Exactly What is Thermal Expansion?
Thermal expansion is a serious plumbing issue. However, numerous property owners aren’t informed of this unique problem because a lot of homes aren’t at risk. However, many properties that are in danger of acquiring this plumbing issue aren’t sufficiently safeguarded mainly because code standards in many cases are not enforced adequately for older houses. Water particles don’t shrink when met with pressure or cold, although they can enlarge when met with. In fact, water may expand by 1 / 2 a gallon or over in a 40 gallon water heater tank. This expansion could produce big problems in a home that uses a closed plumbing system. Thermal expansion might bring about worn out seals, broken solenoid valves, and bursted pipes. Thermal expansion will also shorten the life span of ones water heater and, if employing a gas or propane powered water heater, can cause the water heater flue to collapse producing a carbon monoxide leak. It’s critical to know whether or not your home employs a closed plumbing system and, if it does, the precautions to take to safeguard the property from thermal expansion issues.
A home is vulnerable to thermal expansion issues if there is a closed plumbing system, as opposed to an open system. In an open plumbing system, water inside pipes might exit into the city water main via a supply line if taps aren’t in use. However, in a closed plumbing system water has absolutely no way of getting out of the home. Closed systems have either a pressure reducing valve, backflow prevention valve, or a recirculating plump with a check valve. These valves are used to reduce backflow of water. Closed systems can be wonderful if the backflow from the property could contaminate the water supply. If your property does utilize a closed plumbing system but you are taking precautions against thermal expansion problems and your T&P valve is leaking, you could have thermal expansion problems. The temperature and pressure relief valve is located on the water heater, and is a small lever which opens automatically if the temperature or pressure within the tank is over a predetermined setting. The normal setting is 150 psi or 210 degrees fahrenheit. The T&P valve is an emergency valve and isn’t designed to be utilized consistently. If it leaks, you really should replace it as soon as possible. Although, if it continues to leak, it can be a sign of thermal expansion problems.
Safeguarding One’s Home from Thermal Expansion Issues
There are 2 main ways to protect against thermal expansion complications. Whenever a closed plumbing system is implemented, a thermal expansion device is required by Uniform Plumbing Code. An expansion tank is the common method. An expansion tank links to the water heater tank and gives water overflow another place to go. There are 2 independent chambers in the expansion tank, one for air and one for water. Air is pumped in the expansion tank to match the pressure of the water. Whenever the water is heated, if it expands a lot, it can overflow in the tank. As soon as it has cooled down or expanded to its maximum, the air inside the expansion tank forces the water into the water supply.
Because the air getting pumped into an expansion tank has to match up with the pressure in the water supply, it’s important that expansion tanks be pressurized correctly. There are in depth manufacturer’s directions for expansion tanks and it’s incredibly crucial to follow along with the guidelines precisely. To examine the pressure of the water, simply use a water pressure gauge on the water coming out of any faucet, and one can test the pressure of the tank by using a tire air gauge. If the pressure is too low in the expansion tank, water will be able to enter too easily, and if the pressure is too high water is not going to be able to get in easily enough.
Expansion tanks commonly have a max pressure of 150 psi and are sized depending on the capacity of the water heater tank along with the inbound water supply pressure. It will be crucial to make certain you have the correct proportions for both prior to purchasing an expansion tank.
One may examine the expansion tank’s efficiency anytime the water heater is not heating up water. This is completed by merely knocking about the tank using your knuckles, a coin, a key or any kind of light-weight tapping equipment. It should sound mainly hollow and echo somewhat, however if you are noticing a shorter tone that is similar to a thud, the tank might have water inside. Find out if there is, actually, water in the tank by removing the cap protecting the air valve. The cap is similar to those seen on bike tires and auto tires. Touch down on the pin to find out if air or water comes out. If air comes out, everything is good, but, if water comes out you might need a different tank. When the rubber splitting up the air chamber from the water chamber has been damaged, water will fill up the air chamber, in which case, you will want to exchange the tank. In cases where, when pressing down the pin nothing happens, no water or air comes out, the tank may not have sufficient air inside it. This could throw off the pressure stability within the tank. In order to resolve this situation, make reference to the manufacturer’s instructions and use an air compressor to refill the air chamber.
Expansion tanks need to be maintained every year. Water heaters also have to be serviced every year, therefore it might seem sensible to conduct both servicing tasks at the same time.
Another way to safeguard your home from thermal expansion are valves with discharge outlets. These kinds of discharge outlets drain the excess water that the plumbing is not able to hold. Toilet fill valves may also be a wonderful precautionary measure. These valves drain water into the toilet tank in case the water expands too much.
If you have a closed plumbing system and you already have an expansion tank, that’s wonderful! But, be sure to have the expansion tank together with your water heater checked yearly. Still not sure regarding what kind of plumbing system is at your home? Find out right away! Regardless if you have implemented safeguards in the home, thermal expansion matters can occur. Call Water Heater Repair Indianapolis today to learn more about keeping your home guarded against thermal expansion challenges.