When you think about your water heater, it's probably with friendly thoughts. After all, your water heater is what provides you with all that lovely hot water when you shower every morning. You may never have thought of it as a bomb that could go off in the middle of your home. If you have an old or not well-maintained water heater, it could be that dangerous. Fortunately, you can take certain steps to make certain your water heater does not "blow" or otherwise self-destruct.

Water Pressure

If your water pressure goes too high, you can blow out your water lines and your water heater. Most water heaters function best when they are set at 60 - 80 psi (pounds per square inch). At that pressure, you should be able to take a hot, invigorating shower. Anything over that number can cause damage to your system. In conjunction with a faulty P&T valve, high pressure could mean a deadly explosion. 

Temperature and Pressure Relief Valves

Your temperature and pressure relief valve or T&P valve is usually found on the side or top of your water heater. Its name is self-explanatory. The valve exists to release an excess of pressure and/or heat that can build up in your water heater for a variety of reasons. Even if you've seen no signs of water leaking from the valve, experts recommend that you lift the valve once every two months to make sure it moves easily. A stuck valve can mean disaster for your home. If a high-pressure buildup has no release, your water heater will blow. 


If you have hard water in your home, sediment can build up so much that it makes the bottom of the water heater overheat, often melting the protective glass linings and burning out electrical elements. The bottom can literally fall out of your water heater, causing a damaging flood in your basement or utility room. Although this failure is not dangerous to life and limb, it can cause some dangerously high repair bills. Having your water heater flushed can prevent this issue and protect your water heater.

Usually, your water heater is your friend. It does require some friendly maintenance on your part, however. Scheduling a water heater checkup every year or two can prevent you from experiencing a pressure disaster. Trained professionals can replace your P&T valve if necessary and deal with any sediment or temperature problem. For more information, contact 2 Guys Plumbing and Heating Inc. or a similar company.