Is An Old Water Heater Dangerous?

15 / 08 / 2021

Hot water systems may last 10 to 20 years and that far exceeds the usual warranty of five years. However, old systems become inefficient or that you can get more value from modern units. These water heaters are usually more efficient or they have more built-in safety features.

Is an old water heater dangerous?

In most cases it’s still safe if it’s just about the lower efficiency or a tank leak. However, safety features might already fail because of the unit’s age and deterioration. For example, pressure inside the tank can build up and cause a significant explosion. In relatively newer water heaters, pressure gets released promptly before it gets to dangerous levels.

If the amount of pressure becomes too high (more of the water molecules need to come out because of their higher kinetic energies), the tank might blow up and cause serious damage or injury. Although it’s a rare scenario, it’s still a possibility that we can’t ignore. As a result, homeowners buy a new water heater instead to ensure safety and gain peace of mind.

Aside from the built-up pressure because of failing safety features, another worry is about the gas leak and potential ignition and fire. If there are gas leaks around the water heater, even just a small spark (whether because of an ignition or an electrical spark) can cause a huge fire. It can quickly spread if there was a huge leak in the first place or if there are dry and flammable materials around.

To avoid that tragedy, it’s essential to have the hot water inspected by a qualified technician. This has to be done immediately even if you just have the slightest suspicions about a gas leak. Fires happen at the most unexpected times and lives and assets are at stake here. Although again it’s a rare scenario that a water heater will catch fire, it’s still a possibility we can’t just ignore.

For total peace of mind, it’s good to have a new hot water installed. This way you won’t worry about safety and potential breakdowns. After all, old water heaters will require more frequent repairs and you’ll never know when they will fail again. But with a new hot water system, the operations will always be smooth, safe and efficient.