So, what do you know about expansion tanks? Did you know that they are a crucial part of any home water heating system? If you do not have an expansion tank, you should. Not only do they increase the lifespan and efficiency of a water heater, they are also important for safety. We will explain exactly what they are and how they accomplish this.
The Laws of Thermodynamics
It is not a big deal or anything, but before you can understand the importance of an expansion tank, you need to understand the laws of thermodynamics. Well, just a small part of them. When matter is heated, it expands. Water is no exception. This means that hot water takes up more volume, or space. In a closed plumbing system, this can be problematic. After all, if your water heater is full, and the water inside it starts expanding, where is that extra space going to come from?!
Now you may be wondering, exactly how does this cause a problem? If the water does not have any room to expand, won’t it just not expand? No, not exactly. What happens, is that pressure will build up inside the water heater. If it is just a small amount of pressure, that is okay. No problem. If the pressure builds up too high though, problems are in store. Vital parts of the water heater could be damaged. With enough pressure, the water heater could even explode!
Providing a Solution
Luckily, we have expansion tanks to prevent just such a situation from occurring. They provide auxiliary space into which expanding water can enter. It is an ingenious solution to the problem of thermal expansion. These days, plumbing codes require that hot water heaters have a thermal expansion devices. It is hard to go wrong with an expansion tank!