Many water heaters include an expansion tank. If you’re unsure, or if your home was built before 1986, it is a good idea to consult a licensed plumber to inspect your water heater installation.
If you live in an area that experiences cold winters and are using a tankless heater, it is crucial to have an expansion tank installed. While there’s often very little snow in Richardson, TX, winter temperatures do come close to freezing, and you may experience trouble with pipes freezing if proper insulation is not in place.
An expansion tank will also help to prevent pipe freezes from happening by taking up some space in your pipes. When an expansion tank is included as part of your water heater installation, there is less pressure on your plumbing.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Expansion Tank?
A tank expansion can provide many benefits to homeowners and appliances. They can:
- Protect against leaks, ruptures and corrosion from extreme high-pressure temperatures
- Maintain smooth operation of machines without causing damage
- Protect pipes and plumbing from freezing and rupturing during cold weather conditions
Expansion tanks have many benefits and are often very affordable. If not included as part of your water heater installation, they can be bought separately at most hardware stores for a minimal cost. An expansion tank in Richardson, TX should be installed by a licensed, insured plumber during a professional service.
Water expands when heated so excess pressure in the tank must be released somewhere. In prior decades, the tank’s expanding water would have drained back into the local municipal water supply. However, the water mains today are equipped with a check valve to stop backflow and use a closed loop system. The check valve stops wastewater from the house from returning to the water supply, where it can contaminate the fresh water.
A modern water heater installation will often include the expansion tank as standard. The water heater expansion tank is just another small tank attached to the water heater’s water supply pipe that any professional plumber knows how to handle. The expansion tank prevents excessive pressure and controls the temperature of the water. Excess water pressure can cause damage to plumbing fixtures and joints in the supply pipes, causing leaks and pipe bursts. When fully operational, the expansion tank is filled with water heated by the heater. This reduces the overall pressure within the system.
How Does a Water Heater Expansion Tank Work?
Think of it as a bit like a kettle. A kettle of boiling water heated on the stove will eventually start to whistle when the pressure inside the kettle creates steam, and the water expands. While the water inside your heater does not boil and become steam, it does expand when heated up. This is known as thermal expansion.
For safety purposes, an expansion tank is designed to ensure that the extra pressure from thermal expansion is not placed on your water heater installation. It absorbs the excess pressure if it is properly installed. The expansion tank is typically half filled with water from your main water supply. The other half of the tank is filled with compressed oxygen. The middle is filled with compressed air. As the water heater heats up and expands, it pushes against the bladder, which further compresses air on the opposite side.
When Is an Expansion Tank Required?
If you have a closed-loop system fitted with any type of pressure regulating valve or check valve, an expansion tank is a great option. To determine if you need to include an expansion tank as part of your next water heater installation, first check the water supply pressure throughout your home.
If you have pressure above 80 PSI, an expansion tank will not correct this by itself, but it does indicate that you need to have an operational pressure reducing valve (PRV) installed beforehand. Ideally, the water pressure in your home should be between 40 and 80 PSI. If you have a check valve or PRV installed, the thermal expansion tank can effectively do its job. Combined, they prevent the fluctuation of high pressure due to thermal expansion in closed-loop systems.
An expansion tank may be required by the city’s regulations, depending on where you live in North Dallas. In some areas, a home will not pass any plumbing inspections, such as those that would occur after a new water heater installation, if there’s no operational expansion tank.
In Frisco, Texas, for example, an expansion tank and a PRV are required on all new homes. An expansion tank is also required for all water heaters that are installed, or changed in Little Elm. To be certain of the plumbing codes applicable in your area, check with your local plumbers.
Do I Need More Than One Expansion Tank?
A thermal expansion solution must be sized to fit your plumbing system. A 2-gallon expansion tank can serve a 50-gallon water heater installation. You can have one expansion tank and multiple heaters on the same system if the tank is large enough.
Alternatively, if you have multiple water heaters on your property, you can have a smaller expansion tank attached to each heater. The manufacturer of your chosen water heater and expansion tank will often advise which setups are compatible. A local plumber can also help you to navigate the applicable plumbing codes that will affect your system. It’s recommended that each home has at least one expansion tank fitted after the check valve, regardless of size.
If you need a new expansion tank or water heater installation in Richardson, TX, call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas. Our 24/7 plumbing service can assist you in emergencies, such as pipe bursts, which result in the need to replace your water heater or other vital plumbing components. We provide installation services for numerous water heater types, including solar, condensing, heat pump, tankless, and conventional heaters. Don’t hesitate, book an appointment today!