A lot of homeowners often ask, “do I need an expansion tank for my water heater?’ The reason why people ask this is that they don’t really know what an expansion tank does. Understanding the primary function of an expansion tank would make it easier to answer this question.
What is an Expansion Tank?
Expansion tanks are small water tanks hang beside your water heaters, fixed to the waterline of the house or building. These compact drums can contain up to two gallons of water and are responsible for handling water pressure changes. The expansion tanks are designed to normalize water’s thermal expansion as temperatures increase in the heater, preventing excessive water pressure.
Without expansion tanks to help regulate the pressure in your water system, your heater and plumbing can suffer significant damages. High water pressure can impair and eventually destroy valves, joints, and pipes in your plumbing system. Even your water heater can get damaged if the water pressure gets high enough.
If the expansion tank’s function sounds like an important one, that’s because it is. It’s an excellent setup to have in place if you wish to protect your heater and water system while still enjoying hot water as you please, and we all know how important having access to hot water anytime is.
Should I Install an Expansion Tank for My Heater?
The quick answer is yes, you should.
Expansion tanks are highly recommended because it’s always better to prevent a harmful situation if you have the means to do so. By installing an expansion tank, you save yourself the stress of experiencing water system issues and a broken water heater. Suppose your house uses a closed-loop water system. In that case, expansions tanks become even more necessary because there is more pressure to go around, meaning there are more chances of unregulated pressure damaging your plumbing.
While not getting an expansion tank does not necessarily mean your water system will blow up, the chances of that happening will significantly increase. There are no immediate consequences of choosing not to use expansion tanks, but it shouldn’t take long for excess pressure to speed up the wear and tear process on your plumbing system.
When unregulated water pressure begins to cause damage, the first victims are usually the toilet fill valves, washing machine valves, and water supply lines. If that’s not bad enough, imagine the excess pressure causing your ice machine, dishwasher, and heater to start breaking down. And let’s not even get started with how the unreleased steam messes up your house’s general plumbing systems.
Expansion tanks have become so helpful that many cities are already requiring their installation for safety purposes. If you still don’t think you need an expansion tank, perhaps you can talk with your local plumbing experts to check if it’s possible to skip the process.
Check with your city’s plumbing inspector to be sure of the applicable plumbing codes in your area.
How Long Do Expansion Tanks Last?
Some homeowners worry that expansion tanks might not last long, leaving them short on the investment of installing it. The general lifespan of expansion tanks ranges from one to six years, with warranties usually covering one to five years.
Several factors can affect how long an expansion tank lasts. There’s the quality of the tank itself, the quality of the water running through the residential (or commercial) system, and the tank’s inflation, among others. Like any other part of the house, expansion tanks are subject to failure if not used and maintained property.
A good way to ensure that you maximize your expansion tanks is by having them inspected and installed by a professional plumbing company. Patrick’s Hot Water is a renowned brand that can help you by sending their licensed and skilled experts to guarantee your expansion tanks are in good condition and properly installed.