When water is heated up, it expands, and if your current hot water system backflows because of this expansion it can cause heated water to flow back outside of your home and into the cold pipe. This causes you to lose money as you are paying to heat water that is being cooled back down rather than utilized. If this is occurring you may want to consider the option of an expansion tank as a remedy. Expansion tanks are pressurized and sit directly near or on your current hot water heater. It has a pressurized bladder that will allow additional hot water through if need be.
A few factors can help you determine if an expansion tank is needed in your home.
- Some hot water systems are ‘closed’ and some are ‘open’. The open systems are the ones that typically allow the backflow to occur. Newer homes are being built with closed systems and these systems prevent backflow by installation of valves between the home and main water pipe.
- Some closed systems would benefit from expansion tanks as well even though they do prevent backflow. A closed system could increase the pressure within a water tank if expansion does occur and the water has nowhere to go. This can cause irreversible damage to a water heater and tank.
- Leaky faucets can be an indicator that you may benefit from an expansion system. You will save on water loss and prevent damage to your pipes and faucets.
- You can actually save money for many years by investing in an expansion tank. Not only are you saving money on hot water but you are also lengthening the life span of your current hot water heater.
Expansion tanks are currently being recommended by most water heater manufacturers and contractors. Some states which require closed systems in a new build are requiring the installation of expansion tanks, which shows how important and useful these tanks can be. Contacting a local contractor who can help you determine whether you system is open or closed can help you determine your need for expansion.