what makes water heaters explode?

Imagine it. You come home from a long weekend, or perhaps just a long day at the office and begin making dinner. Pour yourself a glass of wine, relax. The kids are doing their homework. Everything is going pretty well. You go to turn on some hot water to rinse out a few dishes and it doesn’t warm up. That water heater has been acting up for a bit huh…Better go check it.

You go down to your basement only to discover a veritable swimming pool.

It doesn’t take much for your water heater to explode. Unfortunately, it happens fairly often in California and across the United States. There are however, a few warning signs and things to look for. First, a few general tips.

  • Inspect often. Head down to where your water heater is located at least once a month and take a look at it. It only takes a few seconds. Does it look alright? Does it make a funny sound?
  • Look at the water. Is the water exiting your tap a funny color? Does it smell odd?
  • Water leaking. If there is water leaking from your tank, you should get it looked at immediately.

Simpson Plumbing is the best at inspecting and, if needed, replacing your water heater. We take pride in ensuring our customers have the best possible water heating solution for them and their families.

Here are a few specific causes of water heater failure

Sediment Buildup can cause your water heater to explode or leak

Sediment buildup in your water heater comes from natural substances that come in from your cold water piping from outside. This is normal, but if too much buildup can cause your water heater to fail. If you hear cracking or popping coming from your water heater, it’s a good indication that there is too much buildup. You can easily drain it by unscrewing the cap and releasing the water into a bucket.

Rusting of your Water Heater can Cause it to Explode

Your water heater is made of steel and iron, which means rust is part of the equation, too. However, your heater contains a small anode which acts as a sacrificial metal rod, which means it rusts instead of your water heater’s tank. If the anode runs out, however, your water heater can start to rust itself. You’ll notice your water will change color, smell rusty, or taste rusty. If this happens, you’ll want to call SImpson immediately so we can talk about what can be done. Often, we can extend the life of your water heater by adding a new anode.

High water pressure can cause your water heater to explode

Makes sense right? Too much pressure can build up in your water heater for a variety of reasons. If this happens, a small valve called a temperature and pressure valve (or a T&P) will open, releasing water and pressure to keep the water heater from bursting. If you note that this occurs, give us a call. Sometimes this happens by happenstance, but more often than not the water heater needs to be looked at by a plumbing professional.