What is Thermal Expansion and Why Should I Care? | Plumbers in OKC

We all know the same old frustrating story: your warranty expires right before you have an issue. Or, even worse, it’s excluded for the problem you’re having so it won’t be covered. One problem I see happening often is water heaters failing right outside of their warranty window. It can be very frustrating. Occasionally, there will be one that goes out just inside the warranty, but that’s rare. The problem is thermal expansion. The good news is that it is completely preventable when you hire fantastic plumbers in OKC to inspect your water heater.

There are a couple of factors that cause problems when thermal expansion isn’t controlled. The first would be the presence of a water heater, and the second is some sort of check valve or a backflow preventer being used. Water, when heated, will expand up to the check valve where it compresses, causing the water pressure to increase and possibly over-pressurize the water lines. That would include all the fixtures and appliances, so thermal expansion can create problems with more than just your pipes. It can damage your washing machine, ice maker, and dishwasher, which can add up to quite a pretty penny.

So, if that’s the problem, how do I fix it? The solution is pretty simple. It’s to install a thermal expansion tank. However, the water pressure will have to be checked because the tank will need to be pressurized equally with what is there. If the water pressure is over 75 PSI, then a pressure-reducing valve will need to be installed. It’s important to have the expansion tank set to the same pressure as the water because otherwise, it won’t work. So, just making sure the parts are put in isn’t enough. The pressures must equal each other and not more than 75 PSI. It’s a relatively simple problem to fix, but there are factors that have to be accounted for.

It really is a kind of silent problem. Many people won’t know that it was the cause unless the installer knows what to check for. Some people think that it’s some new thing to charge them for that didn’t need to be there before. Truth is, in this case, it’s a very important device that will extend the lifespan of your water heater. Your water heater is just like everything else. The harder you work it, the sooner it breaks down. So, the more heating cycles the water heater goes through, the more stress it causes after every use. When you add thermal expansion to that, you’re going to have a lot more stress on everything hooked to the water supply. You can very quickly exceed the price of the repair. 

Here at Lakeshore Plumbing Heating and Air, we offer top-tier service, the best materials, and the best warranty. Spring will sneak up on you, so call us to schedule an AC Tune-up. We can check your plumbing, make any repairs that are needed, and maybe even save some heartache at the same time.



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