Can a water heater explode

Can a water heater explode?

A water heater plays a crucial role in ensuring that you have an adequate supply of hot water, which is very important, especially during cold winter months. One of the key selling points of most modern water heaters is excellent safety features that protect them from exploding. But with cases of water heater explosions on the rise, many homeowners are worried about their water heater’s safety. So, can a water heater explode? Continue reading to find out.

Can a water heater explode?

A simple answer is YES, a water heater can explode. Although reported cases of water heater explosion are rare nowadays, thanks to advanced safety features that most modern water heaters are equipped with, such as temperature-pressure relief valves, they can still explode, especially if they are poorly installed or maintained. This may worry you if you have already installed a water heater in your home because of serious damage to property and fatal injuries and even death that a water heater explosion can cause. The good news is that water heater explosions can be completely avoided if they are properly installed and well maintained.

Can a water heater explode

What would cause a water heater to explode?

A water heater explosion does not just occur overnight. There are a series of events that cause it to explode. In this section, we will discuss things that may make your water heater explode.

Can a water heater explode

Excessively high pressure

One of the main causes of water heater explosions is too much pressure on the tank. When the pressure is too high, it piles a lot of pressure on the heater’s safety features, causing them to eventually fail. A good example is when the temperature-pressure valve gets clogged up leading to a gas build-up in the tank which eventually causes it to explode.

Extremely high temperature

Another thing that may cause your water heater to explode is excessive temperature build-up in the tank. Water heaters are bound to get hot because that is what they are designed for. However, very high temperatures can lead to a build-up of gas in the tank, leading to an explosion. Most water heaters are usually affected by this problem if the thermostat responsible for regulating the water temperature in the tank fails.

Gas leakage

If your water heater is powered by gas, then gas leakage can cause it to explode. Gas is highly flammable and even the slightest leak can cause the water heater to explode. Fortunately, most modern gas water heaters have sensors that are able to detect and alert the owner about gas leaks on time before it becomes catastrophic.

How do you know if your water heater is about to burst?

Before a water heater explodes, there are several red flags that can tell you that the tank is about to burst. In section, we will tell you major signs that indicate your water heater is about to burst.

A rotten egg smell

One of the main signs that show your water heater is about to explode is a strong rotten egg smell coming from the water heater. A rotten egg smell is a sign of a gas leak which can lead to an explosion if it is not fixed on time

Leaking pressure relief valve

A pressure relief valve plays a crucial role in releasing water when the temperature gets too high in the tank thus preventing an explosion. If the valve fails to hold up, then that is a sign that your water heater is about to explode. Leaking pressure relief valves means that the pressure or heat in the tank is too much for it to hold. It could also be a sign that the valve is worn out and needs to be replaced.

Popping noises

Popping noises usually occur if the water heater is not well-marinated. Water heater tanks need to be flushed regularly to get rid of accumulated debris. If this is not done, thick layers of sediments can form on the bottom of the tank, creating a barrier between heating elements and water. The popping sound occurs because water trapped on the heating element because of sediment build-up gets super-heated. Sediment build-up on the water heater can also cause the temperature and pressure valve to clog, leading to an explosion because of high-pressure build-up.

What would happen if the water heater exploded?

A water heater explosion can cause catastrophic damage to your property, including damaging the roof, windows, and plumbing system. A water heater explosion can also cause fatal injuries to people around and in some cases even death. The boiling hot water and sharp broken pieces of the tank and its components can cause fatal injuries to people around. The sheer force of the explosion can also lead to a total collapse of the property. That is why it is important to ensure that your water heater is well maintained to prevent an explosion.

What to do if the water heater is popping?

The reason why your water heater is popping is because of sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank that forms a barrier between the heating element and the water. As a result, the heating element is forced to operate for a longer period in order to heat water in the tank thus increasing the temperature inside the tank. A popping sound occurs because hot water trapped under the sediment is trying to escape. The best thing to do to fix this problem is to clean the water heater to get rid of all accumulated sediments.

Is it normal for a water heater to make noise?

No, it is not normal for a water heater to make noise. Most modern water heaters are equipped with advanced features that allow them to operate quietly. If your water heater is making some weird noises, then that is a clear indication that something is not right. The noise could be a gas or temperature-pressure valve leak or sediment build-up at the boom of the tank.

Can a water heater cause a house fire?

A simple answer is YES, a water heater can cause a house fire. The powerful explosion of the water heater can lead to damage to your gas pipe or a short circuit of electrical components, causing a fire in the house. Water heaters powered by gas are more likely to cause house fires because of a gas leak that is highly flammable.

How long should the water heater last?

Most traditional water heaters have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years while tankless water heaters can last for up to 20 years. How you maintain your water heater will determine how long it lasts.

Final thoughts

If you are planning to install a water heater and wondering if it can explode, the answer is YES, it can explode. However, if you follow the safety precautions given by the manufacturer, including servicing it on time and having it installed by a qualified plumber, then you have nothing to worry about.

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