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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water Tank Lets Go in Popular Hair Salon

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

A popular hair salon experienced extensive damage when their hot water heater unexpectedlyburst.The entire salon was affected, including the main area of the salon, the tanning room and in addition to the spa room. This misfortune was also significant because small business owners cannot afford to be closed due to renovations particularly when their profession is their only means of livelihood.

Water heaters have an average lifespan of 10–20 years, but that can be significantly reduced without proper routine maintenance—substantially increasing the risk of failure.

According to an IBHS study, 69% of all water heater failures result from a slow leak or a sudden burst. A residential water heater holds 20 to 80 gallons of water, which can cause significant water damage to property upon failure. On average, residential water heaters cost only $1,500 to replace, but a leaking or burst water heater typically tacks on over $3,000 in additional property damage, not including any additional living expenses that may be incurred.

The most common reason for a leaking water heater, internal rust or corrosion, often results from a lack of routine maintenance. By periodically checking the water heater for any signs of rust and performing preventative maintenance, property owners can prolong the life of their water heater and greatly reduce the risk of premature failure. Two primary causes of tank rust or corrosion are failing to replace the sacrificial anode and allowing scale to build up.

When hard water (which has a high mineral content) is heated, it creates a calcium carbonate deposit known as “scale.” Over time, these scale deposits build up on the bottom of the tank and create an insulating effect, leading the tank to overheat, which in turn slowly melts the tank’s protective glass lining. Once this lining has melted away, the exposed steel begins to corrode and weaken, eventually leading to the tank leaking at the bottom.

If the pressure inside of the water heater becomes too great, it can cause the tank to leak or even burst. Increased pressure can be caused by various conditions. The most common causes include elevated water temperatures, excessive exterior water supply pressure, and relief valve or thermal expansion tank failure.

When energy (in the form of heat) is applied to water, its particles move faster and occupy more space, a concept known as thermal expansion. Because of this phenomenon, water at 145 degrees occupies more space than the same volume of water at 125 degrees, and the water pressure increases proportionately.

If the water heater is not equipped with an expansion tank (many regions have only recently begun requiring them) or if it fails to function properly, the tank can leak or even burst.

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