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Water heaters are essential components of your home plumbing system. But, if not well maintained, they can soon become a safety hazard. 

Did you know that water heaters are responsible for 11% of fires caused by home heating appliances? These devices can cause fire, explosions, electric shocks, personal injuries, and even death in the worst-case scenario. 

The water heater represents one of the most dangerous hazards in the modern home. Yet, it’s something we rarely think about. In fact, the average homeowner only remembers its existence when they suddenly realize they have no warm water. 

That said, there are many safety precautions you can take to avoid risks associated with water heaters. This article includes some useful tips and precautionary measures you should take to ensure water heater safety all year round. 

1. Keep Flammable Objects Away

If you have a gas tank water heater, you should remove anything near the tank that is combustible. For instance, don’t keep flammable material or liquids near the pilot light.

It’s also important to ensure that gas canisters, clothing, and garbage aren’t kept near the water heater. If a crack or leak develops in the water heater, the fumes leaking could come into contact with the combustible item and trigger a chemical reaction. This can result in an explosion. While such cases are uncommon, anything that can trigger an explosion should be avoided. 

2. Set the Correct Temperature

Experts recommend you regularly check the temperature settings on your water heater to determine if the heater is malfunctioning. 

Keep in mind that water heaters are usually sized to match the size and heating needs of a house. With that being said, improperly sized tanks can be a danger to you because they can reach unsafe temperatures and pressure levels. 

If you bought your home from a homeowner who had installed a different heater from the one that initially came with the house, you should have your water heater inspected and approved as the right size for your home.

It’s also important to ensure that the temperature of the water is not set higher than 1200F, less scalding may occur. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the water since water heaters lack this functionality. 

3. Ensure the Heater Is Properly Ventilated

A water heater needs ample ventilation for the pilot assembly to burn properly. 

If the airflow is blocked by clutter and debris around the water heater, it can pose a hazard. Ventilation helps to keep combustible fumes away from the water heater’s pilot light.

We know that ventilation is pretty technical, but you don’t need to go deeper into the nitty gritty. However, you should ensure that your water heater vents are free of dips and that they are the same diameter as the tank’s diverters.

4. Test Safety Relief Valves

Water heaters can explode, though not common.

If a water heater has loose connections or weak spots, the pressure inside the tank can cause the heater to explode and spew hot water everywhere. 

For this reason, water heaters come with temperature/pressure relief valves. 

The temperature/pressure relief valve lets the water flow out of the tank, relieving excess pressure. However, this valve can malfunction.

Improper installation, excess sediment, or corrosion can cause the temperature/pressure valve to stop working. And a malfunctioning valve can make your water heater unsafe. Periodically checking out and testing these valves can help ensure they are functioning as they should. 

Care should be exercised when testing the valve to ensure you don’t get burnt. Remove the valve handle and ensure the water flows when the handle is open and closes when it’s shut. 

5. Seek the Help of a Professional 

Installing a water heater requires the help of a professional, and doing it on your own is never a good idea. Similarly, you can also seek a professional to test the relief valves if you aren’t sure how to test them out.

And we can help!

At Doctor Drips, our skilled technicians specialize in residential and commercial plumbing services and repair. Our services range from installing water heater tanks to fixing leaky faucets and more. No matter how serious your water heater issues are, we can help fix them.

Contact us today or visit our website to learn more about our business.  

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