Plumbing Tip: Does Your Home Have a Closed Loop System? Make Sure You Have an Expansion Tank

Plumbing Tip: Does Your Home Have a Closed Loop System

Another plumbing tip from our plumbers in Phoenix!

Most new homes today have closed loop systems. This means there are pressure reducing valves, or pressure regulators, that ensure water pressure remains between 50-80 PSI.
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Now, this also means the incoming water can only flow in one direction, which can cause issues when water is heated and expands with nowhere to go. Because of this, homes with closed loop systems need an expansion tank above the water heater.


What Is a Pressure Regulator?

High water pressure can cause serious plumbing issues. A pressure regulator is a valve that reduces the water pressure that comes from the main water line before it enters the plumbing fixtures of a home. This valve is typically located where the main waterline enters the home. Using a spring-loaded diaphragm, the pressure regulator constricts incoming water before releasing it into the home at a reduced pressure.


Pressure Regulators and Water Heaters: Thermal Expansion

Closed loop systems with pressure regulators are still vulnerable to pressure buildup caused by thermal expansion. When water is heated by the water heater, it expands and needs a place to go. This causes pressure to build rapidly in the tank and the house. Because of this, an expansion tank is necessary.


What Is an Expansion Tank?

An expansion tank protects closed water heating systems from pressure buildup.

The interior of the small tank is divided by with a rubber diaphragm. One side is dry, while the other side contains water and is connected to the pipes of the heating system.

The dry side of the tank contains highly compressible air. Water that expands from the water heater can flow into the expansion tank. There, the air compresses, which makes room for the expanded water. This gives the water a place to go without the pressure increasing significantly. As water pressure builds due to thermal expansion, the diaphragm moves compressed air to the other side of the tank.


Closed Loop Systems: Many Are in Need of an Update

Many houses with a pressure relief valve still don’t have an expansion tank, as it wasn’t required until recently. However, homeowners may have noticed water dripping intermittently from the relief valve on the water heater or washers that wear out quickly in plumbing fixtures. This pressure buildup due to thermal expansion can indeed cause issues, and installing an expansion tank will prevent further problems to arise.


Contact Moon Valley Plumbing to Install Your Expansion Tank

Is your home at risk of pressure buildup and plumbing problems? Make sure your home is safe and functional. Contact Moon Valley Plumbing to install your expansion tank and assess your system for safety and functionality today.

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