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water heater expansion tank

Understanding water heater expansion tank

If you have a water heating system, then it is essential to understand what a water heater expansion tank is and its importance.

This article will help you to learn about the water heater expansion tank and why you need it in your system.

What is a water heater expansion tank?

A water heater expansion tank is an additional tank that is installed in the water heating system parallel to the water heater.

As water is heated, it expands and creates pressure in the system.

The expansion tank has air in it that compresses as water enters, offsetting the pressure created by the expanding water.

How Does a water heater expansion tank Work?

When you use a typical water heater, the incoming cold water fills the tank.

The heating element or gas jets heat the water to the desired temperature.

As the water is heated, it expands, and its volume increases.

Before the installation of an expansion tank, the pressure caused by expanding water forced the excess water back into the main water supply.

This process increases the pressure of the entire water system and put extra stress on the water heater.

The expansion tank helps to absorb the extra pressure created by the expanding water and maintains the pressure in the system at a safe level.

Do All Water Heaters Need an Expansion Tank?

No, not all water heaters require an expansion tank, but some systems do.

To determine whether you need an expansion tank or not, you need to check whether you have a closed plumbing system or an open one.

Closed plumbing systems are those in which water cannot flow back into the main water supply, and excess pressure builds up in the system.

If you have a closed plumbing system and your water heater is an electric tank, then you need an expansion tank to maintain the pressure in the system at a safe level.

Check electric water heater services at Al Rooter Plumbing Company

Why Do You Need a water heater expansion tank?

A water heater expansion tank, also known as a thermal expansion tank, is a small tank attached to the water supply pipe of the water heater.

 It is a safety device that helps prevent damage to the water heater and the water system.

When water heats up, it expands, and without an expansion tank, the excess water volume can cause high pressure in the system.

This can lead to noise, leaks, or even burst pipes.

An expansion tank is designed to handle the expanding water, allowing it to flow back into the main water supply and preventing damage to the water heater.

Whether you have a tankless water heater or a 40- or 50-gallon water heater, installing a water heater expansion tank is necessary in many cases.

It helps regulate the pressure in the tank and extends the lifespan of a water heater.

 Additionally, expansion tanks are also important in closed water supply systems where fluctuations in water pressure can occur.

By installing an expansion tank, you can ensure:

  • a secure connection to water heaters
  • prevent hot water from backflowing into the cold water line
  • avoid hot water from escaping through the pressure relief valve.

Overall, a water heater expansion tank is a crucial component of your water heating system, helping to:

  • maintain its efficiency
  • prevent potential damage.

We provide tankless water heater services at Al Rooter Plumbing team

tankless water heater

Thermal Expansion

Thermal expansion occurs when the water is heated, and its volume increases.

Without an expansion tank, this expanding water creates excess pressure in the plumbing system, which can lead to:

  • leaks
  • increased utility bills
  • damage to the water heating system and plumbing system.

Excess Pressure

When there is no expansion tank in the water heating system, the pressure relief valve in the water heater gets activated.

This releases excess water from the system.

This process wastes water and puts extra stress on the plumbing system.

Closed Plumbing Systems

If you have a closed plumbing system, the water cannot flow back into the main water supply.

The excess pressure can cause damage to the water heater and the plumbing system.

The expansion tank is designed to:

  • absorb the extra pressure created by expanding water
  • maintain a safe level of pressure in the system.

How to install a water heater expansion tank?

Installing an expansion tank is an important step in maintaining a well-functioning water heating system.

A thermal expansion tank, also known as a hot water expansion tank, is a small tank designed to:

  • handle expanding water volume
  • prevent damage to the water heater and plumbing.

To install an expansion tank, start by shutting off the main water supply and draining the water heater tank.

Next, locate the cold water line and install the expansion tank on the side of the water heater, ensuring a secure connection.

This ensures that excess water flows back into the main water supply, preventing:

  • noise
  • leaks
  • high water pressure that could cause damage to the system.

With proper installation, an expansion tank can last for years, improving the lifespan and efficiency of your water heater.

Determine the Correct Size of water heater expansion tank  The correct size of the expansion tank depends on the size of your water heating system. Most water heaters come with manufacturer’s instructions specifying the correct size of the expansion tank.

Shut off the Water and Power Supply

Before installing the expansion tank, shut off the water and power supply to the water heating system.

If you are not sure how to shut off the water and power supply, seek professional service to avoid any damage.

Check our water heater installation services

Install the Expansion Tank

Install the expansion tank before the shutoff valve of the cold water line that feeds the water heater.

Connect the expansion tank to the cold water supply using a tee fitting, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

When do you require a water heater expansion tank?

A water heater expansion tank  is necessary when you have a water heating system that experiences thermal expansion.

When water volume expands due to heating, it can lead to:

  • increased pressure
  • noise
  •  potential damage to the system.

 An expansion tank helps regulate pressure and prevent issues.

Closed Water Supply Systems

If you have a closed water supply system, that is, the water supply cannot flow back into the main water supply, it is necessary to have a water heater expansion tank installed.

This helps absorb the excess pressure created by expanding water.

Increased Water Pressure

If the water pressure in your system exceeds 80 psi, then you need an expansion tank.

This helps prevent the pressure relief valve from activating and releasing excess water from the system.

Overheating Water Heater

When water is heated above its maximum temperature, it can lead to the release of hot water and steam, which can be dangerous.

If your water heating system overheats, then you need an expansion tank to maintain the pressure in the system at a safe level.

You don’t have a water heater expansion tank installed?

Not having an expansion tank installed in your water heating system can lead to various problems.

Without it, the expanding water volume can cause excessive pressure, leading to:

  • leaks
  • burst pipes
  • damage to the water heater. 

Installing an expansion tank is crucial to prevent these issues.

 

Leakage from Pressure Relief Valve

Without an expansion tank, the pressure relief valve in the water heater gets activated more frequently, leading to water leakage from it.

 This leakage can damage the water heater and the surrounding area.

Damage to Water Heater and Plumbing System

The pressure created by expanding water can damage the water heater and the plumbing system.

It can cause leaks, cracks, and other issues, leading to costly repairs.

Increase in Utility Bills

The excess pressure created by expanding water causes the water heater to work harder, leading to an increase in utility bills.

To avoid such consequences, it is essential to have an expansion tank installed in the water heating system.

The expansion tank absorbs the extra pressure created by expanding water, and maintains the pressure at a safe level.

This can help avoid damage to the water heater and the plumbing system.

Contact us today

  • Call us at (832) 434-5936: Call us at our hotline and our customer service team will be ready to take your call and address your plumbing issues.
  • Visit our website and fill out the contact form: Visit our website Al Rooter Plumbing Company and fill out the contact form with your information and plumbing issue, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Email us at alrooterplumbingllc@gmail.com: You can also send us an email with your plumbing issue and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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