Installing a Thermal Expansion Tank: A comprehensive guide

A thermal expansion tank can be a vital component of your plumbing system that helps maintain the longevity and efficiency of your water heater. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the principles of how a thermal expansion tank works, the recent changes in installation requirements, and the step-by-step process of proper installation.

Water heater warranty, thermal expansion

How a Thermal Expansion Tank Works

Before we delve into the installation process, it’s essential to understand how a thermal expansion tank functions. This device helps manage the pressure in your water heater system. As water heats up, it expands, leading to increased pressure. The thermal expansion tank serves as an overflow reservoir for this excess water, preventing dangerous pressure buildups.

A new PRV can help protect the water heater and thermal expansion tank.

To work correctly, the air pressure in the thermal expansion tank needs to match the water pressure in your plumbing system. First, you’ll need to measure and possibly adjust your water pressure. Once you have established a consistent water pressure, you can set the air pressure in the thermal expansion tank to match. It may be necessary to install a Pressure Regulating Valve in order to set your water pressure, we usually adjust ours to 68psi.

Understanding the Changes in Installation Requirements

Installation requirements for thermal expansion tanks have evolved over time. Current manufacturers often require these tanks to be installed in an upright position to ensure optimal operation and safety.

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The Correct Position for a Thermal Expansion Tank

Here are some crucial considerations for the correct placement and installation of your thermal expansion tank:

  1. The tank should be installed upright, as now required by most manufacturers’ requirements.
  2. The tank should be located at least 18″ away from the vent connector for the water heater.
  3. The tank must be supported by something other than the piping such as a bracket or strap.
  4. The tank should not be installed on the hot side and should be positioned about 18″ from the inlet of the water heater.
  5. The tank should be installed between the water heater shutoff valve and the inlet for the tank.

Proper installation and setup of a thermal expansion tank are crucial for the efficient operation and longevity of your water heater. If you’re unsure about any step in the process or prefer professional assistance, the team at KC Water Heaters is ready to help. As the original water heater specialists in Kansas City, we have the expertise and experience to handle all your water heater needs.