hot water tank

Plumbing

Expansion Tanks & Why They're Important

If your home’s utilizes a boiler and radiators for heating, expansion tanks are an important factor. Hydronic heating produces energy-efficient home comfort as water heated by the boiler circulates through radiators in each room. However, one specific fact of physics presents an issue: Water expands when heated. As the water volume inside a closed hydronic system increases with heat, the mounting pressure has nowhere to go and could potentially trigger pressure relief valves, over-stress system components, and degrade reliability. That’s where expansion tanks come in to relieve that pressure.

Here’s how an expansion tank protects your heating system:

  • Connected to the water line between the boiler and radiators, the tank is divided into two segments: an upper half that receives water expanding under heat and an empty lower half that contains only pressurized air. A flexible rubber diaphragm separates the two halves of the tank.

  • When the system cycles on and the boiler is heating, water volume in the system expands. The resultant pressure increase pushes water into the top half of the expansion tank. The flexible rubber diaphragm expands downward to accommodate this influx and moderating pressure in the system, preventing actuation of relief valves and/or damage to components.

  • When the system turns off, water cools and system water volume decreases. Air pressure in the lower portion of the expansion tank pushes against the rubber diaphragm to expel water out of the upper portion and back into the system. This ensures that system water volume always remains in the safe range, without admitting air into the system.

Here’s a quick way to check expansion tank functioin. While the system’s running, feel the upper part of the tank. It should feel noticeably warm to the touch. The lower portion, however, should feel like room temperature. If both the upper and lower portions of the tank feel warm, contact a qualified HVAC service provider to check the condition of the internal diaphragm and make necessary repair or replacement.

For more information about the installation and maintenance of expansion tanks, contact the professionals at Air Assurance.

Plumbing

How to Drain Pipes to Prevent Freezing

How to Drain Pipes to Prevent Freezing

If you have any property in the northern climate zones, that are going to be left uninhabited during the winter months, you must drain pipes to prevent freezing. Although not a very difficult task, it can be a bit tedious because you have to be sure that most, if not all, of the water has been purged to prevent damage to the pipes.When you drain pipes to prevent freezing, make sure the main water supply valve has been turned off first, and it is usually located in the basement or a crawl space next to the water meter. Once the water has been turned off, you can proceed.

  • Always start on the top floor. Water runs down with gravity, so drain pipes to prevent freezing on the upper floor first.

  • Turn on all faucets. Any leftover pressure will force water out of these fixtures.

  • Drain toilet tanks and bowls. Flush the toilets repeatedly until all of the tank water is drained. If possible, scoop out as much of the toilet bowl water that you can. If that can't be done, pour in a cup of biodegradable RV anti-freeze into the bowl. This will keep the left over water from freezing.

  • Drain your hot water tank. Turn off the gas or electric power first, than drain the tank fully. A siphon effect will pull out most of the leftover hot and cold water from the pipes.

  • Drain pipes. There are two things you can do for drain pipes. You can send compressed air into each drain to force the water out. If you don't have an air compressor, you can pour biodegradable RV anti-freeze into each drain. Doing either one of these will ensure that your drain pipes won't freeze and rupture.

By following these simple tips, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your pipes will be intact and problem free next time they are used.

If you need more information about draining your pipes, please feel free to contact Air Assurance. We've been serving the  Broken Arrow and Tulsa area since 1985.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Paul-Tessier/Shutterstock”