Did you know that a water heater that is improperly taken care of could literally become a bomb? While you may think that is just an urban legend, or a rumor to make sure people pay attention to maintaining their water heaters, it isn’t a myth! Water heaters can pose significant danger without proper maintenance.
Average Life Span
An average water heater will generally last for around 10 years if it receives proper care and maintenance on a regular basis. However, there are always those that give out earlier or later, but trying to see what you can squeeze out of an old heater can have consequences. You may end up with a flooded floor if you’re lucky. If not, you could have a hole through your roof. The MythBusters crew discovered that a water heater that is neglected or has poor installation could explode, launching itself through the roof and up to 500 feet in the air.
Unfortunately, if this happens in your home, you and your family won’t have the safety crew and protection that Adam and Jamie had available for their testing, and that can have dire, even deadly consequences.
As if that wasn’t enough, a neglected water heater can pose other risks in your home as well. These can include:
- Hot water spraying all over your drywall, which you’ll have to replace
- Damaged floors, furniture or electronics if the water leaks out and soaks into carpeting and other flooring materials – again with significant costs to repair and replace
- The loss of anything you might have had stored near the water heater, including irreplaceable items like photos and the like
- If you have a gas unit, and the burner doesn’t shut off, it can cause gas to build up in your home. If this happens, a single spark can obliterate your home and even family.
- A gas water heater that isn’t properly taken care of can also release carbon monoxide into the home. This odorless gas is virtually undetectable, and it’s also deadly. Just a few hours of exposure can have life-threatening consequences.
What Can Cause These Dangers?
There are a few different issues that can cause these catastrophic problems, and people trying to work around safety features on the water heater is one of the biggest issues.
- Faulty TPR Valves – When a Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) valve leaks, many homeowners modify or cap them in some way to avoid having to replace them. As this value is designed to open to release pressure if it builds up too much within the tank, a modified valve means the pressure can’t escape.
- Carbon monoxide leaking into the home often happens due to a flue that has separated or been jarred loose.
- Leaks occur with water heaters when they have become rusty – inside. The outer shell of your unit may look perfectly fine, but if there is rust anywhere on the outside, there is a good likelihood it has already rusted inside, and a leak is just waiting to happen.
Proper Maintenance Is Key
When it comes to keeping your home and family safe, there are two main things you have to do:
- Schedule routine inspections and maintenance
- Make sure you are only working with licensed professionals
Doing these two things will make sure that the safety features and insulation on your water heater are in good working condition so that they provide protection as they were meant to do. A professional will also be able to locate potential problems before they become major ones, and will assist you in having them addressed accordingly.
Your water heater is an incomparable asset for your home, as long as you take care of it properly. Don’t let your heater become a rocket! Call your local experts at Three Rivers Air and Heat for an inspection instead.