As the water heater produces hot water for household use, the water expands in a process called thermal expansion. Under the right conditions, this expansion, which results in an increased volume of water, can result in excessive pressure within the home’s hot water system. Read on to learn how thermal expansion can be a problem, and how to resolve it. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg can provide the services you need to protect your home, appliances and plumbing from thermal expansion, with an expansion tank installation.
A growing number of homes have closed plumbing systems. This means a device is on the home’s water supply line, often at the water meter, that prevents water from the home from being forced out into the public water supply due to thermal expansion. These devices can be a check valve, pressure reducing valve or a backflow preventer. These valves act as one way valves, water can enter your home, but not leave through the water meter. Federal legislation enacted the installation of backflow preventers to keep potentially contaminated water from corroded pipes out of the public water system.
Many municipal water systems have a high water pressure. This is typically due to the need to serve high rises, structures at high elevation and fire hydrants. Those located in areas with a high water pressure serving their home or business will need a pressure reducing valve to protect your home’s plumbing and appliances. High pressure can result in water leaks and serious damage to the home and its foundation. However, since the pressure regulator is one of the devices that create a closed plumbing system, a solution is required for thermal expansion. This is where an expansion tank comes in.
An expansion tank protects the water heater, water using appliances and your plumbing. Installing a pressure regulator prevents highly pressurized water from entering your home, reducing it to a safe level. However, it does not prevent elevated pressure in the plumbing system due to thermal expansion. You need an expansion tank to protect your plumbing from it.
An expansion tank essentially acts as an overflow receptacle. Remember, thermal expansion creates an increased volume of hot water and the water heater can only hold a finite amount. As water the heated water expands, the excess volume enters the expansion tank, relieving the high pressure from the water heater and the plumbing system.
Testing the Water Pressure
A water pressure test is simple enough for the homeowner to provide. Purchase a water pressure gauge at any major home supply store for the test, for less than $20. Simply screw the gauge on an outdoor faucet similar to how you attach a garden hose. Once attached, turn the water on. The amount of the water pressure entering your home will be displayed. If the pressure is above 80 psi, contact Benjamin Franklin’s Houston plumbers for installation or replacement of a pressure reducing valve.
Installation is not a task for the average homeowner. The task requires cutting into the home’s water supply line, adjusting the valve to the desired water pressure and attaching the valve. Furthermore, your local code is likely to require Houston plumbers for the job. Our licensed plumbers can provide a professional installation, ensuring the protection of your plumbing, appliances and the water heater from high water pressure. However, once a pressure regulator is installed your home’s plumbing system has become a closed system. This calls for the installation of an expansion tank.
Adding an expansion tank to your home’s plumbing can be considered extra insurance against leaks and damage to your hot water heater and your home. Additionally, by keeping the pressure in the water heater down, it will assist in extending its potential lifespan, while preventing potential leaks due to thermal expansion.
Selecting an Expansion Tank
Expansion tanks are offered in different sizes and are not one size fits all. The size you need will depend on the capacity of your home’s water heater, and the amount of water pressure entering your home.
Expansion Tank Required
The federal regulations requiring the installation of a backflow preventer on all homes has led to an increase in damage to the plumbing (including water heaters) and homes. Due to this, a growing number of water heater manufacturers require the simultaneous installation of an expansion tank with a new water heater installation. The expansion tank provides protection from day one, for both your new water heater and the home’s plumbing. You can rely on Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg to be up-to-date on the required code for your home or office. Our professional plumbers will provide the installation as required by the manufacturer for maintaining the warranty terms and conditions. A Ben Franklin plumber can provide the professional services you require for your plumbing.
The expansion tank should receive maintenance annually, and can be provided with your home’s routine plumbing maintenance. Contact us when you need plumbing repair, plumbing installation or the maintenance of your plumbing. Our dedicated, licensed Houston plumbers will provide the expert expansion tank service, or other plumbing service that you need.