If you’re reading this, you must have been concerned that your water heater will explode anytime. However, to ease your mind, note that it’s rare for a water heater to flash without an underlying problem. However, if you don’t service the water heater regularly, it will explode, which could put your family’s life at risk.
To prevent frequent water heater explosions, we put this piece together to show you how to identify a broken beater that’s about to explode. You will also learn the chances of your water heater and ways to take care of your water heater, so read on.
This post will answer the question, can a water heater explosion kill you, and advise on various safety measures, so read on and learn more.
Can a Water Heater Explosion Kill You?
Although water expansions rarely happen, If you don’t maintain your water heater, it will explode, which might kill you if you happen to be there when it happens.
While electrical explosions happen due to mismanagement, gas explosions mainly occur when a gas leak is in your shower. Your water heater is a vital part of your household. Therefore, you should take care of it for it to work optimally.
Drain and flush your water heater system to prevent it from bursting and prolong its lifespan.
However, if your water heater still shows signs of exploding even after taking these prevention measures, immediately contact your plumber before the explosion happens.
Here Is Why Water Heaters Explode
It may expose if your water heater heats up more than it should. Usually, water heater systems have mechanisms that prevent excess heat, but they can malfunction at any time. The malfunctioning is what causes the explosions.
If you set the water heater temperatures too high, the pressure in the tank will rise due to the thermal expansion. The gathered sediments will then cause insulation which will result in the temperatures going beyond the limit, which can result in an explosion.
Additionally, if your water heater is rusted, it may not function properly to reduce internal pressure. If your water heater heats up too much, it will cause the internal pressure to rise beyond limits and then burst.
Usually, your heater is created with a valve that allows excess heat and pressure to come out of the tank. However, If the valve fails, the heat and pressure will accumulate in the tank, causing an explosion. Gas heaters are equally dangerous as heat explosions are usually followed by risks of fire flaring up.
This Is How You Can Tell That Your Water Heater Will Explode
Here is how you can tell if your water heater is at risk of exploding;
1. It Produces a Popping Noise
The first sign you will notice is that your water heater will start producing knocking and popping sounds when you switch it on.
Usually, you can liken the sounds to that of popcorn when they pop, only that you end up with a snack when the popcorn machine stops. However, if the popping in your water heater stops, chances are that next, it will explode.
Shower manufacturers insist that you flush and clean your shower tanks often to keep materials from building at the bottom of the tank.
The heat accumulates in the tank because the materials insulate the heating equipment causing it not to heat the water.
When the water tank traps the sediments, it causes the water to stick between the trapped material. As a result, when the water boils, it forces the deposits up, leading to the water heater’s bursting.
Whenever your water heater starts producing a popping sound, it indicates that it has trapped sediments.
Sediments block the valve preventing it from remaining open to pass pressure and heat when they increase. When that happens, the chances of your valve breaking increase which then causes your water heater to burst.
2. Leaking Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve
Your valve dictates the levels of pressure and temperature that your tank retains since it controls them.
When your water heater bursts, it often results in your water valve malfunctioning. When excess heat and pressure are trapped inside the tank, it results in an explosion in your water heater since your tank can’t hold them.
Ensure you check the state of your pressure and temperature valve to reduce any chances of bursting. If you notice a popping sound from your water heater, ensure you call a professional plumber to check it out.
3. Your Valve Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Smelling like rotten eggs shows that your gas leaks and needs immediate attention. Therefore, get a technician to check if you notice a weird smell.
A poorly installed gas line is the most common cause of explosions. Therefore, ensure your house is checked and a professional installs your pipes.
However, if a leak happens, take all the safety measures and call a professional to check your water heater; get everyone out of the room.
4. Water From Your Water Heater Gets Discolored
Water discoloration is the most obvious sign that your water tank has rusted. Therefore, if you notice this, get a professional to check your entire water system to avoid further risks and damages like explosions and fires.
5. What Will Happen if I Leave My Valve Open?
If you leave your valve open, your water may remain cold because the heater tank does not retain the heat. Usually, when the pressure and temperatures rise beyond expectations, the water valve will open to let some out. The reason is to prevent your water heater from bursting.
Additionally, your valve will open so the cold water can mix with the hot water to produce a conducive average water temperature. Hence when the temperature rises too much, the valve will automatically open.
Is It Possible To Keep Your Water Heater From Explosions?
A few tips will help ensure your water heater doesn’t explode. Here are the most common ones;
1. Ensure the Pressure Levels in Your Water Heater Are Well Balanced
Your water heater has inbuilt systems to help you monitor the pressure levels. Therefore, you should check to see if the pressure exceeds the average to prevent malfunctioning. If it is broken, get a technician to replace it immediately.
2. Lower the Water Temperature
The ideal water temperature should range between 119-131 degrees Fahrenheit, at an average of 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything beyond that is too harmful to your skin and will cause your water heater to malfunction and eventually burst, primarily if your valve can’t regulate the temperature.
3. Get Your Water Heater Maintained Regularly
Your water heater should get frequent checks from a licensed plumber or electrician to ensure it works properly. Your licensed technician will also alert you if your valve needs a replacement or to be drained if it is silly at the bottom of the water heater.
4. Leave the Work to the Professionals
While doing all the work to save costs is tempting, working on your water heater could cause further damage and even explosions.
Can My Water Heater Still Work if It’s Broken?
No. You must fix your water heater as soon as you notice a problem. This is because the damage caused by the malfunction can harm you and your family.
Here is why you should always fix your water heater:
1. It Is Life-Threatening
If your water heater undergoes too much pressure, it will eventually burst, which is potentially dangerous to you and your family. Additionally, if you use a gas heater, explosions are often followed by a life-threatening fire.
Although they don’t always happen, water bursts can be life-threatening if they occur. They will also cost money to repair and the collateral damage caused.
2. A Broken Water Heater Is Costly
If your heater is broken, you probably pay more gas and electric bills than you are accustomed to. The sediments that settle at the bottom of the tank often require more gas and electricity to heat the water.
Even when the water bills shoot, your water still doesn’t get heated up as it should, which can be frustrating.
A broken water heater also causes damage in other parts of your piping system, which is costly to fix.
If the water heater explodes, it causes severe damage that often requires a lot of money to fix. Therefore, you should permanently repair your water heater immediately to notice a problem to avoid excessive damages and costs.
3. It’s Better for the Environment
Even when the water heaters act as they should, they use a lot of energy, nearly ⅔ of the total energy use. Therefore, when your water heater starts misbehaving, it uses excess energy that often goes to waste.
Do I Need To Replace My Water Heater Regularly?
Your water heater should last 8-10 years, depending on how well you maintain it. After that, you can decide whether to replace the entire system or the water heater.
The model of your water heater also contributes to the duration it will last. Usually, some models last longer than others. Research shows that the new water heaters last longer than the older ones.
Additionally, your water heater will malfunction faster than your water tank.
Therefore, if your water starts getting too cold or has a change of color, you should seek professional help to check where the problem is and replace it where necessary. However, if your heater has no problem, your plumber should check if the water tank has cracked.
As mentioned above, you should never work on your water heater to avoid further damage. Always talk to a licensed technician who knows the entire system.
Most households forget to check on the state of their water heaters. However, that should not be the case, as malfunctions can cause more significant problems like explosions. Therefore, you should regularly flush and drain your water heater to prevent any chance of bursting.
Stay tuned with the signs and call a professional technician if your water heater shows any signs of exploding.
However, if you smell rotten eggs or gas from your gas outlet, you should clear everyone from the building and then turn off the gas from the main outlet. You should do all this as a safety measure before calling a technician.