What is Thermal Expansion?
Thermal expansion is a major plumbing problem. But, a lot of homeowners are generally not aware of this distinctive concern because many homes aren’t in danger. However, a lot of properties that are in danger of acquiring this plumbing problem aren’t sufficiently covered because code standards in many cases are not enforced appropriately for older homes. Water particles do not decrease when up against pressure or cold, but they can expand when met with. In fact, water can expand by 1 / 2 a gallon or over in a 40 gallon water heater tank. This expansion can bring about significant concerns in a residence which makes use of a closed plumbing system. Thermal expansion may bring about worn out seals, broken solenoid valves, and bursted pipes. Thermal expansion will also reduce the life span of ones water heater and, if making use of a gas or propane fueled water heater, can cause the water heater flue to break creating a carbon monoxide leak. It is very important to find out if your home employs a closed plumbing system and, if it does, the precautions to take to safeguard the property from thermal expansion problems.
A home is in danger of thermal expansion issues if there is a closed plumbing system, as opposed to an open system. In an open plumbing system, water in pipes can exit into the city water main through a supply line if fittings aren’t being used. On the other hand, in a closed plumbing system water has absolutely no way of leaving the property. 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 are wonderful if the backflow from the house might contaminate the water supply. If your residence does use a closed plumbing system and you have been taking precautions against thermal expansion problems and your T&P valve is leaking, you might have thermal expansion troubles. The temperature and pressure relief valve is found on the water heater, and is a little lever that opens immediately if the temperature or pressure in the tank is above a predetermined setting. The standard setting is 150 psi or 210 degrees fahrenheit. The T&P valve is an emergency valve and isn’t designed to be used on a regular basis. If it leaks, you should really swap it promptly. Though, in the event it continues to leak, it may be indicative of thermal expansion problems.
Safeguarding One’s Home from Thermal Expansion Problems
There are 2 primary strategies to prevent thermal expansion complications. Anytime a closed plumbing system is integrated, a thermal expansion device is required by Uniform Plumbing Code. An expansion tank is the typical choice. An expansion tank attaches to the water heater tank and gives water overflow another place to go. There are two separate chambers in the expansion tank, one for air and one for water. Air is pumped into the expansion tank to match the pressure of the water. Whenever the water is heated up, if it expands too much, it is able to overflow in the tank. When it has cooled down or expanded to its maximum, the air inside the expansion tank forces the water back into the water supply.
Due to the fact the air being pumped in an expansion tank has to match up with the pressure in the water supply, it’s important that expansion tanks be pressurized accurately. There are comprehensive manufacturer’s instructions for expansion tanks and it is actually very important to follow the guidelines exactly. To examine the pressure of the water, simply use a water pressure gauge on the water coming out of any spigot, and one may examine the pressure of the tank by using a tire air gauge. When the pressure is too low in the expansion tank, water can get in too easily, and when the pressure is too high water will not be able to enter easily enough.
Expansion tanks commonly have a max pressure of 150 psi and are sized according to the capacity of the water heater tank as well as the incoming water supply pressure. It’s crucial to make certain you have the right proportions for both before getting an expansion tank.
One can test the expansion tank’s efficiency whenever the water heater is not heating up water. This is completed by simply tapping about the tank using your fist, a coin, a key or any other sort of light-weight tapping equipment. It should sound mostly hollow and echo somewhat, however in the event that you are observing a brief noise that resembles a kind of thud, the tank could have water in it. Check to see if there is, actually, water in the tank by removing the cap protecting the air valve. This cap resembles the ones seen on bike tires and automobile tires. Push down on the pin to see if air or water comes out. In the event that air comes out, everything is fine, but, if water comes out you may need a different tank. When the rubber splitting up the air chamber from the water chamber has deteriorated, water may fill the air chamber, whereby, you will need to exchange the tank. In cases where, when pressing down the pin nothing happens, no water or air comes out, the tank might not have sufficient air in it. This could throw off the pressure balance in the tank. To resolve this problem, refer to the manufacturer’s directions and use an air compressor to fill up the air chamber.
Expansion tanks have to be serviced yearly. Water heaters also have to be maintained each year, therefore it might seem sensible to complete the two servicing duties at the same time.
An additional way to safeguard your property from thermal expansion are valves with discharge outlets. These types of discharge outlets drain the extra water that the plumbing is unable to store. Toilet fill valves may also be a good precautionary measure. These valves drain water in the toilet tank if the water expands too far.
If you employ a closed plumbing system and you currently have an expansion tank, that is wonderful! Nevertheless, make sure to have the expansion tank together with your water heater inspected once a year. Still unsure regarding what kind of plumbing system is at your house? Find out immediately! Even if you have applied safeguards in the property, thermal expansion problems can happen. Contact Water Heater Repair Frisco TX today to learn more about keeping your property protected against thermal expansion troubles.