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What is a Thermal Expansion tank used for?

In California, there are different components that the California Plumbing Code requires in order to protect the Health & Safety of consumers. They provide a guideline for contractors to follow. Throughout the years the Plumbing Code's change. On your Water Heater, there are different components that the California Plumbing Code requires, Thermal Expansion tank being one of them.

What is Thermal Expansion?

Thermal Expansion occurs when an object or a fluid's temperature increases therefore it becomes larger. Have you ever tried opening a jar but it was so tight that you couldn't? You probably normally try some tricks such as hitting the lid softly to break the seal or get something to get a better grip. But what usually does the trick is you run hot water on the lid and suddenly you can open the jar easily, that is Thermal Expansion.


What is a Thermal Expansion Tank?

An expansion tank is installed on the water supply pipe to the water heater. Its purpose is to deal with the thermal expansion of water as it heats up in the water heater. Thermal expansion always occurs in water heaters. Like most substances, water expands as it is heated. Since water is non-compressible, it will increase in pressure and needs room to expand. California Plumbing Code Section 608.3 requires an expansion tank to be installed on the water heater when it is a closed system. A closed system is one that has a check valve, or backflow prevention device.

Thermal Expansion Tank

Do I need a Thermal Expansion Tank?

If you are installing a new Water Heater in California, your licensed contractor is required to install a Thermal Expansion Tank with your Water Heater to protect your Plumbing System. If you have an existing Water Heater there are currently no requirements to add to it, however, it is recommended by Plumbing Contractors to help prolong the life of your Water Heater and your Plumbing System.


As a Home Inspector, I will be inspecting that the Thermal Expansion tank is properly positioned, supported, and protected from corrosion or leakage as part of your Water Heater system installation.

Call today to schedule your Home Inspection at (951) 352-1855


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Diamond Property Inspections is a full service home inspection company serving Riverside County and surrounding areas. We provide professional, clear home inspection reports for buyers, sellers, and homeowners. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

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