A constant supply of hot water in your home is not just a luxury, but also an essential part of modern living. Homeowners often face issues such as the abrupt decrease in water pressure, shortage of hot water, or even water hammer problems. One way to mitigate these issues and experience a more efficient hot water system is by adding an extension tank to your home’s water heater. Keep reading to learn what a water heater expansion tank is, how it works, and why you might want to consider installing one in your home.
What Is a Water Heater Expansion Tank?
A water heater expansion tank is a small, supplementary tank that is installed near the main water heater. It is designed to handle the increase in water volume that occurs when water is heated. As the water heats up it expands, causing a rise in pressure within the plumbing system. The expansion tank serves as a pressure release system that prevents over-pressurization and potential damage to your plumbing.
How Do Expansion Tanks Work?
An expansion tank works by providing extra space for the expanded water to flow into, which helps maintain a safe and constant pressure level. The tank consists of two chambers separated by a rubber diaphragm. One side of the diaphragm is connected to the water line and contains water, while the other side is filled with air under pressure. When the water in the system expands, it pushes against the diaphragm and compresses the air in the tank, thus absorbing the excess pressure. Once the water cools down, the air pressure inside the tank pushes the water back into the main water heater system.
When Do You Need a Water Heater Expansion Tank?
If your home uses a closed plumbing system, which includes a pressure-reducing valve or a check valve on the main water line, installing an expansion tank is highly recommended. A closed system prevents the expanded water from flowing back into the main water supply, causing the pressure to build up in the plumbing system. As a result, various issues may arise, such as water leakage from the pressure relief valve, rupture of pipes, or damage to the water heater. To avoid such problems, the International Plumbing Code and many local building codes require the installation of expansion tanks on closed systems.
What Size Expansion Tank is Best for Your Home?
Choosing the appropriate size for your water heater expansion tank is crucial to ensure its proper functioning. Expansion tank sizes are determined based on the capacity of your water heater and the pressure of your plumbing system. Manufacturers generally provide recommendations on the ideal tank size based on these factors. You can also consult with a professional plumber to get expert advice on the suitable expansion tank size for your home.
How To Maintain Your Water Heater Expansion Tank?
Regular maintenance is essential to prolong the lifespan of your expansion tank and to ensure it functions properly. It is important to check the air pressure in the tank at least once a year, ideally during your water heater’s annual inspection. Proper air pressure should be the same as the water pressure in your home. In case the pressure is too low or too high, readjust it to the correct level. Furthermore, inspect the tank for signs of leakage or other damages, and get any issues fixed promptly by a professional plumber.
Benefits of Adding an Extension Tank To Your Home’s Water Heater
Be it providing ample hot water supply, increasing efficiency, or extending the life of your water heater, an expansion tank could be the ultimate booster your home needs. Here are the significant benefits of integrating an extension tank into your home’s water heater system.
Ample Hot Water Supply
Running out of hot water can be quite an inconvenience, especially when you have guests or need to complete daily chores. Adding an extension tank will increase your hot water storage capacity, ensuring you never run out of hot water in peak times. This means you can enjoy long hot showers and run multiple hot water appliances simultaneously without facing a decrease in water temperature.
Increased Efficiency and Reduced Energy Costs
When your water heater is continuously overworked while providing hot water to the entire house, it consumes more energy and leads to increased utility costs. Installing an extension tank will help store hot water more efficiently, reducing the need for your water heater to constantly heat the cold water entering the system. As a result, your water heater will consume less energy over time, and you’ll be able to save money on your energy bills.
Improved Water Pressure
An extension water tank also addresses the issue of inconsistent water pressure in your home. Without an extension tank, high demand for hot water may lead to fluctuating water pressure, affecting the quality of showers or tap usage drastically. With an extension tank, the stored hot water can accommodate the increased demand and maintain consistent pressure, providing you with a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Extended Life of Your Water Heater
The constant working of your water heater and fluctuations in water pressure can take a toll on its lifespan. Installing an extension tank mitigates these factors by providing an added buffer against wear and tear. By evenly handling the load of heating and storing hot water, both your water heater and the extension tank distribute the work, ensuring a longer life for your entire system. This means you won’t have to worry about replacing your water heater quite as often!
Eliminate Water Hammer Issues
Water hammer is a common plumbing issue manifesting as loud, banging noises in your pipes. It occurs when the flow of water is suddenly stopped or changed, causing an abrupt change in water pressure. An extension tank can help mitigate water hammer issues, as it not only provides an extra storage capacity for hot water but also acts as a shock absorber for sudden pressure changes. This prevents the pipes from shaking and causing disruptive noises, thus offering peace of mind to homeowners.
Increased Home Value
By adding an extension tank to your home’s water heater, you can increase your home’s value. An extended supply of hot water is a convenience and modern amenity that many homebuyers look for, as it ensures the water heater can accommodate more people and appliances. Plus, having a home with a more energy-efficient water heater is seen favorably by potential buyers, who will appreciate the savings on utility bills.
Get in Touch With Professionals Today!
At HB Home Service Team, we are proud to offer comprehensive residential heating, plumbing, and cooling services to the residents of Central Maryland and the surrounding areas. Whether you require a new boiler installation or just routine maintenance on your air conditioner in the summertime, our certified technicians will deliver efficient service that meets all safety regulations and building codes. In addition to our longstanding expertise in the heating and cooling industry, we now offer smoke detector replacement services and surge protection installation to ensure total peace of mind. Contact HB Home Service Team today to learn more about our services.