What is Thermal Expansion?
Thermal expansion is a serious plumbing issue. But, numerous people aren’t conscious of this distinctive concern because most homes aren’t in danger. Though, a lot of homes which might be at risk of acquiring this plumbing problem aren’t sufficiently protected because code specifications are often not enforced appropriately for older homes. Water particles do not shrink when faced with pressure or cold, however they can expand when faced with heat. In fact, water will be able to expand by 1 / 2 a gallon or over in a 40 gallon water heater tank. This expansion may produce serious concerns in a home which employs a closed plumbing system. Thermal expansion may bring about worn out seals, damaged solenoid valves, and bursted pipes. Thermal expansion could also shorten the life span of ones water heater and, if using a gas or propane fueled water heater, may cause the water heater flue to break creating a carbon monoxide leak. It is very important to know whether or not your residence employs a closed plumbing system and, if it does, the measures to take to safeguard the home from thermal expansion issues.
A property is vulnerable to thermal expansion problems in cases where there is a closed plumbing system, rather than an open system. In an open plumbing system, water inside pipes may exit into the city water main by way of a supply line if taps aren’t being used. However, in a closed plumbing system water has no chance of getting out of the home. Closed systems have one of either a pressure decreasing valve, backflow prevention valve, or a recirculating plump with a check valve. These valves are employed to prevent backflow of water. Closed systems are wonderful if the backflow from the residence can contaminate the water supply. If your property does employ a closed plumbing system but you are taking precautions against thermal expansion issues and your T&P valve is leaking, you might have thermal expansion issues. The temperature and pressure relief valve is found on the water heater, and is a small lever that opens automatically if the temperature or pressure within the tank is above a predetermined setting. The typical setting is 150 psi or 210 degrees fahrenheit. The T&P valve is an emergency valve and isn’t supposed to be used frequently. If it leaks, you should swap it promptly. However, if it continues to leak, it might be an indicator of thermal expansion troubles.
Safeguarding One’s Home from Thermal Expansion Issues
There are 2 primary strategies to avoid thermal expansion complications. Anytime a closed plumbing system is implemented, a thermal expansion device is required by Uniform Plumbing Code. An expansion tank is the typical choice. An expansion tank connects 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 correspond with the pressure of the water. Anytime the water is heated, if it expands too much, it is able to overflow in the tank. As soon as it has cooled down or expanded to its maximum potential, the air inside the expansion tank pushes the water back into the water supply.
Due to the fact the air getting pumped into an expansion tank must match the pressure in the water supply, it’s critical that expansion tanks be pressurized properly. There are in depth manufacturer’s guidelines for expansion tanks and it’s incredibly crucial to follow the directions exactly. To test the pressure of one’s water, simply use a water pressure gauge on the water coming out of any tap, and one may check the pressure of the tank by applying a tire air gauge. If the pressure is too low in the expansion tank, water will get in too easily, and in cases where the pressure is too high water won’t be able to enter easily enough.
Expansion tanks normally have a maximum pressure of 150 psi and are sized based upon the capacity of the water heater tank along with the inbound water supply pressure. It will be essential to make sure you have the correct proportions for both before getting an expansion tank.
One can examine the expansion tank’s efficiency anytime the water heater is not heating water. This is accomplished by simply tapping about the tank using your knuckles, a coin, a key or any type of light tapping equipment. It should sound generally empty and echo a little bit, but if you are noticing a short noise that resembles a thud, the tank could have water inside. Find out if there is, in fact, water in the tank by removing the cap protecting the air valve. This kind of cap looks similar to the ones seen on bike tires and car tires. Push down on the pin to observe 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. If the rubber separating the air chamber from the water chamber has become weak, water can fill up the air chamber, in that case, you will want to replace the tank. In the event that, while pushing down the pin nothing happens, no water or air comes out, the tank might not have sufficient air inside. This is going to throw off the pressure equilibrium inside the tank. To take care of this situation, turn to the manufacturer’s guidelines and use an air compressor to fill up the air chamber.
Expansion tanks must be maintained each year. Water heaters likewise have to be maintained each year, so it would make sense to carry out both maintenance duties simultaneously.
An additional way to safeguard your house from thermal expansion are valves with discharge outlets. These types of discharge outlets drain the excess water that the plumbing can not store. Toilet fill valves also are a good precautionary measure. These valves drain water to the toilet tank in case the water expands too far.
If perhaps you have a closed plumbing system and you currently have an expansion tank, that is excellent! Nevertheless, make sure to have the expansion tank along with your water heater checked out yearly. Still unsure about what sort of plumbing system is at your property? Find out right away! Regardless if you have applied safeguards in the house, thermal expansion matters can occur. Give Water Heater Repair St Petersburg FL a call today to find out more about keeping your residence secured against thermal expansion problems.