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Reasons Why Every Water Heater Should Have an Expansion Tank

Water heaters are an essential component of any residential plumbing system. If your house was recently built, chances are, you already have an expansion tank installed in your home.

Most cities now require an expansion tank nowadays. This allows for thermal expansion as your water heater heats up. It allows hot water to flow into the expansion tank, relieving some pressure. This is where an expansion tank comes into play, acting as a safety net for your main water tank.

The goal of the expansion tank is to save your water heater in case of water pressure spikes. Manufacturers usually offer a one to a five-year warranty on expansion tanks, so it is wise not to go much beyond this mark. With regular inspections and maintenance checks, you can extend the life of your expansion tank by a couple of years.

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What Does a Water Heater Expansion Tank Do?

When the water inside your heater is heated, its volume expands, and the pressure inside the tank rises quickly. If you don’t have an expansion tank installed, this water pressure will put a tremendous amount of force on the walls of your main tank. It will drastically reduce the lifetime of your main water tank.

Closed-loop plumbing systems have check valves to avoid water from flowing back into main public lines. The inherent problem with this system is that unless someone manually opens the check valve, the water pressure inside your heater will keep rising. This pressure can severely damage your plumbing system and, in worse scenarios, lead to tank bursts.

An expansion tank will accommodate the rising volume of hot water and reduce the pressure inside the main water heater tank. This would elongate your main water tank’s life and prevent water from flowing back into the main lines.

Do Closed Loop Plumbing Systems Need an Expansion Tank?

The short answer is yes. Open plumbing systems allowed water from the residential lines to flow back into the main municipality water lines under pressure variance. Closed-loop plumbing systems were acquired to reduce toxins from old and corroded pipes to flow back into the city’s main water lines.

Closed-loop plumbing systems were a step towards ensuring public health safety. Since municipality water lines pump out water at very high pressure, this was another reason to go with this system. Pressure regulators and check valves make sure to maintain a safe level of water pressure in your plumbing system.

To deal with any excess water pressure that builds up within the house due to heating appliances, an expansion tank becomes an imperative accessory. Under high pressure, water flows into the expansion tank’s bladder keeping your plumbing safe from hazardous scenarios.

Should I Worry About Water Pressure Inside My House?

Several pressure check valves are placed for maintaining a safe level of water pressure in residential plumbing systems. If the water pressure gets too high, it can put a lot of unnecessary stress on the pipes and fixtures of your house. This eventually leads to cracking of pipes and other leakage problems, many of which are very hard to identify without professional help.

When small water leaks go unidentified for a long time, they can lead to more disastrous issues. It encourages mold growth, destroying wooden structures and furniture, and doing other structural damages to your house. They can also cause corrosion of water pipes, which can push harmful toxins into your water supply.

If you live in cold regions, the chances of water pipes bursting are very high unless there is some water pressure regulator installed in the plumbing.

How To Pick The Right Water Heater Expansion Tank for Your Home

Depending on the size of your main water tank and the average water pressure within your plumbing, you would need to pick an expansion tank of suitable size. Manufacturers provide you with a chart that lets you calculate the right size for an expansion tank.

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It is always best to go with a little more capacity than recommended in the case of expansion tanks because it will not hurt your plumbing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, hiring a professional is always the best way to go. Plumbing services will help you decide on the best brand and size for expansion tanks and even cover maintenance duties.

Life Expectancy of Expansion Tanks

There is no way of telling how long your expansion tank will last because it all boils down to one’s plumbing system. If you live in an area with a nominal level of water pressure with very few spikes, then there is a big chance your tank will last you a decade.

Some tanks have failed within a couple of years due to wearing out and accidents in some scenarios. This is very common when undersized expansion tanks are installed in homes and due to other plumbing failures.

Whether you are looking to install an expansion tank on your water heater or you need to replace your existing one, we here at Absolute Airflow can help. Please contact us today to learn more about our plumbing and HVAC services or set up a maintenance appointment with our team of skilled technicians.

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Customer Reviews

Called Absolute for my 81 year old landlord in the height of Summer heat. Scott came out to inspect the old beast of an AC and found many issues. He took the time to educate us, note everything, photograph it and provide several recommendations...and my stubborn landlord has done nothing LOL. A couple months later we asked that Scott come back out and he was there that same day.

Emily H.

Santa Ana, CA

I contacted Absolute Airflow to check my mother's AC, as it was not getting cold. The tech (Scott) arrived earlier than his scheduled time, and was very knowledgeable, professional, and most of very personable with my mother in letting her know that the issue was. Superb customer service Scott and thank you Absolute Airflow! I highly recommend Absolute Airflow.

Billy A.

Billy A.

Bellflower, CA

I have called in Absokite Airflow for my tankless water heater and A/C unit for maintenance. They were professional and took the safety precautions necessary including wearing a mask and cornering their shoes when entering my home. I recommend them highly. Shout out to Zack who took care of the tankless water heater.  They were professional and friendly.

Beatriz S.


Santa Fe Springs, CA

Carlos came to our house to access the A/C project and to give us an estimate. He was very knowledgeable and took his time to explain all the opinions in detail as well as the installation process and warranties. Tanner and Chris were the installers, they were very professional taking their time and attention to details. To keep our house clean while installing the new A/C system.

Robert M.

Robert M.

Whittier, CA