Water heater explosions aren’t common but when they do happen, the force involved can send debris through walls and roofs with enough velocity to level homes. The explosions also release gas, which can kill and injure anyone near the tank or inside the house. Exploding water heaters can also cause significant damage to the plumbing systems and appliances in a home. Fortunately, there are warning signs that indicate a water heater is about to explode that can help homeowners prevent this catastrophe.

A rumbling sound coming from your water heater can be an indication that the pressure relief valve is about to fail and rupture. The pressure relief valve is a safety mechanism that prevents the water heater from exploding by releasing excess pressure that builds up inside the water tank. The most common reason for the pressure relief valve failing is a blockage in the vent due to sediment buildup that prevents it from opening or closing.

Another potential sign of a failing water heater is excessive sweating. While a little sweating is normal for a water heater, when it becomes excessive, it could be a sign that your water heater is overheating and causing the water to heat too quickly. The excessive sweating is caused by the metal parts inside of the water heater absorbing the heat and becoming hot. The hot water then releases the extra heat into the air, which is why you might see large pools of water on the floor around your water heater.

Brown water from household taps is a serious issue that indicates signs your water heater is going to explode rust and sediment have built up in the water heater tank or pipes. Brown water is unsafe to drink and should be addressed immediately. A professional can inspect and clean your water heater to prevent these issues from escalating to an explosion or damaging the rest of the plumbing system in your home.

If you notice a rotten egg smell near your water heater, it is probably a sign of a gas leak. Propane and natural gas contain an additive called ethanethiol, which gives off the odor of rotten eggs when it is exposed to air. If you detect this odor, shut off the power to your water heater and turn off the gas to your home immediately. Call 911 and the local gas company from a safe distance while you wait for them to arrive. Then, you can proceed with the cleanup and repair of your water heater. Taking steps to prevent a water heater explosion can save you a lot of headache and money in the long run. Be sure to schedule regular maintenance for your water heater and watch for any warning signs of failure, such as excessive sweating or a rumbling sound. Keeping up with routine maintenance will also extend the life of your water heater and ensure that it operates properly for years to come. Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Inc in Northbrook offers annual water heater maintenance plans that include an inspection of both the thermostat and the pressure/temperature valve and many other vital components. Call us today to schedule an appointment!