What Causes Too Much Pressure in Hot Water Heaters? Know the Factors

Water heaters are essential household appliances, providing the comfort of warm water for various uses. However, they can sometimes experience excessive pressure water heaters, leading to inefficiencies and potential damage.

Understanding the causes of this pressure build-up is crucial for your water heater’s proper maintenance and longevity.

What Causes Too Much Pressure in Hot Water Heaters?

Excessive pressure in a water heater can be attributed to several factors:

● Thermal Expansion

As the water heats, it expands, increasing the volume and the pressure within the water heater. This phenomenon, known as thermal expansion, is a common cause of excessive pressure.

● Closed System

In a closed system, the water heater is not connected to a municipal water supply, and a pressure relief valve does not regulate the pressure within the system. This situation can lead to high pressure within the water heater.

what causes too much pressure in hot water heater

● Malfunctioning Heating Element

Electric water heaters with faulty heating elements and gas water heaters with high-limit switches can cause excessive temperature rise, increasing pressure.

Read also: How to Reset Electric Water Heater

● Issues with Water Supply

There are several reasons why water pressure may increase in a municipal water supply system, including excessively high water pressure or a leak in the water pipes leading to the water heater.

The Impact of Excessively High Water Pressure on Water Heaters

Excessive pressure in a water heater can have several impacts:

● Damage to the Water Heater

Water heaters can be prone to leaks due to high pressure, which can cause strain on the heating element and other components. It results in costly repairs or replacement of the water heater.

● Safety Risks

When the water heater pressure becomes too high, the temperature and pressure relief (T&P) valve, designed to handle pressures up to 150 psi, will open, releasing water to lower the pressure.

This safety mechanism prevents the tank from over-pressurizing, but if hot water is released suddenly and in large quantities, it can still cause damage to the surrounding area.

It’s important to regularly check the T&P valve to ensure it’s functioning correctly. A malfunctioning valve can lead to dangerous pressure build-up. If you notice cold water entering the heater is causing excessive pressure, consider installing a pressure regulator to manage the water supply’s pressure.

In extreme cases, the tank could burst, leading to significant damage and potential injury.

● Reduced Efficiency

High pressure can cause the temperature to rise rapidly or the hot water to run out quickly. Then, the water heater must work harder to maintain the desired temperature.

Thus, it uses more energy and leads to higher utility bills. Over time, this can also lead to wear and tear on the water heater, reducing its lifespan.

Ways to Lowering Pressure in Hot Water Tanks

Managing pressure in hot water tanks involves several strategies:

Read also: How Long for Hot Water Heater to Refill

● Adjust the Pressure-relief Valve

The pressure relief valve controls the amount of water pressure entering the home. Adjusting this valve can effectively lower the pressure within the water heater, preventing potential damage and improving efficiency.

● Install an Expansion Tank

An expansion tank, an essential component for managing thermal expansion, is connected to the water heater. As the heating element heats the water, the expansion tank provides a space for the expanding water, preventing excessive pressure build-up in the main tank. This is particularly important in closed systems where cold water has limited expansion space.

● Regular Maintenance

Regularly checking the pressure gauge and ensuring the temperature setting is not too high can help prevent excessive pressure. This maintenance includes periodically inspecting the relief valve and heating elements to ensure they function correctly.

Read also: Is It Too Late to Drain My Water Heater?

● Professional Inspection

Water pressure readings that indicate excessive water pressure require the attention of a professional plumber. They can identify the root cause of the problem and provide the most effective solution, preventing further damage to the unit.

What causes too much pressure in hot water heater? It can be caused by thermal expansion, a closed system, malfunctioning heating elements, and issues with the water supply. Regular maintenance can help manage and prevent this issue.

Gravatar Image
Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.