Can My Water Heater Explode? How To Avoid Explosion!
There are several conditions that may cause a water heater to explode. When a (TPR) temperature pressure relief valve has been removed and the pipe has been capped (sealed Off) the water heater tank can explode if enough pressure builds up because the tank has no way to relieve the pressure. This is a very dangerous condition typically caused by a non qualified installer or by the home owner that noticed the (TPR) temperature pressure relief valve was leaking water, so the home owner decided to remove the valve and capped it off as pictured.
Other Water Heater Explosion Indicators.
(TPR) Temperature Pressure Relief Valve Leaking
A leaking pressure relief valve should not be ignored, if you see water dripping from the pressure relief valve on the top of the tank or on the side of the tank, call a plumber right away to further evaluate the valve. Most water heaters have a copper or PVC pipe connected to the valve that either runs down the side of the tank about 6″ above the ground or the pipe terminates at the exterior wall. You may observe a small pipe sticking thru one of your exterior walls of your home and water is leaking from it, this may be connected to your water heater pressure relief valve. Try to follow the pipe and determine its origin, if in fact you follow it back to the water heater then call a plumber to further evaluate the water heater as the tank or the pressure relief valve need replacing. The pressure relief valve may be damaged or clogged with sediment which means it may not be able to work as intended when the pressure builds up in the tank. This condition is one of the most common causes of a tank explosion.
A Loud Knocking/Popping Noise
The knocking/popping sound is indication that the tanks inner parts have failed due to age and or lack of water heater maintenance. The heating element needs to work overtime to reach the desired temperature. Excessive sediment can also clog your temperature and pressure relief valve, this combined condition may lead to a water heater explosion. If your water heater has the above-mentioned symptoms call a plumber right away to further evaluate.
What Is A Temperature Pressure Relief Valve?
Temperature/pressure-relief or TPR valves are safety devices installed on water heating appliances, such as boilers and domestic water supply heaters. TPRs are designed to automatically release water if pressure or temperature in the water tank exceeds safe levels. The TPR valve will activate if either water temperature (measured in degrees Fahrenheit) or pressure (measured in pounds per square inch [PSI]) exceed safe levels. The valve should be connected to a discharge pipe (also called a drain line) that runs down the length of the water heater tank. This pipe is responsible for routing hot water released from the TPR to a proper discharge location. This discharge tube should be no higher than 6″ off the floor if installed at exterior wall. If installed inside home it should terminate to exterior thru the wall or thru the floor in crawl space to exterior via a copper pipe or other approved pipe.