Did you know that many systems in your home require preventative maintenance? We take many of them for granted, and the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy takes over. However, much like your automobile, your home appliances require occasional upkeep to prevent a catastrophic failure.
ARCCA was recently asked to investigate a case involving a domestic hot water heater that ruptured in the basement of a residence. This involved a large release of energy when the tank wall failed along a seam in the tank. It caused the hot water heater tank to slam into the furnace next to it, displacing the furnace by several inches. Luckily no one was injured in the explosion. It did, however, cause significant water damage to the basement.
Upon inspection, it was found that the anode rod inside the tank, which contains a special sacrificial material that is designed to prevent corrosion to the steel tank, was completely consumed. The inside of the tank began to corrode, weakening the walls, until the tank ruptured at the seam. The manual for the incident hot water heater stated that the anode rod should be removed from the tank every three years for inspection, and replaced if the rod is depleted. Had the anode rod been inspected and replaced, it is likely that this catastrophic failure would not have occurred. In this case, preventative maintenance would have prolonged the life of the hot water heater and prevented significant property damage.