What Causes a Hot Water Tank to Explode

When it comes to having to do servicing on ones water heater, it is a relatively minimal maintenance appliance. Nevertheless, one critical component of it needs to be inspected routinely. Hot Water Heater Repair Providence would like to pass along this safety material regarding ones water heater today.

Excessive temperature when merged with tank corrosion within the storage tank can result in an explosion. Any time the water temperature is under 212 degrees Fahrenheit, one is going to be protected from an explosion, though there is a associated risk of scalding at that temperature. But, if the water temperature is over 212 degrees, water turns into steam, which will then expand to 1,700 times the space it takes up as water. This is when an explosion can happen.

Cautionary Indicators of a Water Heater Explosion

The leading sign is if one goes to get hot water from a faucet and only steam comes out. Promptly shut off electric power if one owns an electric water heater. If one owns a gas hot water heater, turn off the gas valve on the water heater. After that, give us a call to come evaluate the scenario.

Minimizing Potential Water Heater Dangers

The most essential upkeep endeavor with a water heater is to test the pressure relief valve, also called the T&P valve, on a standard schedule. This valve helps manage the pressure buildup inside the water storage tank to hinder a hazardous increase in temperature and overpressure.


Take note, the water release out of a T&P valve is often quite hot. If you do not feel at ease testing the valve contact us. In addition, carrying out any kind of repairs to the valve should really be completed by a qualified plumbing repair provider.

How to Test the T&P Valve

Remove anything from around the place near the overflow pipe and floor drain.

Lift up the test handle for roughly 5 seconds or until the water runs clear.

Release the handle.

If the T&P valve keeps on running with water, lift up the handle up and down rapidly to get it to reseat itself. One might have to do so a handful of times. IF it has not been tested for a while, it might be difficult to raise it at first. Don’t use a lot of force, but might need to use just a little.

If the T&P valve continues to leak, it needs to be changed.

Additional items to look for are rust on the stem of the valve. If there is any water seeping out of the valve stem or out of the drain valve.

Seeking far more hints? Check out our other articles right here:

Water Heater Maintenance Infographic

Providence Water Heater Maintenance

Related T&P Valve Testing Videos

Mythbusters did a test of the potential dangers of hot water heater explosions here:

Water Heater T&P Valve Repair Providence

What the Experts Say

  • The discharge from a T&P valve can be very hot. It is very important that all T&P valves be installed properly with a discharge line piped downward to an adequate drain to avoid property damage and to minimize possible human contact.
    Read more…

Watts Water Technologies

If the temperature in your heater remains high after you turn down the thermostat, the thermostat may be faulty. Consult a professional for repair. Read more…

Home Guides

Pressure relief valves sometime develop a drip when opened for the first time in years. Try opening and closing it a few times to see if it will seat itself. If you have a large leak or the drip doesn’t stop on its own in a day or two, the valve will need to be replaced.  Read more…

Today's Homeowner

Check out some of our other water heater tips in our blog