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Can a Water Heater Explode?


Does it seem like there’s a never-ending list of things you have to worry about as a homeowner? A tree could fall on your roof, floodwaters could gush into your basement, or issues with your wiring could cause an electrical fire! Of course, all of these things are very rare. But problems with appliances and home comfort systems such as water heaters are fairly common.

The biggest fear some homeowners have about their water heater is that it could explode. We believe that being armed with information is the best way to spend less time worrying about what could possibly go wrong. We’ll discuss how likely it is for your water heater to explode, how to prevent it, and what problems are actually more likely to occur. 

Yes, Water Heaters Can Explode

It is possible for a water heater to explode. But more importantly, it is extremely rare! Because water heaters contain a lot of hot water and can reach high pressures, either gas or electric water heaters can burst quite dramatically. But you can avoid this outcome by doing two things.

  • Maintenance: Have maintenance performed regularly on your water heater. This will ensure that it’s operating properly and staying at an appropriate temperature and pressure. 
  • Repair: Know the signs that your water heater needs repair, and have that repair done promptly when you notice a problem. Signs that there’s a risk of explosion include more water than the usual few drops coming from the pressure release valve, a smell of rotten eggs coming from a gas water heater, or popping, crackling sounds.

Most Water Heater Ruptures Are Not Explosions

It’s true that the most common reason for water heaters to require replacement is a loss of structural integrity: they no longer stay together well enough to hold water in. But this is almost always gradual and begins with a little bit of corrosion before rust spreads to enough of the water heater to cause significant damage.

Again, regular maintenance and prompt repair will keep corrosion at bay for as long as possible. One way that rust can be avoided is with a component called the anode rod, which will rust first. Replacing this component as needed will ensure that only the anode rod, and not the rest of the system, will rust. Eventually, though, you’ll need a new system and water heater installation in Beaver Dam, WI

Most Rumbling Sounds Don’t Indicate Impending Explosion

The most common reason for a person to suddenly fear that their water heater is about to explode is that they hear a very worrisome noise: a deep and angry rumbling coming from within the tank. This is almost always caused by sediment. These are particles from your water that have settled to the bottom of the tank and gradually built up to a thick layer of silt like you’d find at the bottom of a pond.

This does increase the risk of a serious problem such as an explosion but is more likely to cause issues like low hot water pressure or inconsistent hot water temperature. It’s simple to fix, though: a qualified plumber can flush the system and wash all that sediment away.

Whether your concern about your water heater is a strange noise, rust, leaking, or something else, don’t hesitate to get help right away. A prompt repair can prevent a problem from getting much worse… and much more costly to fix.

You can always count on 24Hr Home Comfort Services, your heating and cooling specialists.

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