Expansion Tank for Water Heater – Everything You Need to Know Before Installing

Is it necessary to install an expansion tank for your water heater? Should you get one? Well, the answer might vary, and it depends on your individual needs. This page will help you understand why the device might be required in your home or business.

Is an Expansion Tank Required for a Water Heater?

Expansion Tank for Water Heater

Before determining whether you need a water heater expansion tank or not, you need to know the device’s purpose first. Most of the time, the water heater expansion tank is needed to avoid water pressure changes. The changes are not only annoying but also worsen the condition of your water heater.

Additionally, the changes in water pressure will also influence the entire setup of your plumbing system. The presence of a check valve ensures that water flows in one direction, preventing any potential backflow into the water system. A backflow preventer or a pressure-reducing valve may be installed to mitigate excess pressure and protect the water supply.

These components are essential in maintaining the integrity and safety of a closed plumbing system, which is characterized by the absence of any path for hot water to escape back into the city supply, necessitating the need for a backflow prevention device.

The device comes with a relatively small water tank. It usually has a gallon capacity and is mounted next to your water heater. You also need to connect the water tank to your current water line, which may raise the pressure slightly but ensure the system’s efficiency and safety.

So, when do you need to install the expansion tank for a water heater? Well, there are several clear signs that you might need to install the device in your house. The water tank is needed if you find fluctuating high and low water pressure in your plumbing system. You might need to install the device if you have a closed system.

You will also need the water tank if you have a pressure regulating valve or if your local government requires it to be installed. Additionally, the water tank will help you make your water heater more durable. 

Thermal Expansion Tank for Water Heater

The expansion tank for a water heater is also often called a thermal expansion tank. The main reason for using the device is to minimize the pressure damage risks to your plumbing system. Due to the importance of the water tank, installation is required by law sometimes, especially if you have a closed system. So, how does the device work?

Thermal Expansion Tank for Water Heater

The water in your plumbing system will expand once your main water heater gets warmer. However, the pressure will soon build up within the device if the exceeded water can find nowhere to go. The situation will lead to damage to your plumbing system if you do not solve the problem well.

This is how the water tank expansion tank will be beneficial for you. The device will provide a way for the exceeded water to flow. In this way, you can avoid damage to your plumbing system. 

How to Install Expansion Tank for Water Heater

So, what can you do to install the expansion tank for a water heater? Here are some steps that you need to complete.

Install the Galvanized Tee

The first thing you should do is install the galvanized tee on the top part of your water heater. Make sure that you tighten the tee and place the device in a certain position to face the direction you want the water tank to go. 

Read also: Hot Water Heater Settings Top and Bottom

Prepare a Long Nipple

Then, you can prepare a long nipple. Make sure that you put the tape on both ends of the nipple. You can place a little pipe joint compound over the tape to tighten the nipple. Then, you must screw one side of the nipple into the tee. 

Prepare the Threads

You can prepare the threads on the water tank along with a brush or pipe compound and tape for the next step. Make sure that you screw the water tank into the elbow and tighten it.

Tighten the Nipple

After that, you can place the nipple on top of the tee and then tighten it. This will allow the flex line of the water heater to connect to the nipple. Your water tank expansion is ready to use.

Expansion Tank On Water Heater Leaking

Just like other devices, your expansion tank for the water heater can also get leaky. This is not surprising since the device is a pressurized system that is prone to leak. Most of the time, the water tank can experience pressure because of the overflow from the boiler.

To help you fix the problem, you need to investigate to find the source of the leak. You can use a blow dryer or rags to dry the outer part of the water tank. In this way, you can get a clearer visual of the surface. In this way, you can identify the cause of the leak.

It could be the circulator leak, faulty pressure relief valve, or leaking connections on the pipes. Once you have found the source of the leak, you need to prepare the water tank for repairs. Make sure that you turn off the power and disconnect any electric plug. Then, you can shut down the valve that is used to feed water from the boiler to the water tank. You can start the repair process after that.

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John Burns is an experienced author and expert home improvement advice. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects related to home improvement, including installation, maintenance, and repair.