What is a Water Heater Expansion Tank and Why Do I Need One?
All water heaters, regardless of whether they use heating oil, natural gas or propane or even electricity, can suffer the negative effects of thermal expansion as the cold water coming into the tank turns to hot heated water, increasing the overall water volume via expansion and increasing pressure inside the tank. This increase in volume and pressure must be relieved for overall safety.
What is an Expansion Tank?
As a result, when the expansion tank is properly designed and fitted, it absorbs the ″extra″ water into a bladder that is positioned within the expansion tank, reducing the amount of surplus pressure within the water heater unit.Expansion tanks aid in the reduction of water hammer difficulties as well as the protection of the plumbing system from stress and damage, resulting in a longer tank lifespan.These tanks must be appropriately situated, sized, and piped into the overall system in order to be effective, and they should be inspected on a yearly basis.
- We will ensure that each expansion tank is properly fitted and maintained in order to prevent water hammer, excessive water bills and unnecessary wear on the water heater and plumbing fixtures.
- If you’re concerned that your water heater doesn’t have an expansion tank, ServiceMark can assist you with that worry.
- Related Article: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Gas and Electric Furnaces
What Causes These Plumbing Issues?
The hot water heater in your home is integrated with a check valve, which is inserted in the cold-water feed pipe to improve efficiency and comfort when heating water.Plumbing industry professionals who are licensed to work in the field refer to the check valve and the pipes as a ″closed system.″ It is the function of these one-way check valves to prevent water from flowing backward out of the house through the supply pipes, which helps to prevent potentially contaminated water from entering the public water supply system.Water pressure builds up in a closed system until the check valve is opened, which is an inherent issue with check valves installed in the system.
- Because of the high pressure in your water heater, an expansion tank will help to prevent an explosion.
- If your water heater tank is equipped with a check valve or a pressure-regulating valve, we recommend that you purchase an expansion tank to supplement it.
ServiceMark Can Install Your Expansion Tank!
In addition to being thoroughly trained, our great heating, cooling, and plumbing professionals and support personnel are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist you in making your house not only pleasant, but also safe!We provide same-day service and qualified professionals that are guaranteed to come on time, every time, on the job site.Make a call to the ServiceMark team to guarantee that your house is secure and pleasant throughout the year.
- This article may be of interest: Should I Repair or Replace My Heat Pump System?
Do I Need an Expansion Tank on My Water Heater?
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. We will answer these questions and provide you with a better picture of what is happening with your water heater if you continue reading.
What Type of Water Heater Do You Have?
This may appear to be a simple question, but it is one that many people do not actively consider when they are faced with it.In the case of a tankless water heater, you will not be concerned with an expansion tank because you will not be using a primary tank at all.If you have a typical tank-style water heater, on the other hand, you will almost certainly need to examine whether or not an extension tank is required.
What Does an Expansion Tank Do?
First and foremost, you must comprehend how your water heater operates.When the water in your water heater is heated, it expands as it cools.Thermal expansion is the term used to describe this process, which can put a strain on your plumbing system.
- What happens is that if your water heater stores 50 gallons of cold water, it will expand to around 52 gallons once it has been warmed up.
- As a result, if the excess volume has nowhere to go, it will press against the walls of your plumbing system.
- This process may be compared to the bending of a paper clip; if the paper clip is bent enough, it will eventually break.
- Your water heater is analogous to this paper clip; if the pressure from the expanding and contracting is high enough, the tank itself may begin to leak or even break.
- The open water supply system is used in certain residences where the water pushes back into the municipal water supply and there is no additional pressure placed on the home’s plumbing system.
- Unfortunately, many residences have closed water supply systems, which means that the water supply is only available in one direction.
- Many localities where residences have closed systems require home owners to purchase an expansion tank, which can be expensive.
- In fact, if you do not use an expansion tank in conjunction with your closed system, the manufacturer of your water heater may potentially invalidate your guarantee.
This may be determined by doing several tests to identify whether you have a closed or open water supply system; however, the procedure may be complicated due to the fact that backflow protection devices have a wide range of appearances.You may, on the other hand, hire a plumber to complete this particular work for you if necessary.The expansion tank then comes into play in this situation.Your expansion tank may be able to assist you in saving your system.The expansion tank’s purpose is to accommodate the additional volume as well as any changes in the incoming water pressure from the water supply.
- The expansion tank acts as a fail-safe device, preventing your plumbing from becoming overworked.
- Instead of putting too much pressure on the piping, the surplus water volume rushes into the expansion tank, where it lowers the pressure in the water heater to a safe level before being discharged.
- This, in turn, shields it from further harm.
What Size Expansion Tank Do I Need?
- When it comes to determining the amount of the expansion tank that your home will require, there are two considerations. The first of them will be the size of the water heater that you currently have in your residence. This information can be found on the water heater’s factory label, which may be found on the back of the water heater. The second aspect to consider is the pressure of the water in your system. With these two considerations in mind, you can make a choice on the size of the expansion tank to purchase. Each expansion tank manufacturer will offer a calculator or chart that will tell you what size and kind of expansion tank you’ll need based on the information you provide. Due to the fact that there is no uniform solution, you’ll have to conduct some research or just contact a plumber (click here for a free quote). Here are a handful of illustrations: Chart from PlumbingSupply.com
- SupplyHouse.com calculator
- HomeDepot.com expansion tanks
- and more.
You may, on the other hand, find yourself in a position where you are unclear if the size of the expansion tank is appropriate.In order to avoid selecting an expansion tank that is too small, it is customary to pick one that is somewhat bigger than necessary.This is due to the fact that a tank that is too small might result in the discharge of the relief valve.
- On the other hand, if the tank is overly large, it will have no detrimental affect on your plumbing system whatsoever.
So Do You Need an Expansion Tank?
If you have a standard storage tank water heater, the chances are good that you do. To be certain, conduct thorough research on your specific type of water heater or consult with a plumbing professional. This is one of those things that you want to make absolutely certain you have done correctly.
Water Heater Expansion Tanks
Nick Gromicko, CMI®, and Kenton Shepard wrote this article.What is an expansion tank, and how does it work?An expansion tank is a metal tank that is attached to a building’s water heating appliance and is designed to tolerate changes in the volume of hot water supplied to a building’s water heating appliance.
- Due to the fact that water expands in volume as it heats up and contracts in volume as it cools, these variations occur.
- When the volume of water in a closed system increases, the water pressure might become dangerously high.
- As water is driven into the tank by expansion, it compresses air stored within a rubber bladder, which then causes the tank to overflow.
- In contrast to water, which cannot be compressed, air is employed as a cushion because it exerts less stress on its container than water.
- In this case, the bladder’s job is to prevent air from being absorbed into the water, which might result in the expansion tank losing its capacity to operate as a form of shock absorber.
- If the bladder begins to lose air over time, a Schrader valve, which is similar to the fill valve used on bicycle and automobile tires, may be used to inflate the bladder with more air.
- What does it appear to be on the inside and the outside?
- When compared to water heaters, expansion tanks are very smaller, often holding around two gallons in residential systems, however tank capacities vary in accordance to the volume of water delivered by the hot water supply system they service.
The design pressure for which a tank is rated is shown on a label attached to the tank; for a residential tank, this is typically 150 pounds per square inch (PSI).InterNACHI inspectors should make sure that tanks are installed high enough above the water heater so that water can readily drain back into the water heater tank when the water is turned off.Placement near the water heater is ideal, as is installation vertically above or below the horizontal supply pipe.It may also be mounted horizontally, but vertical installation is preferable.Tanks that are horizontally hung will require additional support in order to lessen the tension placed on the copper piping.
- If the expansion tank is not properly supported or installed, it should be examined for corrosion or leaking.
- Despite the fact that many jurisdictions now require an expansion tank to be erected at the same time as a water heater, an expansion tank has not always been necessary in the past and may still be required in certain areas in the future.
- Not to be used as a replacement for a Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) valve.
- Water heater controls fail, and the pressure or temperature in the system surpasses 150 PSI or 210° F, the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR) located on the side of the water heater tank will open, safely releasing the water from the system.
- TPR valves have the capability of lowering water pressure at a rate greater than the pace at which the water heater can raise it, hence preventing the potential that water may become superheated (more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit) and pose a major harm to the user’s health.
- A strong emphasis should be placed on the importance of this valve, and it is critical that it be inspected routinely for rust or corrosion.
- The release lever should also be exercised monthly by the homeowner rather than an inspection team.
- When a TPR valve fails to work when it is required, the consequences can be disastrous.
- As the temperature of the water heater tank climbs over the boiling point and the water gets superheated, pressure will continue to develop in the water heater tank.
- It is inevitable that at some point pressure in the tank will surpass its capacity to retain it, resulting in the tank bursting and superheated water being exposed to air, creating an instantaneous and catastrophic expansion of steam in the surrounding area.
- Depending on how severe the situation is, the water heater might be launched like a rocket or explode like a bomb, inflicting significant property damage, personal harm, or even death.
- In summary, the expansion tank should be examined for correct placement and support, corrosion, and leaking before being used.
- Despite the fact that they are not required in many jurisdictions, they are extremely important to the successful and safe running of residential drinking water systems.
What Does an Expansion Tank Do On a Water Heater and How to Fix
In my water heater, I was told that I required a ″expansion tank″ to be installed.Why?When I first turned on my faucet, my water pressure fluctuated in an unusual way.
- What is the point of this?
- If any of these questions apply to you, continue reading!
- Here’s all you need to know about inflated cans, which are commonly disregarded by the general population.
- You may also be interested in: How to Determine If Your Hot Water Heater Is Leaking From The Overflow Pipe
What is a thermal expansion tank like?
A typical domestic expansion tank resembles a tiny propane tank in appearance. It is equipped with a Schrader air valve, which is similar to the one used on the majority of tires. A threaded pipe connection is located at the bottom of the structure. They are typically the same size as a basketball, with the size varying more or less depending on the size of the water heater they service.
How does the expansion tank of the water heater work?
When a pot of water is brought to a boil on the stove, the kettle will ultimately begin to whistle as the pressure built up inside the vessel causes the steam to escape.Despite the fact that the water in the water heater does not reach the boiling point and does not convert into steam, it expands as it is heated.Thermal expansion is the term used to describe this phenomenon.
- This increased pressure will merely be absorbed by the municipal water distribution system, and will eventually become inconsequential.
- If a check valve or pressure regulator (PRV) is put on the pipe leading into your home, however, there will be no problem since all excess pressure will be held in your home pipe system, which will push on your pipes, lamps, and other household equipment.
- It is at this point that the expansion tank is utilized.
- When properly fitted, it effectively absorbs the extra pressure.
- Approximately half of the tank is filled with water from your home’s main water supply.
- The other half is completely filled with compressed air.
- In the centre of the bladder is a butyl rubber bladder.
- With increasing temperature and swelling, the water from the water heater pushes into the bladder, further squeezing the air from the opposite side.
When do you need it?
In the event that you have a ″closed-loop system,″ which means that you have any form of check valve or pressure regulator put in your home’s water supply line, it is always strongly advised that you employ expansion tanks.A frequent comparison contrasts hypertension at home with hypertension in a hospital or clinic setting.The majority of the time, it does not have an instant detrimental impact.
- However, over time, the wear and tear caused by this extra pressure can diminish the life expectancy of everything in the plumbing system.
- If you have a water pressure of more than 80 AD provided to your house by an urban water supply, the expansion tank will not fix the situation.
- Pressure relief valves are responsible for this function (PRV).
- The thermal expansion tank is activated when the pressure supplied to your house is at an appropriate level between 40 and 80 PS and has a pressure relief valve (PRV) or check valve installed.
- In closed-loop systems, this prevents the occurrence of persistent high pressure variations produced by thermal expansion.
- The city may need an expansion tank when building a new water heater, regardless of whether or not there is sufficient water pressure at the location where the tank is being installed.
- A PRV and an expansion tank, for example, are required in all new residences in Frisco, Texas at the present time.
- Consult with your city’s plumbing inspector to ensure that the piping code in effect in your region is followed.
If there are several water heaters, do I need more than one?
You’ll need a thermal expansion solution that’s appropriate for your particular plumbing system.For example, a 2-gallon expansion tank can provide enough water to supply a 50-gallon water heater.In the case of many heaters operating in the same system or networked together, you may either equip each heater with an expansion tank or utilize a single bigger expansion tank to accommodate the additional capacity.
What is the life expectancy of expansion tanks?
When it comes to the lifespan of expansion tanks, the results are quite unexpected.Many factors, such as the quality of the tank, the quality of the water, and the correct inflation and maintenance of the tank, among others, influence the length of time the tank may be used.We saw numerous tanks that collapsed in as little as two years and eight months, inflicting significant harm to the water supply, and others that broke after eight years.
- It is recommended that you replace them within a year of the expiration date of the manufacturer’s warranty as a preventative measure.
- As a result, tanks erected in this region often have a guarantee of one to five years, which means that they should be replaced every two to six years.
Can my expansion tank leak?
Yes, the expansion tank, like the rest of your home’s plumbing system, is susceptible to failure when it is in use.It is common for them to fail in two ways.First, the rubber bladder within them becomes worn out, and the tank comes to a complete stop as a means of releasing the heat generated by thermal expansion.
- Twond, corrosion will occur at the connecting point between the pipe and the tank, resulting in the formation of leaks.
- If you want to make certain that the expansion tank does not cause harm, one thing you can do is get it installed correctly by a certified and skilled plumber.
- A reputable plumber will install the water tank, ensuring that it is adequately supported and that it is connected to the rest of the system.
- It will also install it (if at all feasible) in the pot of the water heater or someplace else, reducing the possibility of harm in the event of a leak.
- The purchase of high-quality cans with a five-year manufacturer’s guarantee is another way to extend the service life of thermal expansion solutions.
- A good tank with a stainless steel thread connection that is constructed of high-quality materials such as thick butyl rubber, polypropylene, heavy carbon steel, and other similar components.
- The majority of manufacturers recommend inspecting new expansion tanks once a year, with frequency increasing as the tanks age.
How can I test if my thermal expansion tank is working?
In order to assess whether or not your expansion tank is still operational, you can try any of the following methods: The most straightforward task is to regulate the water pressure.Under some situations, you will be able to perceive oscillations in water pressure if your closed-loop system does not have operating expansion tanks.When a large amount of heavy water is consumed for an extended period of time and there is no more water available, the system creates pressure.
- Turn on the water faucet and keep an eye on everything.
- There will be a significant increase in pressure for a period of time, followed by a decrease in pressure.
- If there is an excess of pressure released, the flow will be smooth and consistent.
- Due to the fact that there are other elements that impact the flow and pressure, this is not the final test of the expansion tank.
- When you strike the expansion tank with a metal item, you will be able to see whether or not it is functioning properly.
- Despite the fact that it is not a comprehensive test, this is a fairly basic method of checking.
- In order for an expansion tank to operate, the lower half of the tank must be filled with water from your house plumbing system.
- The top of the container is filled with compressed air.
When you alternately tap the top and bottom of the tank with metal items, the sound that is produced should be noticeably different from one another.Where there is air, there should be more empty rings than there should be a jingling sound.If the sound does not change, it is possible that the expansion tank has been damaged.Another more reliable method is to feed a little amount of air via the Schrader valve located on the top of the tank to check if the expansion tank is broken.If air escapes from the rubber bladder, the bladder will stay intact.
- If the water starts to pour out, it’s a busted pipe.
Procedure to be Followed
Finally, if you have completed the above-mentioned test and determined that your expansion tank passes, there is a straightforward method for determining whether or not your expansion tank is in excellent condition and making the necessary changes.It will necessitate the use of a hydraulic meter and an air pump, similar to those used for vehicle tires.Open the outside tap with the hose connection and allow it to flow for approximately 15 seconds before closing it.
- This will alleviate any possible overpressure caused by thermal expansion, leaving just the pressure set by the PRV as the only pressure in the system.
The water pressure in the current system may be determined by hanging the meter on the faucet.
- Close the water to your home with the main shut-off valve.
- Turn on the tap, drain all the pressure from the system.
Make your way to the expansion tank and connect the pump outlet to the Schrader valve on the expansion tank.
The pump gauge will inform you of the amount of air pressure present in the tank. The majority of tank manufacturers recommend that the preload pressure of their tanks be set at the same pressure as the prior water pressure readings taken in step 2 of the process.
The pump can be used to modify the tank preload to the proper P.S.I. if it is not in sync with the input pressure at the time of filling.
As soon as you have disconnected the pump, you may reconnect it and thoroughly check for leaks throughout the home again.
If there are any leaks in the house, you should immediately reconnect the pump and restore the water supply.
Water Heater Expansion Tank
Water expands when it is heated and, if it doesn’t have any place to go, this can create a dangerous situation.
Consider the interior of your home’s water heater with an excessive amount of pressure in it.Previously, any pressured water that accumulated would just drain back into the city’s water distribution system.However, this is not always feasible.
- It’s likely that something is in place to prevent this discharge, but you’ll still need additional protection, which gets us to the water heater expansion tank.
- It is an additional tiny thank you that is added to your water heater unit and serves the purpose of storing water.
- It is intended to deal with the extra water that accumulates over time.
- If your home’s water pressure becomes excessive, the water will flow into your expansion tank rather than harming your home’s plumbing valves, fixtures, and joints or triggering a burst line that would cause irreparable damage and cost.
- When your water expands due to thermal expansion, a water heater expansion tank minimizes unwelcome increases in pressure.
- When water is heated from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it expands by approximately 2 percent.
- Install the expansion tank further down the line from the intake valve that supplies hot water to the rest of your house.
- The tank is divided into two portions by a rubber valve.
The tank is made of two sections.Water runs through the top section, and pressured air is contained inside the bottom portion.Due to the presence of this air pressure, the tank is able to absorb the excess pressure generated by your water heater, keeping it away from the rest of your home’s systems.
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Common questions about water heater expansion tanks include:
What is a check valve?
An example of a check valve is a device that prevents the backflow of thermally expanded water in the incorrect direction. If you don’t have an expansion tank, the extra pressure might put undue strain on your plumbing fixtures, including your water heater, shortening their lifespan.
Does the expansion tank have to be installed on the cold side?
We highly urge that expansion tanks be put on the cold line, downstream of the shutdown valve, even if they can be installed on the hot side.
Where should an expansion tank be installed in relation to the hot water heater?
The location of your expansion tank on your plumbing system is entirely up to you; it is not required to be built in close proximity to your water heater. The most frequent method of installation is to use a ″T″ at the cold water heater’s intake valve. However, it may be put anywhere along the cold inlet line in terms of functionality.
Can the expansion tank be installed at any angle? Pt. 1
It is possible to place the expansion tank at any angle.This will be in contradiction with the information provided with any expansion tank purchased from a retail retailer.According to the installation instructions that come with retail expansion tanks, the tank must be put in a hanging vertical position to function properly.
- ″Saddle Fitting″ is included with your retail expansion tank purchase when you purchase it from a retailer.
- This eliminates the need for soldering and makes the process of installing an expansion tank simpler for the general public.
- The saddle fitting is a basic clamp that attaches to the pipe.
- It also has threading that allows you to attach the tank to the saddle fitting.
Can the expansion tank be installed at any angle? Pt. 2
To begin, you must first create a tiny hole in the current pipe.As a last step, the clamp should be tightened so that the hole lines up perfectly with the outlet for the expansion tank.Despite the fact that this is a possibility, we do not advocate these fits for a variety of reasons.
- Their reliability is questionable since they only allow the tank to be positioned in one position (vertical).
- As an alternative, we propose that you solder the appropriate fittings into the system or that you use galvanized fittings.
How to know if you need a water heater expansion tank replacement
The lifespan of a typical water heater is estimated to be 10-15 years; however, your expansion tank may fail before this time.First and foremost, effective installation of your expansion tank will guarantee that the air pressure in the tank is equal to the water pressure in your house, hence extending the life of the tank.By examining your expansion tank on a regular basis, you may avoid a potentially costly mishap.
- If you notice dripping water under the tank or near the fittings, it is possible that the valve has become clogged.
- This can occur as a result of foreign matter, such as mineral deposits.
- A pressure gauge, for example, should be installed to monitor the pressure in the tank.
- This will tell you if the tank is operating well or whether the diaphragm has been broken, which is important information.
- It is possible to replace a water heater expansion tank without having to replace the complete system in most cases.
Who needs a water heater expansion tank?
It is possible that thermal expansion will cause considerable pressure rises in your household plumbing system if you have a ″closed system,″ which means that your home is protected by a backflow preventer or other device that prevents your water from flowing back into the main water supply.In these conditions, not only should you have a thermal expansion tank, but some towns may also compel you to have one.Furthermore, if you have a closed system and do not install this protection, your water heater’s manufacturer may invalidate your guarantee.
- If you have a tankless water heater, you won’t require an expansion tank because there is no tank and hence no buildup of pressure.
- Similarly, if your property is served by an open water supply system, where excess water is recycled back into the municipal water supply, your home’s plumbing system will not be subjected to any additional pressure.
What Is the Purpose of An Expansion Tank on A Water Heater?
Are you curious about what a water heater expansion tank is and why it is such a crucial part of any tank-based water heater?Read on to find out.Throughout this article from G&C Plumbing, we’ll go over the fundamentals of this water heater component, and we’ll help you grasp how it works – as well as why it’s so critical.
- Let’s get this party started.
- When water is heated in a water heater, it expands in volume.
- When water is heated, it expands in the same way that the great majority of other substances do.
- This is due to the fact that when heat is given to water, the molecules become less dense, resulting in a greater amount of water in its own right (see Figure 1).
- Uncontrolled rises in pressure have caused the tank to break, which is why you may have heard of water heaters exploding before.
- With increasing temperature, water may expand substantially, and if the water is hot enough to convert into steam, this might result in increased pressure on the water heater.
- It is possible for an explosion to occur if the relief valve is not working properly.
- It used to be that overheating hot water heaters would simply discharge their expanding contents back into the main water supply where they originated, so alleviating excess pressure.
Today, however, a ″check valve″ prevents this from happening.This valve stops water from backflowing into the system, which is required since wastewater returned to the water system by a residence has the potential to pollute the fresh water system.Excess pressure is produced by an expansion tank.A Safe Place to Be – Keeping Your Water Heater in Good Working Order So, if the check valve in your plumbing system keeps water from flowing back into the water supply, how does your water heater alleviate excess pressure when it is operating?In the case of a modern water heater, an expansion tank will enough to solve your problem.
- An indirect hot water heater is a supplemental tank that connects directly to your hot water heater.
- Heat is generated as the water expands, and if the pressure ever rises over a certain level, part of the increasing water can be emptied straight into the expansion tank.
- An internal mechanism, as well as pressured air, is included within the expansion tank, and these components must be adjusted in order to function harmoniously with the same incoming pressure as your direct water main line.
- In the event that I do not have a water heater expansion tank, what should I do?
- You may have extremely high pressure in your hot water heater if you do not have an expansion tank installed.
- If you discover that plumbing components such as washers are wearing out rapidly, or if you observe a significant amount of water flowing from the relief valve on your water heater, you may want to consider installing an expansion tank in your home.
- This is a quick and simple task that can help you extend the life of your water heater while also keeping your family safe at the same time.
- Do you require a new water heater or an expansion tank for your existing water heater?
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- G&C Plumbing is a full-service plumbing company that can assist you with plumbing jobs of any size or scope.
- We may be reached online or by phone at 508-541-8783 if you have any questions regarding expansion tanks or if you are in the market for a new water heater.
- What Our staff of skilled plumbing contractors is available at all times to assist you.
Do You Need a Water Heater Expansion Tank?
Because of the usual thermal expansion that occurs when water is heated, a basic tank water heater can cause stress on your plumbing pipes and fixtures when used in a closed system.Basically, any closed system where water is heated can have an issue with this.Both water heaters and boilers for home heating systems might be susceptible to this type of damage if no precautions are taken to avoid it from occurring.
- When used in conjunction with a plumbing system, a water heater expansion tank can help to reduce the likelihood of pressure damage to the plumbing system.
- For current on-demand, tankless water heaters, this is often not an issue.
- Only older models with storage tanks are susceptible to this problem.
What Is a Water Heater Expansion Tank?
An expansion tank for a water heater serves as a safety precaution (sometimes called a thermal expansion tank).As the name implies, it is an overflow receptacle that helps to relieve pressure created by the typical thermal expansion that occurs when water is heated.It functions as an overflow receptacle by absorbing surplus water volume that happens during the heating process, as well as changes in the incoming water supply pressure, which are all absorbed by the expansion tank.
- The thermal expansion of water causes it to expand when heated, resulting in the creation of more water volume every time the water heater heats the water.
- When heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the cold water in a normal 50-gallon water heater is predicted to expand to 52 gallons, according to industry standards.
- This increased water volume can result in a rise in pressure in the plumbing system, which, if the pressure is high enough, can cause damage to the water heater, plumbing fixtures, and the water pipes themselves over time, depending on the situation.
Closed Water Supply Systems
An open system where expanding water has the ability to push back into the city’s water supply is not likely to encounter any issues.The majority of residences, on the other hand, have a closed water supply system that is fitted with a one-way valve such as a backflow preventer, a check valve, or a pressure-reducer (PRV).Due to the fact that the increased water pressure caused by thermal expansion cannot be sent back into the city water supply, it is most likely to cause damage in a closed system.
- Even if you are using a city water supply (whether or not there is a check valve or a pressure relief valve installed), the additional pressure created by the heating of the household hot water might cause the relief valve to disperse water in many circumstances.
- It is possible that thermal expansion tanks or cushion tanks will be required on the incoming cold water supply line.
- The installation of expansion tanks in residential closed plumbing systems is required in most municipalities.
- You may be needed to install a water heater expansion tank if you have a backflow preventer installed on your main water line, depending on your state of residence.
- If you do not have a backflow preventer installed, you may be forced to install one.
- For more information, see the local building code or contact the building and safety department.
How a Water Heater Expansion Tank Is Installed
In the event that you do not have a one-way valve put on the main water line and, as a result, do not have a closed water system, a water heater expansion tank may still be beneficial to you in some circumstances.It is customary to put expansion tanks above the water heater, on the cold water line before it enters the water heater; however, they can be positioned virtually anywhere on the cold water line prior to entrance into the water heater.The presence of an expansion tank helps to avoid leaky faucets and running toilets by preventing the additional pressure that has built up in the system from reaching the fixtures and causing them to fail prematurely.
- Prices for water heater expansion tanks begin at approximately $40 and can reach around $200; the price is mostly determined by the size of the tank.
- A basic 2-gallon tank will suffice for the majority of household setups that use 40- or 50-gallon water heaters.
- The tank is quite simple to install because it uses a standard 3/4-inch threaded connection.
- If there isn’t currently a tee fitting placed above the water heater, one will need to be installed as soon as possible.
- If you’re hiring a plumber to install a water heater, it’s a good idea to ask for a quote for the installation of an expansion tank at the same time as well.
- If it is done at the same time as your other bills, it may not cost much more than you are already paying.
- In the event that you are building a water heater yourself, consider adding an expansion tank even if it is not necessary, since the advantages greatly exceed the time and money involved in the process.
What Is the Purpose of a Water Heater Expansion Tank?
Because water expands when heated, it is necessary to release the excess pressure that has built up inside the water heater tank.In the past, the expanding water in the tank would simply drain back out into the municipal water supply where it came from.Today, a check valve is installed in the water main to prevent the release of pressure in the opposite direction of the flow, which is known as backflow.
- When the check valve is closed, waste water from inside the house is prevented from returning to the water supply, where it could contaminate the supply of fresh water in the house.
- A water heater expansion tank is another small tank that is attached to the water supply pipe of the water heater.
- The expansion tank is designed to handle the thermal expansion of water as it heats up in the water heater, preventing excessive water pressure.
- If water pressure gets to high it can damage valves in plumbing fixtures, joints in supply pipes and the water heater itself.
- Expanding water from the water heater flows into the expansion tank, relieving water pressure in the system.
- What if my water heater doesn’t have an expansion tank?
- Most homes that have a check valve on the water main do not have an expansion tank, since it wasn’t required until recently.
- This may or may not cause excessive pressure buildup, depending on the specific design of the plumbing in the house.
If you are noticing that washers in plumbing fixtures are deteriorating rapidly, or water is dripping from the relief valve on the water heater, it may be wise to add an expansion tank.It can be low-cost insurance against more costly damage to your home’s plumbing system.
Do I Need A Water Heater Expansion Tank in Texas?
I’m curious about the strange-looking tank above my water heater.″My next-door neighbor in North Dallas informed me that I required a ‘extension tank’ for my water heater!Why?” If I turn on my faucet for the first time, I notice a strange variation in my water pressure.
- ″What exactly is going on?″ If any of these questions apply to you, continue reading!
- Here’s all you need to know about the expansion tank, which is often ignored.
- Please keep in mind that this post is just for informative reasons.
- Plumbing work should only be performed by a licensed and insured expert.
- Legacy Plumbing is not liable for any harm or injury that may occur as a consequence of the use or misuse of the information provided.
- You acknowledge that you are entirely responsible for your access to, use of, and reliance on any information given on this website.
What does a thermal expansion tank look like?
The most popular domestic expansion tank resembles a small propane tank in size and appearance.The most often encountered hues are off-white or blue.On the top, it contains a Schrader valve, which is similar to the air valve found on the majority of tires.
- A threaded pipe connector is located at the bottom of the container.
- It is common for them to be roughly the size of a basketball – or somewhat larger or smaller, depending on the size of the water heaters they service.
How does a water heater expansion tank work?
While heating a kettle of water on the stove, the kettle will ultimately begin to whistle as the pressure that is building inside it causes steam to be released into the air.Regardless of whether or not the water in your water heater reaches the boiling point and condenses to form steam, it does expand when heated.Thermal expansion is the term used to describe this phenomenon.
- This additional pressure will simply be absorbed by the municipality’s water distribution system and will eventually become insignificant.
- It’s not an issue.
- If, on the other hand, a check valve or a pressure regulating valve (PRV) is installed on the water supply line entering your home, it prevents all of that extra pressure from being retained in your home’s plumbing system, putting unnecessary strain on your supply lines, fixtures, and appliances.
- In this case, a large expansion tank is required.
- It absorbs the extra pressure if it is put correctly.
- One-half of the tank is filled with water drawn from your home’s main water supply system.
- The remaining half of the container is filled with compressed air.
- In the centre of the bladder is a butyl rubber bladder.
With increasing heat and expansion of the water in your water heater, it presses on the bladder, further compressing the air on the opposite side.
When is it required in Texas?
Having an expansion tank built on your home’s water supply line is usually suggested if you have a ‘closed-loop system,’ which can be created by any type of check valve or pressure regulating valve that has been installed on your water supply line.High water pressure in your house is sometimes compared to having high blood pressure, as seen in the following graphic.In most cases, it has no immediate detrimental implications on the person’s life.
- The long-term wear and tear caused by this excessive pressure, on the other hand, might shorten the life expectancy of everything in your plumbing system.
- The toilet fill valves, the supply lines, and the solenoid valves found in washing machines, dishwashers, and ice makers are often the weakest sections of the system, according to the manufacturer.
- When subjected to high water pressure, these components are significantly more prone to break prematurely.
- The installation of an expansion tank alone will not correct excessive pressure over 80 PSI delivered to your property by the city water supply.
- The pressure lowering valve is responsible for this (PRV).
- When the pressure in your house is between 40 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi) and you have a pressure relief valve (PRV) or a check valve, the thermal expansion tank comes into play.
- The persistent fluctuation of high pressure generated by thermal expansion in a closed-loop system is protected against by this device.
- The installation of an expansion tank may be necessary by the city, depending on where you reside in North Dallas, regardless of whether or not you have good water pressure, in order to pass plumbing inspections, such as those required when installing a new water heater.
For example, in the city of Frisco, Texas, a PRV and expansion tank are presently required on all new construction residences.Additionally, as of the time of this writing, an expansion tank is needed on all new and replacement water heaters in Little Elm, TX, regardless of size.This is due to the fact that the water meters are equipped with check valves, which allow for the creation of a closed-loop system.Consult with your city’s plumbing inspector to ensure that you are following all of the necessary plumbing codes in your community.
Do I need more than one if I have multiple water heaters?
You require a thermal expansion solution that is appropriately scaled for the plumbing system in which it will be installed.It is possible to service a 50-gallon water heater with only one 2-gallon expansion tank, for example.If you have more than one heater on the same or related system, you may either use an expansion tank for each heater or use a single, bigger expansion tank to accommodate the additional heaters.
- To be sure you have proper information for your circumstance, double-check local plumbing code modifications as well as the manufacturer’s specs for the expansion tank you’re considering purchasing.
What is the life expectancy of an expansion tank?
When it comes to the lifespan of an expansion tank, the results are highly unexpected.There are several elements that might influence how long a tank will endure, including the quality of the tank placed, the quality of the water, and the correct inflation of the tank, to mention a few.We have seen some tanks fail in as short as two years, causing significant water damage, while others have survived for eight years or longer without a problem.
- If you want to be extra cautious, we recommend that you replace them no more than a year after the manufacturer’s guarantee has expired.
- Tanks erected in this region are often covered by a one- or five-year guarantee, which means that they should be replaced every two to six years.
Can my expansion tank leak?
Yes, the expansion tank, like every other component of your home’s plumbing system, is susceptible to breakdown over time.The majority of the time, they fail in two ways.After a period of time, the rubber bladder within them wears out, and the tank ceases to operate as a means of reducing thermal expansion as a result.
- Secondly, corrosion and leakage might occur at the point of connection between the water pipe and the tank’s pressure relief valve.
- If you want to be sure that the expansion tank does not cause harm, one thing you can do is have it professionally installed by a competent and certified plumber.
- When the tank is installed, a qualified plumber will ensure that it is adequately supported and that the connection is secure.
- He will also position it (where feasible) above the water heater pan or somewhere else where the danger of harm is minimized in the event of a leakage.
- Another thing you can do to increase the lifetime of your thermal expansion solution is to invest in a high-quality tank that comes with a five-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
- In addition to having a stainless steel threaded connection, high-quality tanks are constructed of high-quality materials such as thick butyl rubber, polypropylene, heavy gauge carbon steel, and so on.
- Most manufacturers recommend inspecting expansion tanks once a year when they are first installed and more often as the tank ages.
How can I test if my thermal expansion tank is working?
NOTE: Before you begin testing, double-check that the shut-off valve before to the expansion tank is operational.If a catastrophic failure occurs while you are testing, it has the potential to do significant harm.Any testing should be carried out by a licensed specialist, according to us.
- If you see any evidence of corrosion on the expansion tank connection (as shown in the photographs), immediately stop off the water supply and contact a competent contractor.
- Legacy Plumbing disclaims any and all liability for any damages resulting from faulty testing or failure of fittings while testing is being conducted.
- There are a few things you may perform to determine whether or not your expansion tank is still functional.
Monitor Pressure: Easy
The most straightforward method is to visually monitor your water pressure.If you have a closed loop system and do not have a functioning expansion tank, you may notice that the water pressure fluctuates under specific situations.When there is a prolonged period of high hot water use followed by an extended period of minimal water consumption, pressure will build up in the system.
- Turn on the hot water faucet and keep an eye on it.
- It will begin to emerge with a noticeable increase in pressure and then begin to decrease in pressure.
- As soon as the extra pressure is released, the flow will level out and remain constant.
- Just keep in mind that this is not a final test of your expansion tank due to the fact that there are other elements that impact flow and pressure.
External Tapping: Easy
The second method of determining whether or not your expansion tank is operational is to tap it with a metallic item.Despite the fact that it is not a foolproof test, it is a fairly simple technique to double-check.The bottom half of an expansion tank that is correctly operating is completely filled with water from your home’s plumbing system.
- The top of the container is filled with compressed air.
- If you tap on the top and bottom of the tank with a metallic item alternatively, you should notice a noticeable variation in the noises that are created.
- Instead of a clank where there is air, it should be more of a hollow ring where there is air.
- If there is no discernible difference in sound, you may have a faulty expansion tank on your hands.
Check the Valve: Easy
Another, far more reliable method of determining whether or not your expansion tank has been compromised is to bleed a small amount of air out of the Schrader valve located on the top. If air escapes from the rubber bladder, it means that it is still in good condition. If water pours out, it means that the seal has been breached.
Pressure Check: Advanced
Finally, when you have completed the preceding tests and determined that your expansion tank has passed, there is a definite way to establish whether or not your expansion tank is in excellent working order and has been appropriately adjusted. It will necessitate the usage of a water pressure monitor as well as an air pump similar to that which would be used to inflate a vehicle tire.
- Turn on an outside water faucet with a hose connection and allow it to flow for approximately 15 seconds before turning it off. This will alleviate any potential extra pressure caused by thermal expansion and leaving you with only the pressure that your PRV is set at, as a result.
- In order to ascertain the water pressure that is currently present on your system, connect your water pressure gauge to the faucet in question.
- Close the main shut-off valve to your home and turn off the water supply.
- Activate a faucet and allow all of the pressure to drain out of your system
- Head over to the water heater’s expansion tank and connect the pump’s outlet to the Schrader valve
- It will be shown by the indicator on your pump how much air pressure is present in the tank. Most manufacturers specify that the pre-charge of their tanks should be set to the same pressure as the previous water pressure reading you took in step 2
- however, other manufacturers specify a different pressure.
- If the pre-charge of your tank does not correspond to the incoming water pressure, you can modify it with your pump to the correct P.S.I. level.
- It is possible to re-establish the water supply to your home after unplugging your pump and double-checking for leaks
After completing this operation, you can rest comfortable that your expansion tank is now operating as it was intended to do so.When installing an expansion tank, it is typical for plumbers (particularly construction plumbers) to neglect to pre-charge the tank to the necessary pressure before starting the job.If the tank has not already been damaged as a result of the installation issue, this process can fix it.
Do You Still Have Questions?
Here at Legacy Plumbing, each and every one of our service professionals has received extensive training in the diagnosis and proper installation of expansion tanks. Any issues or concerns concerning your expansion tank and its installation may be addressed by contacting us, and we’ll do everything possible to assist you.
Has Your Expansion Tank Failed?
Here in the Martensville region, we have a lot of failed expansion tanks, which we see at AquaTemp.Do you have a sneaking suspicion that yours failed, but you’re not sure?Continue reading, and we’ll give you some pointers on how to find it out.
- It is necessary to install thermal expansion tanks in order to prevent your water pipe and water heater from becoming over-pressurized, which might result in catastrophic failure.
- Check valves are often installed where water enters a structure, which provides no room for the water to expand and escape when the temperature is raised over a certain point.
- The installation of a thermal expansion tank offers a safe environment for the expansion of the excess pressure.
Where Can I Find My Expansion Tank?
Thermal expansion tanks are most typically seen in Saskatchewan near the water meter or the water heater, where they serve a dual purpose. They are available in a range of hues, the most common of which being brown, blue, and green. It is recommended that you call our pros to have an expansion tank built if you are unable to discover one on your water system.
How Does an Expansion Tank Work?
Tanks for thermal expansion are separated into two sections for ease of use.For starters, there is an air compartment with a pressure adjusted to provide enough space for the water to expand into, but not enough to completely fill the tank.In addition, the second compartment is directly connected to your home’s domestic water supply.
- Occasionally, the diaphragm that separates the two systems will fail, leading the two systems to merge into a single entity.
- When this occurs, the expansion tank becomes a ″dead leg,″ which will eventually cause damage to your water heater and lead it to fail prematurely.
How Can I Check to See If My Expansion Tank Is in Good Working Condition?
There are two basic tests you may run to determine whether or not your thermal expansion tank is performing as intended: 1.Make a loud knock on the tank.If it makes a hollow sound, it means that your tank is still in good working order.
- If it creates a thud sound, it means that your tank has been damaged.
- Make sure your water heater’s relief valve is working properly.
- With a tube running from the water heater to the floor, it is situated on the side of the unit.
- A leaky relief valve may signal that your expansion tank has failed, according to the manufacturer.
Call Us for Help
If one of the tests we listed above reveals that your expansion tank has failed, you should contact our AquaTemp technicians at 306-370-8678 as soon as possible to get your water system restored to a safe operating state as soon as feasible.
How To Know If Your Expansion Tank Should Be Replaced
This entry was posted by Your home’s plumbing system is not complete without an expansion tank.Many homeowners, on the other hand, are unsure of when they should repair their expansion tanks.An expansion tank is useful for a variety of reasons.
- Maintaining your home’s plumbing system over time ensures that it operates smoothly while also preventing unwelcome and expensive problems down the road.
- Understanding the Function of Expansion Tanks In order to avoid problems caused by excessive pressure from your home’s hot water supply, an expansion tank is installed.
- You would be at danger of having your water pipes, fittings, and water heater damaged if you did not have it.
- In your house, expansion tanks are located downstream of the inlet valve that provides water to the water heater and other fixtures.
- The tank is divided into two portions, which are separated by a rubber valve.
- Water can pass through the top part, while compressed air is contained within the bottom half of the tube.
- Because of the air pressure in your home, it is possible for the expansion tank to absorb excess pressure, which is then deflected away from your water pipes and water heater.
- When you have an expansion tank installed, you are protecting yourself and your home against the possibility of serious damage to your plumbing system.
However, expansion tanks do wear out over time.The typical lifespan of a tank is between five and ten years, depending on the model.It is possible to increase the life of your expansion tank by ensuring that the water pressure in your house is consistent with the air pressure in your expansion tank.However, in some instances, it will be necessary to replace it.Consider the following while evaluating your expansion tank: Knowing what to look for in order to identify whether or not you need to repair your expansion tank is the first step in preserving your property.
- Dripping water is one of the signs that a valve is clogged or obstructed.
- Depending on the circumstances, mineral deposits or other debris may cause this.
- Some earlier expansion tanks do not have the internal bladders that are seen in more recent ones.
- This component is responsible for distinguishing between water and air pressure.
- As a result, air can escape from the tank and enter the water in your system, increasing the likelihood of injury.
- When air is introduced into the water heating system, it is possible that heat is lost.
- Pre-charge pressure is the amount of air pressure that exists below the diaphragm of the expansion tank.
- In order for the water pressure in your home’s system to stay constant, this pressure must also be constant.
- As long as the pre-charge pressure is less than the water pressure in your home, a larger amount of water will make its way into the expansion tank, which will eventually cause damage to the diaphragm over time.
- Making a Check on Your Water Pressure You may check the pressure of your water by adding a water pressure gauge to the drain valve of your water heater and checking the reading on the gauge.
- Once you have completely opened the valve, you may take a pressure reading and make a note of it.
- You may also check the pre-charge pressure of your expansion tank by pounding on the edge of the tank with your knuckles to see if it is filled with air or water.
- It is possible to have an excessively low pre-charge pressure while the tank is completely full with water.
- Low pressure might result in an excessive amount of water entering the tank.
Furthermore, it might signal that the diaphragm is no longer functioning, implying that there is nothing to prevent water from entering.You may also apply pressure to the valve pin by removing the cover on the underside of the tank and removing the cover.It is important to note that any water that comes out indicates that the diaphragm has been compromised.
Understanding how an expansion tank works, as well as the indicators that may suggest that it needs to be replaced, will help you avoid having to make costly repairs in the future.A properly functioning and high-quality expansion tank will ensure that your home’s pipes, fixtures, and water heating system are in good working order all year long.