Why Did My Hot Water Heater BURST? Or Why Is It LEAKING?

Have ever been in a position where you are sitting in your living room reading a book, watching TV or listening to music and all of a sudden you notice water dripping from your ceiling for no apparent reason? Fear not . . .it’s not a storm, it’s either a leaking water heater or quite possibly it burst! 

According to Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) this problem is listed as one of the top 5 reasons for this type of residential water damage. After the insurance deductible has been paid, the average cost to fix this type of damage is over $4000.00.

All of this can be avoided by checking your water heater regularly for preventable issues and keeping up on your routine plumbing maintenance

Reasons You Water Heater Might Leak… or BURST!

Rusty Water Heater Tank

Steel water tanks over time will rust after the internal rust protection element called a “sacrificial” anode rod, deteriorates. A good indication you have a problem with your water heater is if when you run the hot water from the faucet and the water comes out with a brown or rust-like color to it.

How to prevent this issue: Once the warranty has expires, inspect the anode rod at least once a year. Every 4-5 years you will probably need to change the anode rod, and possibly sooner if you use a water softener.

Sediment Buildup In Water Heater

Minerals from hard water called sediment will settle to the bottom of your water heater’s tank. This layer of sediment creates an insulated layer, which blocks the water from the burner and causes the water heater to run longer to heat the water causing it to overheat and break down and deteriorate the tank.

If you can hear popping or crackling noises, it’s a good indication that water is trapped under the sediment and is bubbling up and trying to escape.

How to prevent this issue: Once a year flush and drain the tank to remove the sediment to ensure your water heater is working properly.

Under Internal Pressure

Picture yourself blowing air into a balloon . . . What happens f you blow too much air? POP! Too much pressure pops the balloon. The same thing will happen in your water heater when too much pressure builds up in the tank. Eventually the tank will leak, burst and or even quite possibly explode to allow the pressure to escape.

 Luckily, your water heater uses a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve, which releases some of the water to reduce the pressure. But, even with the T&P the extra valve it can break down the tank. If the valve leaks or keeps opening to release water, pressure will build up in the tank and eventually lead to the inevitable.

How to prevent this issue: When the temperature of the water heater is set to high (140-145) pressure builds in the tank. Keep your water heater temperature at approximately 120-125 degrees. This will reduce your chances of scalding yourself and creating too much pressure. You should also test the T&P valve twice a year to ensure that it is properly relieving the tank pressure.

 The best way to ensure your water heater is maintenanced properly – Even though these tasks are not difficult to do on your own, they are easy to forget amongst our busy lives. So call CENTRAL and schedule an appointment today! If you did have a water heater burst, make sure that you contact your local emergency plumber to repair the issue quickly.

 Whether you are in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls or anywhere else in the Flathead Valley. . .As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, call 406-756-6656, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.

Another way to prevent water tanks from leaking or bursting can be switching to a tankless water heater. Learn more about the benefits of tankless water heaters.

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