The Purpose Of Water Heater Expansion Tanks

Posted on: 30 November 2016


High water pressure poses a serious threat to your home's plumbing system, leading to problems such as leaky pipes and damaged plumbing fixtures. What few people realize is that hot water heaters are one of the prime contributors to such issues. If you would like to learn more, read on. This article will discuss how a water heater expansion tank can alleviate pressure-related issues.

Pressure Fluctuation

At first the link between your hot water heater and high pressure may not be very apparent. To better understand this connection, it helps to remember that water is subject to the phenomenon known as thermal expansion. In other words, water expands as its temperature climbs, occupying a greater and greater volume of space. Thus when water is heated inside of your water heater, its volume increases beyond the boundaries of the tank itself. This leads to an increased amount of pressure inside of your plumbing system.

Closed Water Systems

The increased pressure created by a hot water heater tends to cause the most damage for those living in municipalities where homes are required to have a closed system. What this means is that the main water supply pipe running into your home contains a one-way valve. This valve, which is meant to prevent backups and flooding within the city's water distribution system, prevents water from flowing backwards out of your home into the municipal pipelines.

In most cases, closed systems are a good thing. Yet they tend to increase the amount of plumbing stress caused by hot water heaters. That's because the extra volume of water is unable to flow out of your home's system. As a result, your pipes and fixtures are subject to an increased amount of pressure-related damage.

Water Expansion Tanks

A water expansion tank is the most effective way of preventing thermal expansion from damaging your plumbing system. The idea here is that a special tank is installed on the cold water side of your hot water heater. As the water inside of the heater grows warmer, and expands, it is able to flow out of the heater into the expansion tank, rather than generating a destructive pressure elevation.

When you run the hot water inside of your house, and the water level inside of your heater goes down, hot water in the expansion tank will flow back into the heater. In other words, you are able to maximize the amount of hot water produced by your heater, while minimizing the damage it would otherwise cause. For more information, contact companies like Garabedian Plumbing & Heating Inc.