who is trained in water heater repair.

  • Numerous fatal incidents (such as this one, in which a family lost their father and their home) are the result of people attempting to fix their water heaters on their own, which is a common occurrence.
  • It’s just not worth the danger to your own safety and that of your family.

Water Heater Explosions: What NOT To Do

  • Additionally, avoid performing the following tasks on your own if you have a water heater that you are concerned can rupture: The act of applying tape over a perforation in your tank will merely raise pressure in the tank, increasing the probability of an explosion
  • Going longer than a year without having your water heater examined
  • not getting your water heater tested at all.
  • Leaving a problem unattended for a lengthy period of time
  • Having professionals operate on your water heater who are not licensed or who are not trustworthy

Trust American Home Water and Air for Keeping Your Water Heater In Good Shape

In the event that your water heater is in need of repair or replacement and you live in the greater Phoenix, Arizona region, contact American Home Water and Air now.We provide the most extensive diagnostic, repair, and replacement services available in the region, and we have the experience to back it up with our more than 30 years in business.Come see us now at 23439 North 35th Dr.7, Glendale, AZ 85310 to discuss your needs.


In fact, explosions caused by water heaters are not simply a myth; they occur on a regular basis. Water heater explosion causes, warning signals, and prevention measures were all discussed in detail in this piece, which can be found here. You should now be fully informed about what to do if you fear your water heater is ready to blow up or otherwise malfunction.

Water Heater Explosions – Should You Be Concerned?

Please keep in mind that this content may contain affiliate links.This means that, at no additional cost to you, we may gain a small profit on purchases made via our links.Even that spanking new AO Smith boiler, which is considerably safer than previous boilers, isn’t without flaws.Here’s everything you need to know about the dangers of water heater explosions, including how to avoid them.

Can a Water Heater Explode?

It is important to remember that your water heater has a limited lifespan and must cope with a lot of pressure.Water heaters that are not properly maintained or replaced on a regular basis, as well as those that are not properly maintained or replaced on a regular basis, have a considerably higher probability of exploding.When a heater fails, or even worse, explodes, it can cause significant water damage to your property.

What Causes a Water Heater Explosion?

There are a variety of potential reasons of a heater explosion, but pressure is the most serious danger to be aware of. A faulty T&P valve, excessive sediment, or a faulty anode rod are all potential hazards that might result in a pressure explosion. Another probable reason is a gas leak, which poses a significant fire hazard and should be investigated immediately.

Signs Your Water Heater is Going to Explode

Depending on who is to blame, you may experience a variety of symptoms. As an example, a sulfur or rotten egg odor emanating from the tank’s outside indicates the presence of a gas leak, but a sulfur odor emanating from your faucets indicates the presence of a colony of bacteria in the tank. As with pings in the pipes, brown water can also indicate rust or silt accumulation in the system.

How to Prevent a Water Heater Explosion

Proper maintenance, as well as replacing the water heater when faults or leaks begin to develop on a regular basis, are both effective techniques to avoid a catastrophic explosion.There are a few simple techniques to keep your heater in good working order, and none of them necessitate the use of a plumber, unless you decide you want one.A water heater should be properly checked at least once each year, unless symptoms are discovered, and periodic maintenance should be performed at that time to ensure that the heater is operating at top performance levels.

T&P Check

It is vital to note that the temperature and pressure relief valve (also known as a TPR or T&P) is an integral element of the water heater and is often found at the top or high on the side of the water heater.Testing the valve twice a year is simple and takes only a few minutes.Simply place a bucket beneath the valve, dress in clothing that will protect you from any scorching water that may splash on you, and turn the valve switch up for around five seconds.During the inspection, it should be capable of releasing water.If the TPR valve looks to be faulty, it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Temperature Check

The temptation to leave the thermostat at its maximum setting is strong, but doing so can actually reduce the lifespan of both your water heater and the temperature control valve.The temperature should be set around 130 degrees in most circumstances, with no setting greater than 140 degrees recommended in most cases as well.As a result of the increased pressure created by hot water, the TPR valve may be forced to operate more often, eventually wearing it down and gushing hot water all over the floor.

Anode Check

In your tank’s water, the anode is a corrosive agent that draws corrosive agents that attract the anode.This causes the rod to corrode and degrade rather than the water heater’s walls.When the tank’s walls become too thin and finally burst, the possibility of an explosion increases significantly.Every year, you should inspect the anode and replace it if necessary.Remember that there are various different types of anode rods available, so you may want to consider investing in the rod that best meets your household’s needs.

Gas Check

If you notice the smell of sulfur near a gas water heater, it is critical that you turn it off immediately.This has the potential to create a significant fire danger and explosive risk.Keep the gas off until the leak has been identified and corrected.Professional assistance is suggested, however if you’ve limited the problem down to a malfunctioning gas control valve or its connection, the controls are fully on the outside of the tank and may be accessed without opening the tank.This makes it quite simple to replace a gas control valve that has failed.It should be noted that when a water heater fails, carbon monoxide might be released.

  • This odorless gas can induce a variety of symptoms, including dizziness and difficulty concentrating, among others.
  • Because too much carbon monoxide can be fatal, it is recommended to have a carbon monoxide detector near the water heater in case CO2 gas escapes.

Regular Flushing

Over time, silt can build up in the tank, causing the water temperature to become uneven and the tank pressure to rise, among other things.Flushing out the tank on a yearly basis can significantly lessen these risks while also allowing your anode to operate more efficiently.The procedure takes longer than the other maintenance jobs on this list, but the benefits are typically tangible and tangible results may often be felt.

Install Water Heater Above Floor Level

It is preferable to have a gas water heater built 18 inches above the ground level, however this is not always practicable in all situations.For the simple reason that a variety of liquids, including gasoline, paint thinner, lacquer, brake cleaner, contact cement, and other dangerous products, may all be kept together in the same space (ie: garage).If these materials are utilized in close proximity to a water heater or if they are not properly sealed, the fumes can reach the gas control valve and cause an explosion.Because the majority of flammable vapors remain near to the ground, the likelihood of a flammable vapor occurrence is considerably decreased if your water heater is elevated above the ground level.

Steam explosion – Wikipedia

The lava entering the water at the Waikupanaha ocean entry on the large island of Hawaii created a littoral explosion at the ocean entry.The boiling or flashing of water or ice into steam results in an explosion when the water or ice is either superheated, rapidly heated by fine hot debris produced within it, or heated by the interaction of molten metals (as in the fuel–coolant interaction, or FCI, of molten nuclear-reactor fuel rods with water in a nuclear reactor core following a core meltdown).It is possible for pressure vessels, such as pressurized water reactors, to create the conditions for a steam explosion if they are operated at pressures higher than the surrounding atmosphere.The water converts from a solid or a liquid to a gas at an extremely fast rate, resulting in a spectacular increase in volume.Scalding and burning are possible as a result of a steam explosion because the steam, boiling-hot water, and hot medium that heated it are all sprayed in all directions (if not otherwise contained, such as by the walls of a container).It is very uncommon for steam explosions to cause chemical explosions, however a variety of chemicals react chemically with steam (for example, zirconium and superheated graphite react with steam and air to give off hydrogen, which burns strongly in air) and so cause chemical explosions and fires.

  • The release of accumulated superheat appears to be responsible for some steam explosions, which are thought to be variations on the boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion (BLEVE).
  • The presence of an energy-release front propagating through the material (see the description of FCI below) is observed in a number of large-scale events, including foundry accidents, where the forces cause fragmentation and mixing of hot and cold volatile phases, and the rapid heat transfer at the front ensures that the front continues to propagate.
  • Because of the quick heating of the water, it is possible for a steam explosion to occur in a confined tank of water, causing a pressure wave and rapidly expanding steam to generate severe water hammer.

SL-1 nuclear reactor vessel, destroyed by a criticality accident in Idaho, USA, in 1961, jumped almost 9 feet (2.7 meters) into the air after being thrown out of its containment vessel by the criticality accident.Because of the immediate overheating that occurred in the case of SL-1, the gasoline and fuel components evaporated.Events of this general kind are also feasible in a liquid-cooled nuclear reactor if the fuel and fuel components eventually melt.

Fuel–coolant interactions are the technical term for these types of explosions (FCI).As the pressure wave passes through the predispersed material, it generates flow forces that further fracture the melt, resulting in fast heat transfer and, as a result, allowing the wave to continue.This type of steam explosion is estimated to have caused much of the physical devastation in the Chernobyl accident, which occurred at the RBMK-1000 reactor, which was graphite-moderated and light-water-cooled.The most serious consequence of a steam explosion in a nuclear meltdown is the breakdown of the containment building at an early stage.Two scenarios are possible: the ejection of molten fuel into the containment at high pressure, resulting in fast heating; or an in-vessel steam explosion resulting in the ejection of a missile (such as the upper head) into and through the containment at high pressure.

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Even if a less dramatic but still significant scenario occurs, a steam explosion would almost certainly occur, but the debris would most likely be contained, and, in fact, would most likely be more easily cooled because it would have been dispersed rather than melted through the floor of the reactor building.For further information, see WASH-1400.Steam explosions are common when hot lava meets sea water or ice, and they are very dangerous.A littoral explosion is another term used to describe such an incident.When liquid water or ice comes into contact with hot, molten metal, a potentially lethal steam explosion can be generated.During the process of turning the water into steam, it splashes the scorching hot liquid metal into the air, posing a serious risk of severe burns for anybody who happens to be nearby and presenting a hazard for firefighters.

Practical uses

Biomass Refinement

Steam explosion biorefinement is a commercial use for biomass that is used to increase its value.Pressurization of biomass with steam at pressures of up to 3MPa (10 atmospheres) and rapid release of the pressure are required in order for the appropriate transformation to take place in the biomass.The notion has been demonstrated in an industrial setting through the development of a paper fiber project.

Steam turbines

A water vapor explosion generates a large amount of gas without releasing any potentially dangerous byproducts into the environment.The controlled explosion of water has been utilized to generate steam in power plants and in current forms of steam turbines, among other applications.Steam engines that are more recent employ heated oil to cause droplets of water to erupt, so creating high pressure in a tightly regulated chamber.A turbine or a converted combustion engine is then powered by the pressure generated.Hot oil and water explosions are becoming increasingly common in concentrated solar generators, owing to the fact that the water may be separated from the oil in a closed loop without the need for additional external energy.An ecologically friendly water explosion is one in which the heat is provided by a sustainable resource such as solar energy.

Flash boiling in cooking

In order to expedite the process of boiling, a culinary method known as flash boiling is used to use a tiny amount of water.To melt a slice of cheese onto a hamburger patty, for example, this approach can be employed successfully.After the cheese slice has been placed on top of the meat on a heated surface, such as in a frying pan, a little amount of cold water is poured onto the area around the patty to keep it from burning.Using a vessel (such as a saucepan or frying-pan lid), you may fast close the steam-flash reaction, which disperses the majority of the steamed water on the cheese and burger.This results in a significant release of heat, which is transmitted through the process of vaporized water condensing back into a liquid (a principle also used in refrigerator and freezer production).

Other uses

When it comes to internal combustion engines, flash-boiling can be used to aerosolize the fuel.

Other rapid boiling phenomena

High steam production rates can also occur in other situations, such as when a boiler’s drum fails or when a quench front is present (for example when water re-enters a hot dry boiler).They are less energetic than events in which the hot (″fuel″) phase is molten and, as a result, can be finely fractured within the volatile (″coolant″) phase, despite the fact that they are potentially destructive.Here are a few illustrations: Steam explosions are naturally created by some volcanoes, particularly stratovolcanoes, and are a major source of human mortality during volcanic eruptions.They are also a key driver of ash cloud formation.Upon melting the lava-like nuclear fuel in the reactor’s basement and coming into contact with residue fire-fighting water and groundwater, the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union was expected to cause a major steam explosion (and resulting Europe-wide nuclear fallout) that would spread throughout Europe.An emergency tunneling operation was launched beneath the reactor to pump out water and fortify the surrounding soil with concrete, preventing the hazard from materializing.

  • When a pressurized container, such as the waterside of a steam boiler, ruptures, there is always some degree of steam explosion as a result of the pressure buildup.
  • When running at normal pressure and temperature, a marine boiler typically produces 950 psi (6,600 kPa) and 850 °F (454 °C) at the exit of the superheater, respectively.
  • Typically, oil-fired burners are used in a steam boiler to create an interface between steam and water in the steam drum, which is where the water is eventually evaporating as a result of the heat input.

Any of the many reasons why a water tube breaks can result in the expansion of water in the boiler, which can lead it to expand out of the aperture into the furnace region, where the pressure is just a few psi above atmospheric pressure.This will very certainly put out all of the flames and will spread over a huge surface area on the sidewalls of the boiler.Boilers have evolved from ″fire-tube″ designs, in which heat was added by passing hot gases through tubes in a body of water, to ″water-tube″ designs, in which the water is contained within the tubes and the furnace area is contained within the tubes.

This has reduced the likelihood of a catastrophic explosion.Old ″fire-tube″ boilers frequently failed as a result of poor construction quality or a lack of routine maintenance (such as corrosion of the fire tubes, or fatigue of the boiler shell due to constant expansion and contraction).While a failure of the fire tubes causes large volumes of high-pressure, high-temperature water to flow backwards down the fire tubes in a fraction of a second and frequently blows out of the front of the boiler, a failure of the pressure vessel that surrounds the water results in a complete and total evacuation of the boiler’s contents in a large steam explosion.A marine boiler would very probably kill the ship’s propulsion system, and it is possible that the ship’s corresponding end would also be destroyed.In a more home environment, steam explosions can occur as a result of attempting to extinguish a burning oil fire with water, which is referred to as a boilover procedure.

When oil in a pan catches fire, the natural instinct may be to douse it with water to put it out.However, doing so may cause the hot oil to superheat the water, making the fire even worse.The ensuing steam will disperse fast and violently upwards and outwards in a spray that will contain the ignited oil as well as the following steam.The proper approach for extinguishing such flames is to place either a moist cloth or a tight cover on the pan; both methods deny the fire of oxygen, and the cloth also helps to cool the fire down once it has started.An alternative is to employ a non-volatile fire retardant compound that has been specifically manufactured for the aim of preventing fires, or a simple fire blanket.

See also

  • Boiler explosion
  • Multiphase flow
  • 2007 New York City steam explosion
  • Boiler explosion
  • Multiphase flow


Triggered Steam Explosions is a work by Lloyd S. Nelson, Paul W. Brooks, Riccardo Bonazza, and Michael L. Corradini that was published in the journal Science. Kjetil Hildal is a Norwegian actor.


Mehdi Mojtabi, Graham Wigley, and Jerome Helie are among those who have contributed to this work (2014). A study entitled ″THE EFFECT OF FLASH BOILING ON THE ATOMIZATION PERFORMANCE OF GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION MULTISTREAM INJECTORS″ was conducted in 2012. Atomization and Sprays, Volume 24, Number 6, Pages 467–493, doi:10.1615/AtomizSpr.2014008296.

4 Signs Your Water Heater is About to Explode

While we seldom consider it, our water heater is basically a gigantic time bomb that has the ability to explode, inflicting catastrophic damage and tearing your home apart if not properly maintained.When explosions go wrong, they may cause major property damage, as well as injuries and even death in some cases.Failures or explosions of water heaters can occur as a result of improper installation or service by unlicensed plumbers.If such careless activities result in injury to you or your family, or cause damage to your property, you should speak with a Houston water heater explosion lawyer to see whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Signs your Water Heater is about to Explode

Water heater explosions are extremely rare, but when they do occur, the consequences may be catastrophic. Do not wait for a disaster to strike. Here are some of the warning indications that your water heater will give you before it fails. The pressure relief valve is leaking.

It is customary for the pressure release valve to be situated on the side of the heater, towards the top.It opens when the pressure inside the tank reaches dangerously high levels, releasing water and allowing the pressure to return to normal levels.If the valve is leaking, it signifies that there is too much heat or pressure inside the tank, which causes it to malfunction.Either option is hazardous since it has the potential to cause an explosion.Furthermore, if the valve is worn out or has been replaced several times, it indicates that it is unable to manage the pressure or heat in the tank and may eventually fail, resulting in an abnormally high level of pressure being trapped in the tank.The scent of rotten eggs

A sulfur-like rotten-egg smell near the water heater might indicate that there is a gas leak inside that could ignite when the lights are turned on. If you notice this smell, turn off the water heater immediately. If you detect the smell of gas near your heater, switch off the gas immediately and contact a certified plumber to inspect your heater. There is a popping and banging sounds.

You may experience problems with your heater if it continues to make a popping or banging noise, similar to that created by a popcorn maker.Over time, sediment from the water accumulates at the bottom of the heating tank, insulating the water from the burner and reducing its efficiency.As a result, the burner must operate for a longer period of time to heat the water, raising the temperature within the tank.The popping sound is caused by water trapped beneath the silt boiling and bubbling as it attempts to escape the sediment layer below.Installations that are faulty

  • Explosions can occur as a result of improperly placed heaters, heater controls, and gas connections. If the heater is electric, corrosion caused by water might result in an electrical short. Water heater explosions are preventable if you follow these guidelines. Check that your heater’s pressure release valve is properly operational, and replace it if necessary.
  • Maintain the temperature of your heater between 120 and 125 degrees at all times. Anything beyond this raises the internal temperature and causes scorching hot water to be released.
  • At least once a year, ensure that your heater is maintained and cleaned out.
  • Always check to see that your plumber is a licensed and experienced specialist.

Common Water Heater Injuries

It is most likely that children and the elderly will be the most vulnerable victims of water heater injuries.Year after year, thousands of youngsters are wounded by scorching hot water, which is caused by a water heater thermostat that has been set to an excessively high temperature.Leaks, fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and even explosions are all possibilities for causing damage in a workplace environment.According to the Burn Foundation, water at 156 degrees Fahrenheit may produce third degree burns in as little as one second.Third degree burns can also be caused by two seconds at 149 degrees, five seconds at 140 degrees, and fifteen seconds at 133 degrees.

Carbon Monoxide & Water Heaters

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another possible hazard associated with a faulty water heater.The possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning from a water heater when it is neglected, inadequately fitted, or poorly vented should not be underestimated.Without a working carbon monoxide detector placed nearby, carbon monoxide can be unnoticed for long periods of time.When a carbon monoxide leak occurs, anyone who is home may endure headaches, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, and, in the worst case scenario, death if they do not get to fresh air as soon as possible.

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Legal Help for a Water Heater Malfunction

For those who live in a rented house, you may be able to recover compensation if your landlord has been irresponsible in maintaining the water heater in your residence.It is also possible that malfunctioning water heaters may result in a product liability lawsuit if they were designed wrongly, which would be a serious setback.Immediately consult with a Houston water heater explosion attorney if you have been hurt or have suffered property loss as a consequence of a failed water heater.A third party may have been negligent in their actions, and you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.Water heater explosion victims have received assistance from the skilled Houston personal injury attorneys at Ben Bronston & Associates, and they can aid you in fighting for the recompense you deserve.

Water Heater Explosions – Should You Be Concerned?

Nowadays, hot water is widely available in the majority of houses, and accessing it is as simple as turning on the faucet.While it was formerly considered a luxury only a few decades ago, it has now evolved into a need for every home in the United States.While water heaters have become a vital component of contemporary houses, they may be quite dangerous if they are not properly cared for and maintained.We’re not saying that your water heater is a ticking time bomb, at least not at this point.Water heaters, whether electric or gas, are generally considered to be safe to operate, especially when the system is kept in perfect working order.Aside from that, most versions are fitted with monitoring alarms and sensors that may be activated in the event of an accident such as a fire or a carbon monoxide leak.

  • When in question about the condition of your water heater or have spotted something suspicious, always seek the advice of a qualified professional specialist.
  • Despite the fact that some individuals are interested in doing things on their own, it is recommended that water heater repair be left to specialists for the sake of safety.
  • In this post, we will take a deeper look at water heater explosions and the factors that may have contributed to them.

Furthermore, we will go over all of the indications that may indicate the possibility of a water heater explosion as well as the precautions that should be taken to keep your water heater from exploding in the future.

How Does Water Heaters Work?

The operation of the water heater must be understood first before we can discuss any other aspects of the machine, such as its explosion.Gas water heaters and electric water heaters are the two main types of water heaters available on the market today.Despite the fact that all water heating systems function on the same basic principles, different models and brands perform somewhat differently from one another.In general, all water heaters function by heating the water contained within the tank by the use of some form of combustion.Water heaters that run on natural gas typically heat the water in a storage tank by the use of a burner.Of a similar vein, coils serve as the heating element in an electric water heater.

  • Most water heaters these days are equipped with a digital dial that allows you to control the temperature.
  • A timer is set to switch off the burner automatically when the water within the storage tank has reached its maximum temperature.
  • The manufacturer of most water heating systems recommended that the water temperature setting be kept no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

What Does Each Part Do?

  • Click Here to View the Image’s Source To make understanding how a water heater works easier, we’ve provided a breakdown of each component of the device, as well as an explanation of what each component accomplishes. Copper Piping: A water heater makes use of two copper pipes: one for the hot water that is being discharged and another for the cold water that is being received. Both of these copper pipers may be seen on the roof of the water storage tank. Water Dip Tube: The dip tube is an internal component of the holding tank that is responsible for distributing cold water to the bottom of the holding tank. It is important to note that if the dip tube in your water heater breaks or deteriorates, the water will not be heated adequately.
  • Anode Rod: An anode rod is a piece of equipment that shields the dip tube and helps to decrease mineral accumulation in the tank. Please do not remove this rod from the water heater, despite the fact that it stinks like sulphur. As a result, this rod accumulates corrosive minerals that might gradually degrade your water tank, extending its useful life.
  • Drain Valve: A drain valve, which is located at the bottom of the tank, is used to empty the storage tank of its contents. Mineral accumulation can occasionally create a pounding or knocking sound to be heard inside the tank. Although it may not seem like much, it is necessary to open the drain valve every few years in order to cleanse the water and eliminate the mineral buildup that has accumulated. This helps to lessen the likelihood of corrosion and leaks occurring inside the tank, as well as the tank’s overall longevity.
  • It is located at the top of the water tank and serves as a safety feature, relieving pressure and restoring balance to the system if the pressure or heat gets too much for the tank to bear. Immediately if you detect that this valve is leaking, you should consider having it replaced.
  • Burns and injuries can be prevented by using a discharge tube, which is a safety device that keeps scorching water from sprinkling on the user’s skin. A pressure relief valve must be put on the pressure relief valve, which should be approximately six inches above the floor.

What Causes a Water Heater to Explode?

To be completely honest, water heaters are generally safe and have been tested in accordance with numerous safety requirements.When not properly maintained, these vital systems can transform into a ticking time bomb that is just ready to go off at any moment.But what is it that causes the water heater to blow up exactly?In general, water heaters can explode if the temperature of the thermostat is set too high or if the pressure relief valve fails to operate properly.This can happen with both gas and electric water heaters, so be aware of this possibility.When the pressure relief valve fails to work properly, the most typical cause is a blockage in the pipe or a failure to release the pressure inside the tank as intended.

  • When water is heated to a certain temperature, it transforms into a gas.
  • When the pressure and heat grow too much for the water tank to bear, it attempts to relieve the pressure by opening a pressure relief valve on the tank’s side.
  • If the value is damaged or blocked and is unable to release the pressure, the building pressure will eventually result in an explosion as the pressure builds.

The devastation created by an explosion can be catastrophic.When a water heater does explode, it behaves in a manner similar to that of a rocket, despite the fact that this is extremely unlikely.As a result, you must check the pressure relief valve of your system on a regular basis to verify that it is in perfect working order.

If you are unsure of the system’s status or detect something suspicious, you should engage a professional expert to do an inspection.The best precaution you can take to avoid such a calamity is to keep the temperature of your water heater no higher than the manufacturer’s recommended setting.

Warning Signs Before Water Heater Explosion

The majority of the time, a water heater explosion does not come out of nowhere.There are usually specific symptoms and signals that the system emits to alert you to the fact that your water heater is not functioning properly.It is highly recommended that you connect with a professional expert as soon as you detect anything weird or hear strange sounds coming from the water heater.So, here are some of the most typical warning indications that your water heater may be ready to blow up, as well as some of the more serious warning signals to look out for.

Steady Popping Noise

When a water heater is in operation, it normally produces a modest amount of noise.However, if the noise becomes more noticeable over time and begins to sound like a popcorn machine, it may be necessary to schedule an appointment with your doctor.In most cases, it is caused by a build-up of silt on the bottom of the storage tank.It is possible that the water heating equipment is working twice as hard to heat the water in this situation.If this is not treated in a timely manner, the tank’s condition may degrade over time, making it more prone to rupture.

Gas Smell

In the event that you possess a gas water heater, you are surely aware of the potential risk that a gas leak might present.If you notice the smell of gas anywhere near your water heater, switch off the water heater and call a specialist for assistance right once.When the scent is present, it is usually similar to the stench of rotting eggs.If you detect anything like this, there is a good chance that an explosion will occur.

Open Relief Valve

The T&P valve on a water heater is one of the most crucial components of the unit.This valve opens and discharges water in order to reduce the pressure within the storage tank..A relief valve opening once or twice may not be a huge concern if you only notice it once or twice.If, on the other hand, you observe that the valve on your unit is continually open, this might suggest that the pressure within the tank is excessively high, and the tank may eventually burst due to the pressure.

Rusty-Looking Water

Rust and corrosion are two of a water heater’s most formidable adversaries.Modern heaters, on the other hand, are fitted with an anode rod, which is used to attract the molecules that cause rust.Although the anode rod can endure for several years, it could be destroyed if you do not maintain the system properly.If this occurs, the tank is likely to leak, and in the worst case scenario, the tank may potentially burst.As a result, if you detect water that appears to be rusty in appearance, it is possible that the anode rod has begun to degrade.In this instance, you should immediately visit specialists, and could get your water heater repaired or replaced.

Tank Leaks

Leaks are typically the most disastrous event that may occur in a water tank’s lifetime.It goes without saying that no one would like to wake up to find a puddle of water beneath the water tank in their bed.Leaks in your system, on the other hand, might suggest something more serious.It is preferable to patch leaks as soon as they are discovered, not only to prevent more damage but also to prevent a potential explosion from taking place.Of course, it is feasible for a new water heater to catch fire and explode!However, unless the system has been setup incorrectly, this is exceedingly unlikely to occur.

How to Prevent Water Heater Explosion

A water heater explosion may be avoided by doing regular maintenance on the unit or by replacing the complete system as soon as you discover any leaks or other problems with the water heater.In addition, there are a few things you can take to keep your water heater in good working order, and none of them necessitate the hiring of a plumber.No matter whether your water heater is not exhibiting any indications or symptoms, it should be properly inspected and maintained at least once a year to ensure that it is in the best possible working order.Here are a few items you must keep in good working order to avoid a water heater explosion:

T&P Valve Check

The temperature and pressure relief valve on a water heater is one of the most important components of the system (T&P valve).This valve is often found at the top of the unit or on the side of the unit, high up.It is necessary to inspect this valve at least twice a year in order to maintain peak functioning.To check the condition of the T&P valve, place a bucket underneath it and flick the switch on the valve for around five seconds to see whether it works.Wear garments that will shield you from scorching water if any is splashed on you during the test because some water may be discharged throughout the procedure.If you discover that the valve is not operating properly or if there is anything wrong with it, you should consider replacing it right away.

Temperature Check

Maintaining the thermostat at the highest possible setting may seem appealing, but doing so may actually limit the lifespan of the T&P valve and your water heater.In general, it is advised that you maintain your thermostat set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.However, if you wish to go higher than that, we recommend that you stay to a maximum temperature of 140 degrees.Increased temperature leads to increased pressure in the system, which may cause the T&P valve to open and close more often.This might cause the valve to wear down prematurely, resulting in water leaking all over the floor.

Anode Rod Check

An anode rod is essentially a sacrificial rod that collects rust and corrosive chemicals from the water that it is placed in contact with.Due to the fact that it serves to protect the water heater’s walls, there is a great likelihood that the rod may rust and degrade over time.If the tank is not replaced in a timely manner, the walls of the tank may begin to corrode.Tank explosions are more likely to occur in this situation because the walls of the tanks tend to weaken and break as a result of this.It is critical that you examine the anode rod at least once a year and replace it as soon as possible if it becomes damaged.Remember that there are several types of anode rods available on the market, so do your research!

  • As a result, make certain to choose the rod that is most appropriate for your water heater.

Gas Check

Obviously, the risk of an explosion is larger with gas water heaters than with electric water heaters.Turn down the water heater immediately if you detect the odor of gas or sulfur near the appliance.If you do not switch off the device at the appropriate time, it may cause an explosion or create a fire danger.Whenever you suspect that there is a gas leak or that a gas control valve has failed, it is always best to seek expert assistance.Never switch the case back on until you’ve resolved the gas leaking issue in question.Because the controls are positioned outside the tank, if the connection of the gas control valve fails, it is simple to repair because the controls are located outside the tank.

  • Furthermore, it is important to know that malfunctioning water heaters have the potential to leak carbon monoxide into the environment.
  • Despite the fact that it has no odor, this gas can cause major ailments such as disorientation and breathing difficulties.
  • Consequently, we propose that you have a carbon monoxide detector near the water heater to alert you if CO2 gas is leaking from the water heater.
See also:  How Often Do You Replace A Hot Water Heater?

Regular Flushing

As you are all aware, sediments and minerals are known to accumulate within the water tank over time.An excessive amount of sediment can raise the pressure inside the tank, as well as cause the water temperature to be unevenly distributed.Flushing out the tank once a year can, as a result, drastically lower the risk of a tank explosion while also allowing the anode rod to perform more efficiently.It’s not impossible that the procedure of cleansing the system will take a little longer than other types of routine maintenance.

Install the Unit Above Floor Level

While this may not always be practical, it is advised that you put your water heater at least 18 inches above the level of the floor, especially if you have a gas water heater installed in your home.Due to the possibility of flammable chemicals such as paint thinner, brake cleaner, gasoline, lacquer, or contact cement being kept in the same place, this precaution is necessary.It is possible that if a combustible item is placed next to the water heater, its fumes will reach the gas control valve, which might result in an explosion.Because most combustible vapors only float around the surface of the ground, raising the water heater above the floor will considerably lessen the likelihood of an explosion occurring.


Though the likelihood of a water heater exploding is extremely low, you should never rule out the chance of such an event occurring.It is possible for a water heater to burst and cause damage to your roof for a variety of reasons.Our recommendation is to contact a professional technician if you see anything unusual or suspicious in your water heating system and have him or her evaluate the complete system.Additionally, it is recommended that you inspect the unit on a regular basis and maintain it as needed to avoid any significant damage.Cheers!

Can a Water Heater Explode

Warning!Explosions caused by water heaters are a fact.Heating your domestic water accounts for over 20 percent of your yearly household energy bills, thus it is critical that you maintain your water heater properly.It’s an important part of your family’s life, and it’s well worth your time to make sure it’s properly maintained on a regular basis.According to a research from the Insurance Institute for Business and House Safety, if your water heater breaks and floods your home, it is among the top 20 percent of water damage concerns (IBHS).According to them, the average claim was somewhat less than $4500.

  • But, don’t you think you can take a deep breath?
  • Is it true that your water heating system is in good working order and has been serviced?
  • No?

Then you should continue reading because it might save your life or prevent you from suffering a terrible injury.A few basic measures can save you from becoming a statistic, and flooding is likely to be the least of your worries.All you have to do is check on your water heater on a regular basis.

I realize it’s a hassle.It’s like paying a visit to family that you never seem to have the time to spend time with.It is obvious that you should, but don’t we constantly find something more interesting to do instead?Try not to put it off much longer.

Explosions can kill

Warning!It is a fact of life that water heaters can explode.Heating your domestic water accounts for over 20% of your yearly household energy bills, thus it is critical that you maintain your water heater.Your family’s life revolves on it, thus it’s important to take good care of it on a regular basis.According to a research from the Insurance Institute for Business and House Safety, if your water heater breaks and floods your home, it is in the top 20 percent of water damage concerns (IBHS).Approximately $4500 was the average claim amount, according to the company.

  • Can’t you, on the other hand, just sit back and enjoy the view?
  • It’s safe to assume that your water heating system is in good working order.
  • No?

Then you should continue reading since it might save your life or prevent you from suffering from a terrible injury altogether.All it takes is a few easy precautions to save you from becoming a statistic, because flooding is likely to be the least of your worries.Visiting your water heater on a regular basis is all that’s required.

We all understand how difficult it is.As though you were paying a visit to distant relatives with whom you never felt a strong want to speak.You should, but we always seem to find something more interesting to do, don’t we.If possible, avoid delaying.

How to prevent your water heater exploding

Water heater with a storage tank powered by natural gas In the course of time, natural residue from your water falls to the bottom of your water heater’s tank base, forming a layer that separates the water from the power source, which is often a gas burner.As a result, your burner will have to work harder and for a longer period of time to get your water up to boil.As the layer develops over time, it has the potential to cause the system to overheat, causing damage to the tank and other components.- Find Local Plumbers – Find Local Plumbers in Your Area

Listen to the sounds it makes

While you’re there, pay attention to the sounds your water heater makes.It might be a symptom of a more serious problem in the background.If you hear bursts of popping or bumping sounds, this is caused by water trapped behind the layer of residue expanding and escaping into the main tank of the dishwasher.These may be pleasant noises if you’re boiling a kettle on a camping fire in the great outdoors, but they are warning indicators that something is wrong with your water heater.

Prevent tank residue once a year

It is necessary to empty the tank of residue at least once a year, more frequently if you live in a hard water environment. Hard water includes minerals that settle to the bottom and produce silt. You may not need to clean your water heater as often as you used to, perhaps once every three years if you have a modern model with a self-cleaning mechanism.

Water heater tank types

In water heaters, steel has been utilized widely, and when it comes into touch with water, it has a natural tendency to rust.Tanks with a glass liner or made of stainless steel are becoming increasingly common.Although stainless steel is at danger in locations where the water supply includes high amounts of chorine, unless you choose a very high-grade material, it is also at risk in other areas.It is available in a variety of grades, with the most popular being 304, 316L, 316Ti, and 444 being the most widely used in water heaters.Although the grade is more expensive, it will endure longer if it is of a higher caliber.

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Check the water heater anode as recommended

In addition, the anode, which is a long rod located inside the tank and responsible for pulling rust away from the steel wall of the tank, has to be replaced.It’s often constructed of a magnesium alloy and serves as an anode to the water tank wall, which serves as the cathode in the process.As a result, over time, it is destroyed rather than the water tank, extending the life of the water heater tank, but only if the water heater tank is in excellent condition.This is known as a ″Sacrificial anode.″ Although stainless steel water heaters do not require the use of an anode, they are nevertheless installed in tanks with a glass liner to avoid damage to the steel.They should be examined every two to three years, and they are simple to inspect and replace if they are no longer in working order.

Prevent explosions by checking the temperature and pressure relief valve

The final crucial component is the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve), which is designed to protect you and your family from the tremendous pressure within the tank and a potentially lethal explosion if the tank explodes.If the pressure in your water tank exceeds the limit stated by the manufacturer, the valve will automatically open and shut off.The relief valve and your thermostat operate in tandem to keep you and your family safe.An explosion is possible if the valve does not open when the pressure in your water-heating tank increases over an allowable level.Consider the over-inflation of a balloon, which finally bursts and causes an explosion.Something needs to give in this situation if there is too much pressure and it is impossible to release it all at the same time.

  • There might be a variety of factors contributing to the failure of the pressure relief valve.
  • It is a proven truth that manufactured equipment fails.
  • Because of a build-up of minerals and other debris that pours into your heater through the freshwater input, it might become stuck open or closed.

If that small obstruction causes the drain to get clogged, it might result in floods.However, if it becomes stuck closed, it might be fatal.It should be examined on a regular basis to ensure that it opens easily, enables water to flow freely, and then closes firmly again.

Preventing explosions is not rocket science

If a solid block is formed in your water heater, it will not only cause it to malfunction, but it will also cause it to explode.Exploding water heaters do not often explode in a manner similar to a bomb, but rather like a propelled rocket that shoots straight up through your floors and roof.One such example flew more than 439 feet into the air before returning to the earth, which is further than some previous large-scale rockets were able to travel in one flight!The number of water heaters that have exploded is pretty modest, and fortunately, it is almost as little as the number of houses that do basic maintenance on their water heaters each year.You make sure your automobile is safe for your family by making sure it is well-maintained and examined for obvious flaws; why not do the same with your water heater?

YouTube video: Mythbusters Water Heater Explosion

Which types of water heaters are  more liable to explode?

Storage tank water heaters 

These are the most often seen types of water heaters in modern households.These units are completely safe, provided that they are maintained and examined on a regular basis.For the sake of safety, they should be maintained by a professional once a year.Tank-type heaters are constructed with a water storage tank that can hold more than 100 gallons of water, and because they are prone to high-pressure situations, they are equipped with a safety pressure relief valve as a precaution.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters are often smaller in size due to the absence of a huge storage tank and the fact that they heat water on demand using gas or electricity rather than a storage tank. These units are quite safe, although like with the tank-type types, the CSPC has had to recall several models in the past due to safety concerns.

Point of use water heaters (POU)

In the same manner as tankless water heaters, in which the water is heated on demand as it passes through the heating source, or tank-type water heaters, which are fitted with a storage tank, function, POU water heaters also work.A single-point water heater at a sink, for example, would be a common installation.Larger, more powerful units are available for tiny households or bathrooms that only require a modest amount of hot water on a regular basis.However, if they are not properly maintained, they do have the potential to cause an explosion.

Heat pump water heaters

Heat pumps for heating water (hybrids) can be installed as stand-alone machines on top of a storage tank ranging from 20 to 80 gallons in capacity.These are often equipped with backup heating components, which allow you to raise the temperature of the water if the temperature isn’t high enough at the time of use.Heat pump water heaters can also be used in combination with a regular storage water heater that is already in place.The same precautions should be used since the tank is equipped with a pressure relief valve for safety, and if it fails, there is a risk of an explosion.A certified plumber should do annual professional inspections and perform basic maintenance on your plumbing system.

Solar water heaters

When it comes to hot water, solar water heaters can only deliver around 60% of the hot water needed in a typical home.They function in conjunction with a normal water heater by pre-heating the water before it is heated further.As a result, the total amount of energy you require to heat your water is reduced since the water entering your water heater is significantly warmer than the water coming from the ordinary water supply.The traditional water heater that they use is also at risk of exploding if it is not properly maintained and repaired by a skilled plumber on a yearly basis.


Heating your household water supply may account for up to 20% of your yearly home energy bills, making it an important component of your budget that should be maintained and operated as effectively as possible.Unfortunately, it has a reputation for being a neglected relative when it comes to upkeep, despite the fact that it works tirelessly to keep us all supplied with hot water around the clock.Most of us have a water heater of some kind in our house, and they are a part of our life that is deliberately neglected until they break down; of course, when that happens, things are different.The most important thing to remember about them is that they may and do explode, which is a very spectacular way to draw people’s attention; nevertheless, following a few simple maintenance procedures can keep you out of hot water while also keeping you out of trouble.

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