Safety Features on Electric Water Heaters

Published: 27th April 2011
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One of the most important things to look for in electric water heaters are plenty of safety features. Professionals recommend periodic safety inspections on all water heating equipment to make sure all of your stuff is in good working order. Electric water heaters come with, or can be fitted with, an array of safety features and devices.

One of the biggest hazards associated with water heaters is the risk of scalding due to overly hot water. This can be resolved by adjusting the temperature setting on your water heater. Typical safe water heater temperatures are between 104-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, that people with sensitive skin may still experience irritation with electric water heaters whose temperatures are above 115 degrees. Setting the temperature very high in an attempt to obtain more hot water can be dangerous if the water tempering and mixing valves aren't working properly. Water heaters at a setting of 100 degrees are highly unlikely to cause scalding on anyone.

Storage tank electric water heaters must have a pressure relief valve that is properly installed. In some places, where hard water is found, water heaters can be fitted with an expansion control valve that will further control the hot water pressure. A boiling liquid vapor explosion is a hazard that happens when pressure valves are not working properly because they have been installed wrong.

Tank electric water heaters can also be fitted with expansion tanks. These may be required for people living on a ?closed" water system. In these systems, thermal expansion can cause rapid increases and decreases in water pressure. This limits the spillage at the temperature and pressure relief valves.

In areas that are more earthquake-prone, electric water heaters can be secured against independent movement with earthquake strapping. For water heaters in cold spaces, such as garages, a good idea would be to get a bottom insulating board. This board is placed on a solid surface to eliminate the heat loss out of the bottom of the water tank.

Electric water heaters should keep their pressure below 79 psi. If, for some reason, this number is 80 or above, you will want to install a pressure reducing valve where the water supply enters the building. This is quite rare and should be addressed by a professional. Electric water heaters also need a safe amount of working space around the unit. This is especially true for units located in the garage that have the added risk of being hit by cars or items in storage. Regular safety checks are key.

If you decide to use additional insulation on your water heater, you must make sure that this is installed correctly. Electric water heaters that have added insulation can save on energy costs. However, if this is done incorrectly, it can block the pressure relief valve. Always consult a professional when addressing the insulation of water heaters. While, for the most part, electric water heaters are very safe and effective, it's always smart to make sure you follow all safety guidelines.

Electric Water Heaters


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