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Learning about Your Expansion Tank

You probably didn’t even know you had an expansion tank! Well, if you have a hot water heater, then odds are, you also have an expansion tank. The International Mechanics Code actually states that all hot water heaters should have an expansion tank. This is an important regulation in terms of safety. So, why don’t we learn a little more about water heater expansion tanks?

What is an Expansion Tank?

Before we get any deeper into the issue of expansion tanks, we should probably establish what they actually are. When things heat up they expand. Even the concrete of a sidewalk expands when it heats up. For most object in the world, this expansion is very slight and very subtle. For water, the expansion is more dramatic. When water heats up enough, it turns into steam, which wants to expand even further!
If water is in a closed system when it heats up, as is the case with most hot water heaters, this places pressure on the system, which could cause it to explode!! Scary right? Well, thanks to your expansion tank, you never have to worry about your hot water heater exploding. The expansion tank is an empty tank that give water room to expand as it heats up.

Issues with Expansion Tanks

Like any part in any plumbing system, expansion tanks can have problems, especially as they get older. For starters, older expansion tanks can often develop leaks. A slow, subtle leak could cause a good deal of moisture buildup over time, which could lead to additional problems like mold and mildew development. Expansion tanks can also become loose and rattle, producing a lot of noise. For most expansion tank issues, it is best to call a plumber or someone else experienced in home maintenance and repairs.

If you have any other questions regarding expansion tanks, or your home plumbing system in general, contact Parker & Sons today and we will be happy to help.

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