Whether you work in an industrial setting or are having a new home constructed, there are several methods that can be used to deliver hot water to the building. For a home, hot water is important for a wide array of activities, which include washing dishes, taking showers, doing laundry, and cooking. One system that can be installed in your home or facility is a water heater, which is a device that contains a cylindrical container that’s able to keep water hot on a continuous basis. In a home setting, these systems are usually installed in garages and storage closets.
While every type of water heater has the same purpose, these systems can be powered by gas or electricity. Along with the home applications mentioned previously, water heaters also have several different uses in industrial settings. Water heaters are required in food processing facilities, metal finishing plants, paper manufacturers, processing plants, and wastewater treatment facilities.
Even though water heaters are effective at delivering hot water to an entire building, they can also be dangerous, which is why various safety precautions should be taken. If an issue with the water heater isn’t corrected shortly after it occurs, anyone in the building could be put in danger due to the rare possibility of combustion.
Even if the water heater doesn’t combust, it’s possible for sediment buildup to occur, which could result in high fuel bills and complete tank failure. To make sure that these issues are mitigated, it’s highly recommended that the water heater is checked every two months to ensure that it’s in good working order. This article includes some useful safety tips that should help you extend the lifespan of the water heater and make it more secure.
Test Temperature and Pressure Value Regularly
Among the most important things that you should do to keep your water heater in good condition is to test the temperature and pressure valve on a regular basis. The pressure relief and temperature valve is designed first and foremost to make sure that the water heater doesn’t explode in the event that the temperature gets too high or the pressure reaches higher levels than normal.
Valves that are situated on residential water heaters are particularly prone to malfunction, which is why it’s important to inspect these components regularly. Make sure that you perform this inspection on a yearly basis. Checking the status of a pressure valve is simple and straightforward. To start, lift the handle. When you do, the water should flow at a reasonable rate before coming to a stop when you let go of the handle.
If the water doesn’t flow properly, the entire valve may need to be replaced. Keep in mind that the drain lines on the system should go down and outwards as opposed to up. If the drain lines go up or the water doesn’t flow at all, the system could be at risk of combusting. The combustion of a water heater can lead to substantial damage to the home as well as injury or death to anyone who is inside the home at the time of the explosion. Because of the potential consequences that come with not inspecting this component, this is likely the most important safety tip on this list.
Be Aware of Fire Hazards in the Area
It’s also essential that you’re aware of any potential fire hazards in the immediate vicinity of the water heater. In the event that your water heated is by a tanked system that’s powered directly by gas, it’s important that you get rid of anything near the tank that may be considered as combustible. For instance, don’t make the mistake of keeping flammable materials or liquids nearby the pilot light.
It’s also important that canisters of gas, garbage, and clothing aren’t kept near the water heater. If ever a crack or leak develops in the water heater, the fumes that leak from the system could cause a chemical reaction when coming into contact with the combustible items, which would result in an explosion. These issues aren’t common but should be avoided at all costs.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Monitor
A great way to improve the safety of anyone in your home or facility is to have a carbon monoxide monitor installed, which will detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the building and provide you with the alerts you need to take swift action. As talked about previously, water heaters that are powered by a gas source could leak fumes into your home if ever a crack develops on the system casing. Even if combustible materials aren’t kept nearby the water heater, any leaks of fumes could put you in danger.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that’s also poisonous and surprisingly deadly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide poisoning kills around 200 people every year and sends another 10,000 people into the hospital. Along with carbon monoxide poisoning, this type of gas is highly combustible, which is why you should take every precaution to keep yourself safe. Carbon monoxide monitors will tell you immediately when a gas leak occurs, which gives you time to get out of your home before suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another important safety tip is to properly ventilate the water heater to keep pressure from building up. Every water heater should have proper ventilation with it, which typically comes in the form of duct vents. While these vents are extremely useful, they are also prone to malfunctioning. If the vent has malfunctioned or is being affected by drafts, it’s possible that fumes could leak into your home. The same is true if the vent was improperly installed onto the water heater.
Even though venting components can be difficult to understand, some of the issues you can look for without seeking the assistance of professional include dips along with the vents, and up and out trajectory as opposed to an up and down trajectory, and an improper vent size when compared to the tank diverter. The vent should be the same diameter as the tank diverter if you want the system to function properly. Make sure that the vent itself has been screwed in properly as well.
Check Temperature Settings
If possible, you should take the time to check the temperature settings on your water heater, which will make it easy for you to determine if the temperature needs to be reduced or the water heater is malfunctioning. Keep in mind that water heaters are designed specifically to match the size of the home that the system is being installed in. If the tank isn’t sized properly, it’s much more likely that the system will experience unsafe temperature and pressure levels.
In the event that you’re getting ready to purchase a new home, make sure that you have the water heater inspected before finalizing the purchase. It’s also important that the temperature of the water heater is never set at anything higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to check the temperature of the water with a meat thermometer since residential heaters usually lack this functionality.
On the other hand, water temperatures are simple to measure on industrial heaters. If you find that the water temperatures are higher than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, scalding may occur. At this temperature, legionella bacteria may develop as well, which can be very harmful to your health.
Flush with Hot Water
Make sure that you flush the water heater with hot water occasionally. Even though this step takes more time to complete than the others on this list, it can help extend the longevity of your water heater, which invariably saves you money. Since sediment buildup in the system can cause scaling and other issues, it’s important that the system is flushed to remove any of the sediments that can be found in the water. Keep in mind that sediment buildup also makes a system less efficient, which may cause your monthly bills to increase. Flushing the water heater can be done via the drain valve.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the planning that inevitably occurs when you’re getting ready to take a vacation, there are also several things that you should tend to in your home before leaving. One thing you should do is to check your water heater and alter the settings to reduce the risk that the system malfunctions while you’re away. Before leaving on vacation, the temperature of the water heater should be placed at the lowest setting. These changes will result in you saving money and lessening the risk of a system malfunction at the same time.
Water heaters are highly beneficial systems that can provide hot water to practically any residential and commercial building. However, these systems can pose problems if you don’t take the right safety precautions. The aforementioned safety tips should allow you to extend the longevity of the system and keep anyone in the building safe in the event that a gas leak occurs.