Can Water Heater Explode: Read This Now!

Debarghya Roy

Water heaters are important for home life. But, there’s a fear of an explosion. To know the answer, it’s essential to know the types of heaters and causes of explosions.

Electric and gas-powered heaters can explode if not maintained properly. Too much pressure in the tank can build up over time and cause an explosion. To prevent this, a pressure relief valve is installed.

Gas-powered water heaters have extra risks when it comes to leaks. Carbon monoxide and fire hazards can occur. So, regular inspections and maintenance are key.

Warning signs that something is wrong with the heater include weird smells, noises, rusty water, leaks, and inconsistent hot water.

Homeowners should be proactive in maintaining their heaters. Professional inspections and addressing issues quickly can reduce the risk of explosions and protect loved ones.

Understanding the risks of Water Heater Explosion

  • Pressure valves are key to stopping explosions in water heaters. If they stop working, pressure can build in the tank and cause an explosion.
  • Gas leaks are another danger. Gas-powered heaters can release explosive gases.
  • Sediment buildup can cause too much heat and pressure in the tank.
  • Carbon monoxide is a silent threat from faulty or unvented water heaters. It is odorless and colorless and can be deadly.

Maintenance is necessary to identify issues that could become hazardous. Look out for corrosion, rust or leaks. Age also plays a role. Older components can break down and increase the risk of a malfunction.

Regular inspections with a professional plumber and repairs when needed can keep your home and family safe. Don’t wait. Act now.

Signs of a potential water heater explosion

Potential water heater explosions are risky and can cause harm to your home. Knowing the signals of a possible explosion can help avoid such disasters. Here are some key indicators to be aware of:

  • Foul Smell: A strong scent, especially of sulfur or rotten eggs, may mean a gas leak. Gas leaks can lead to explosions; so, this needs to be fixed straight away.
  • High Pressure: Too much pressure in the tank can cause water heater explosions. If the relief valve is always dripping or the pressure is too high, have it checked and repaired by a pro.
  • Popping Sounds: Unusual sounds coming from your water heater, like popping or banging, could signify an excessive buildup of sediment. This can cause overheating and potential explosions.
  • Rust and Corrosion: Rusty and corroded components in your water heater not only affect its efficiency, but can also lead to explosions. Have it checked regularly for any rusted areas to be repaired or replaced.
  • Water Leaks: A leaking water heater may seem minor, but if ignored, it can cause dangerous situations. The combination of leaking water and hot surfaces can result in explosions.
  • Fluctuating Temperature: Extreme temperature fluctuations without any adjustments made by you may signals a malfunctioning thermostat or heating element. Fix these issues quickly to prevent risks.

Regular maintenance and inspections are essential for homeowners to identify and solve potential issues. Professional inspections can mitigate risks and make sure the water heater runs efficiently.

Be alert and take care of these warning signs to minimize the risk of a water heater explosion. Always get professional help for repairs or maintenance tasks, as they have the expertise to handle these situations safely. For preventive measures, make sure to schedule regular maintenance or risk becoming a real-life hot water superhero!

Preventive Measures for Water Heater Explosion

To keep your water heater in tip-top shape, regular maintenance and preventative measures are key. Here are a few things you should do:

  • Check the pressure relief valve annually.
  • Flush the tank to remove sediment buildup once a year.
  • Be on the lookout for warning signs such as strange smells or carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Adjust the thermostat temperature to avoid excess pressure.
  • If you notice any issues, contact a professional plumber immediately.

Also, inspect the bottom of the hot water heater tank for rust or damage. Doing this can help you identify potential problems before they become serious.

Fun Fact: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 5,000 people get injured due to water heater malfunctions annually.

What to do if you suspect an issue: Don’t let your water heater explode. Call a professional right away!

What to do if you suspect an issue of Water Heater Explosion

Be wary of water heater issues! Act quickly to prevent potential risks or damage. Here’s what to do:

  1. Power switch: For an electric heater, turn off the breaker box. For gas, turn off the gas supply valve.
  2. Water supply: Locate the cold-water shut-off valve near the top of your water heater and turn it clockwise.
  3. Pressure release: Open a hot water tap inside the house to release any built-up pressure. Be careful – the water might be hot.
  4. Check for leaks: Look for signs of leaks at all connections and valves. Contact a professional plumber if you spot any.
  5. Call a pro: If you’re not sure how to handle the issue, or if it’s more serious, call a licensed plumber or HVAC technician.
  6. Schedule maintenance: To avoid future issues, arrange regular maintenance with a professional service provider.

Additionally, sediment buildup can lead to decreased efficiency and potential overheating. Flush your tank regularly to prevent this.

HomeServe USA reports hundreds of deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty gas-powered water heaters in the US alone. This stresses the importance of proper installation and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a water heater explode?

Yes, a water heater can explode if certain conditions are present. While it is rare, a buildup of pressure inside the tank can cause it to rupture and explode.

Can an electric water heater explode?

Yes, an electric water heater can explode if there is a malfunction in the pressure relief valve or thermostat. Excess pressure can build up, causing the tank to explode.

Can a tankless water heater explode?

While it is less likely, a tankless water heater can explode if there is a malfunction in the heating elements or thermostat. However, the risk of explosion is lower compared to traditional water heaters.

What can cause a water heater to explode?

Several factors can cause a water heater to explode, including high pressure buildup, a faulty pressure relief valve, excessive heat, gas leaks, or sediment buildup in the tank. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent these issues.

Can a leaking water heater explode?

Although a leaking water heater can be a sign of potential problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will explode. However, if the leak is accompanied by high pressure or a faulty pressure relief valve, there is a risk of explosion. It’s crucial to address any leaks promptly.

Can an empty water heater explode?

An empty water heater is not likely to explode on its own. However, if the tank is pressurized or there are other contributing factors like gas leaks or excessive heat, there is a possibility of explosion. It is best to avoid emptying a pressurized water heater without professional assistance.


Explosions from water heaters are very rare. But, it’s wise to know the risk and take precautions. Regular maintenance, like checking the pressure relief valve and installing it properly, can reduce the chances of an explosion. Warning signs like smells, carbon monoxide, and high pressure should be heeded. A pro should be called if any issues are spotted.

Factors that can increase the risk of an explosion include sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank, rust, and damage to components. These can lead to leaks and extra pressure.

Gas leaks in water heaters can be dangerous. If there’s an ignition source, like a pilot light, explosions can happen. Homeowners need to address gas leaks right away and call a professional.

About the author

Debarghya Roy: A heating systems author, Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, Sharing insights and empowering readers through informative blog articles.