Can a Water Heater Explode?
Ever wondered can a water heater explode? Though very rare, water heaters can explode with enough force to destroy your home and propel the water heater up to 500 feet in the air. Water Heaters generally explode because of issues with T & P (temperature and pressure) relief valves. These valves are vital in the protection from high temperature and pressure build up. Pressure alone can not explode a water heater, but when coupled with the heat of super heated water, these explosions can occur with devastating consequences.
This type of explosion is called a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion). BLEVE’s are caused by the rupture of a tank containing liquids that are way above there atmospheric boilng point. In plain words the tank is under a tremendous amount of pressure (200 + PSI) and the water’s boiling point is raised because of the high pressure. When the tank fails (ruptures), the boiling point falls rapidly resulting in the water and vapor boiling violently and expanding. This violent boiling and expansion causes the pressure wave which propels the water heater.
Water Heater Explosion (Video)
This video is from the Myth Busters series and shows a staged water heater explosion. Watch the destruction as the water heater launches through the roof. The Myth Busters like to blow stuff up, but this water heater explosion takes the prize on the “Oh Shit” factor. If this heater were in your new home, call your insurance agent and start shopping for another house!
Ready for take off? Here we have another video from Myth Busters. Notice the explosive forces that occur when a water heater explodes. It takes almost 13 seconds for the heater to come back to earth after reaching a height of 500 feet! You could go take a dump while the water heater falls back to the ground.
Drinking out in the woods leads to bad ideas, but in this video it is taken to a new level! Safety was not a concern when filming this video. Think “The Deliverance” lots of booze with not a lot of brains. These guys must have had golden horse shoes up their asses. We wouldn’t be caught dead this close to an exploding water heater. This video shows a few guys coming up with the bright idea of launching a water heater into the clouds. The heater has more than 10 seconds of hang time and lands 75 yards away from our back woods scientists. Heres a hint, don’t run out of gas in their neck of the woods. Think about it.
This cast comes to us from Phoenix. Luckily no one was home to enjoy the fireworks. The heater launched itself straight through the garage roof and landed 300 feet away on street corner. The house is a complete loss. All the walls were blown off the foundation and parts of the roof were found in the neighbors house. Time to pull the new home listings out!
In this video Randal Hilton and crew purposely cause a water heater to explode. Other than the poor choice of peaceful music, there is nothing peaceful about this explosion! The heater launches with a velocity of 900 FPS, about the same speed as a 9mm handgun. The heater took a 9.3 seconds round trip up to an altitude of probably 400+ feet landing nearly 400 feet away in the grass. Next time this group of yahoos make a video they should pick some real music.
Here is an old school video from Watts Regulator. This video is vintage in every way. I remember watching this video when I was younger and thinking it was F’ing hilarious. Now when I watch it there is nothing funny about your house blowing up!
So when you hear a licensed plumber say “we think your water heaters should be installed by skilled professionals” they aren’t making it up. We have seen plenty of water heaters over the years that were ready for countdown before being replaced. “The Plumber Protects the Health and Safety of the Nation.”