Your water heater needs regular maintenance to ensure that it is running well as the unit is running lots of hot water every day. However, water heaters have several dangers and risks, such as flooding and leaks, and the most dangerous being the risk of explosion. As a matter of fact, your appliance can explode if it is not maintained properly.

The signs your water heater is going to explode are leaking tank water, the faulty pressure relief valve, cloudy water, popping noise, and the lack of hot water. A hot water heater explosion can lead to death, physical injury, and serious damage.

This article will tell you about the signs you can look for that will let you know if your appliance is at risk of exploding in the near future. You should be aware of these signs so that you can take the necessary steps as soon as you see these signs, preventing any hazardous consequences.

1. Leaking Tank Water

Do you see a pool of water below your unit? Cracks and fractures in the water tank can happen due to corrosion. These cracks and fractures can cause warm water to leak from the water heater tank. Therefore, you need to replace your leaking appliance as quickly as possible.

Switch off the supply of water of your house instantly if the leak is critical. However, you need to understand that this is a temporary solution. You have to contact your plumber to fix these leaks as soon as possible.

2. Malfunctioning Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR)

You need to replace your appliance as quickly as possible if the TPR valve is leaking.

The valve releases the buildup of pressure in your unit when the pressure or temperature gets extremely high to prevent a potential explosion. Accumulation of corrosion and rust can cause the valve to stop working.

A failed TPR valve can lead to drastic damage if not taken care of timely. In fact, it can cause the water to go above its boiling point, change into steam, and make the water tank explode. This will cause property damage as well as personal injury.

To fix this, test the valve by lifting and lowering the lever many times. The test lever will come away from the attached brass stem, and the hot water will come out of the pipe. If no water comes out of the pipe, you should consider replacing the TPR valve.

It’s worth knowing that the TPR valve should be inspected by a professional once every year to ensure they are functioning properly.

3. Cloudy Water

Is cloudy water coming out of your appliance? Does water smell metallic? Musty-smelling water is a sign that your appliance is failing. The mineral deposits move throughout the appliance and cloud up the hot water coming from your faucet. They are accompanied by a metallic taste and odor.

The deposits can damage taps and block elements that regulate the water flow. Moreover, if the water coming out of the unit is orange or red in color, it indicates that the pipes and tank have become rusty.

If you are worried about the cloudy water, you should filter the water. You should know that rusty water does not result in any serious health issues. However, once rust has settled in your water heater tank, you have to replace it.

4. Popping Noise

If your water heater is producing rumbling, popping, and creaking noises, you should immediately contact the plumbing company near you. Hard water and accumulation of minerals are responsible for the noises coming out of your appliance.

A specific popping sound comes out from the water heater when minerals form a layer on the surface of the appliance. This is a sign that your unit has some problems. The popping sound is the result of air pockets in the sediment layer that boils together with the water in the water heater tank.

If your water heater is producing creaking and rumbling noises, you have to flush out the sediment from your water heater tank. If flushing out the sediment does not solve the problem, there is some serious issue with your unit.

It is important for you to know that the weird sounds coming out of your appliance are alarming, and it signifies that your unit is on the brink of crack, leak, or burst. The best option is a replacement before your water heater tank causes an expensive leak.

5. Rotten Egg Smell

If you have a gas-powered appliance and have a rotten egg or sulfur smell around the outside of your unit, you probably have a gas leak.

Propane and natural gas have an unpleasant smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. The odor you smell is ethanethiol (ethyl mercaptan), which gas companies add to propane and natural gas to make the carbon monoxide gas detectable by smell.

If you think your unit has a gas leak, you should immediately switch the gas off to the appliance and contact a plumber to check and do essential repairs.

6. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

On the other hand, carbon monoxide gas is an odorless and colorless gas that you cannot smell and see. It is dangerous, and you need a special device to detect it. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide can lead to death, injury, and illness.

It is important for you to know that carbon monoxide leaks do not occur easily. They happen due to neglect, improper installation and handling, and no ventilation on your unit.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Fainting
  • Pain in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness

If you experience many of these signs, you should go out of your house immediately and breathe fresh air. Most importantly, you should call a professional to examine your water heater and the condition of the air and your house at once.

7. No Hot Water

Do you get hot water after a long time from the faucet? A lack of enough hot water is an indicator of a failing water heater.

A majority of standard water heaters have a storage tank of 30 gallons to 50 gallons (113 liters to 189 liters). When the water in the tank is heated by an electric source, the minerals present in the water accumulate at the base of the tank.

And gradually, these mineral deposits collect in the water storage tank and form a barrier between the burner and the water. Hence, less heat reaches the water, and you do not get hot water during your bath.

The more the mineral sediments are, the more your appliance has to work to heat the water. Ultimately, your unit will explode or stop functioning. It can also leak and lead to an exorbitant water bill. And you will have to replace your water heater altogether.

You can resolve this issue by flushing your water tank yearly. If your home gets hard water, you should buy water conditioning systems to keep your appliance running at its efficient level.

Main Causes of a Water Heater Explosion

The amount of pressure inside your water heater is a crucial factor that can cause the unit to explode or prevent it. If your appliance has too much pressure and this is not taken care of immediately, that’s the time explosion will occur.

Water heaters have TPR valves that let steam or water escape from them if the pressure or temperature gets extremely high. This prevents your unit from exploding.

Apart from this, flammable items can also increase the risk of explosion. A water heater that is surrounded by flammable items is in danger of exploding when it overheats due to insufficient ventilation.

Some Useful Tips

Here are some of a few things you should keep in mind to prevent your water heater from exploding:

  • You should check your appliance two times every year. You will be glad to know that many plumbing companies provide water heater maintenance services at a reasonable cost. They will repair or replace your water heater before any disaster happens.
  • Install an expansion tank if you have a closed water heater system.
  • Replace any malfunctioning or damaged valves of your unit as soon as possible, as most valves can be replaced.
  • You should check the condition of the TRP valve by manually raising it up. The valve should be able to open up by itself when required. Check the TRP valve every two months, and change it every three years.
  • The pressure inside your appliance should never reach 80 psi. Furthermore, the water heater should never work beyond 212°F (100°C). Therefore, set the thermostat of your unit to the ideal range. It’s worth knowing that the temperature should be less than 140°C (284°F), and the pressure should be less than 60 psi.


Without your water heater, you wouldn’t have hot water to wash your laundry or clean your utensils and dinnerware properly. That’s why it’s so essential that you take care of your water heater. If you don’t take care of your appliance, it might explode.

Like any other appliance, a water heater requires maintenance to keep it running efficiently for as long as possible. If you examine your unit and notice corrosion and leaks, your appliance is at risk of failure. You should contact the nearest plumbing company as early as possible to fix your water heater.

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