Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that water heaters can explode. Most people just hope it doesn’t happen to them, but what if there were signs that your water heater was going to explode?
By knowing what to look for, you could take the necessary precautions and avoid an explosive disaster. So, read on to learn about the warning signs of a failing water heater so that you can be prepared in case of an emergency.
A water heater requires proper maintenance and consideration. If you don’t take care of it, it won’t take care of you.
In the last three years alone, over 200,000 homeowners have been seriously injured from water heater explosions and floods. Most people just assume that their water heater will never explode, until it does. They also think that since they turned off the power to their water heater, they are safe. Unfortunately, this is not true.
So here are some signs that your water heater is going to explode.
8 Signs Your Water Heater Is Going To Explode
1. Discoloration of the tank:
The valves, pipes, and fittings in the compartment where the thermostat is located are supposed to be full of water when you turn on your hot water tap, but if you notice they are dry or bone-dry and that the insulation on your gas or electric water heater is soaked through and black, that’s a sign that the tank has ruptured.
The discoloration of the tank is caused by rust and corrosion so this is an indication that the tank has ruptured and, most likely, it is going to explode.
2. Excessive sweating:
If you see large amounts of water on the floor around your water heater, it is probably due to sweat that comes from the hot water tank being made of metal and releasing heat into the surrounding air. You can also see the sweat on pipes connected to the water heater.
Excessive sweating isn’t a sign that the water heater is going to explode but it also isn’t a good sign. If you notice your water heater is sweating, you should have it checked out.
3. Lower than normal water pressure:
If your hot water stops flowing normally, it may be due to sediment being partially blocking the tankless coil located inside the tank.
Sediment occurs when minerals are deposited from your tap water by standing in the tank or sitting idle and, over time, this buildup can cause a lack of pressure resulting in the water heater tankless coil being partly obstructed.
Although sediment is not a definite sign that your water heater is going to explode, it is best to have it checked out if you notice that your water pressure has dropped.
4. Rumbling or popping sounds:
A rumbling or popping sound coming from your water heater could be a sign that the pressure relief valve is about to fail and explode.
The pressure release valve is a safety mechanism put there to prevent your water heater from exploding by releasing built-up pressurized hot water.
The popping or rumbling sound is the valve releasing built-up pressurized water so if this happens, you should have your water heater checked immediately. It’s not a definite sign that it will explode but you should take precautions to be safe.
The air pocket in the tank is supposed to release when you open a hot water faucet, but if it fails and your water heater begins hissing air bubbles, you could be in serious trouble. The air pockets are caused by air not being able to escape while the water is heated and stored so once the tank is opened and the pressure inside drops, the air pocket can cause a rupture within the tank.
5. Visible rust or corrosion:
If there is rust or corrosion on your water heater and you haven’t replaced your anode rod in several years, you might want to replace it.
The anode rod attracts corrosive elements from the water so you should replace it every couple of years.
You can easily determine if your water heater needs a new anode rod by removing it and taking a look. If the metal part is small in comparison to the rubber, you should replace it. If it is made of rubber, you need a new anode rod.
6. The pilot light goes out:
If you notice that your pilot stays lit for a few minutes every hour but then turns off without anyone doing anything about it, the thermocouple might be at fault. You should have it replaced if this happens or you may be in danger of your water heater exploding.
A thermocouple is used to light the pilot that keeps your water heater operating, so if it is broken, you should replace it.
7. Liquid coming from the drain valves:
Since water heaters are designed to release large amounts of condensation and for air inside the tank to escape, you will notice water dripping out of the bottom of the tank. However, if you see the liquid coming from the pressure relief valve or any other drain opening on your water heater, it is time to call a professional right away for repairs.
8. Cracks in the insulation:
When an explosion occurs, anyone nearby is at risk of getting injured. So, be sure to check your water heater’s insulation for cracks or damage.
You can do this by removing the access panel on the exterior of your tank, crawling inside, and inspecting it thoroughly. These cracks can also be filled with epoxy in order to seal them up so if you have any, call a professional before it’s too late.
Here are some tips that might help prevent your water heater from exploding:
- Call a professional if you suspect your water heater might be about to explode.
- Be careful when inspecting your water heater, don’t light matches or cigarette lighters near the tank.
- Wear protective eye goggles when inspecting your water heater, don’t assume it is safe to look at with no protection.
- Don’t drain or flush your water heater if you suspect that pressure may be building up inside.
- If there are visible cracks on the tank, have them sealed up before they cause an explosion.
- Don’t use electrical appliances near your water heater or leave them unattended.
- Know where the main shut-off valve is located in case you need to turn off all of the water entering your house.
- Be sure everyone in your household knows how to stay safe around a gas tank.
- Be very cautious when lighting matches or cigarette lighters near gas tanks.
- Don’t use space heaters, stoves, or other appliances that are fueled by gas inside your home.
Water Heater is an essential part of our everyday life, but lack of maintenance can cause them to explode.
To make sure your water heater stays in its place, know the signs of a potential explosion, watch out for any leaks or damage, and ensure you have working valves that are easy to shut off at all times.
Being prepared is always best so if you suspect your water heater might be about to explode, call a professional right away.