What Causes a Hot Water Heater to Burst?

colorado springs plumber

Hot water heaters are designed to provide a steady flow of hot water to households and commercial buildings. Despite their durability, these tanks can fail over time, leading to costly repairs or even complete replacement. One of the most serious problems that can occur with a hot water heater is a burst. 

A burst hot water heater can cause significant damage to your home and even lead to flooding. As the top Colorado Springs plumbers, we at One Source Home Service have seen this happen time and time again. In this article, we compiled the top causes that lead to a burst water heater in the hopes of helping you avoid this disaster.

Does Your Water Heater Need Repair?


One of the primary causes of a hot water heater bursting is overheating. Hot water heaters are designed to operate at a specific temperature range. When the temperature exceeds this range, the tank can become overpressurized, causing the tank to rupture. 

This overheating problem can be caused by a faulty thermostat, a malfunctioning temperature and pressure relief valve, or even a buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank. If you think your water heater tank has been overheating recently, we recommend contacting a Colorado Springs plumber to help you troubleshoot the problem.


Hot water heaters are made of metal and are subjected to constant exposure to water and heat. Over time, the metal can become corroded and weaken, making it more prone to bursting. In addition to the tank itself, corrosion can also occur in the fittings and other components, increasing the risk of a burst. 

Sometimes parts that are experiencing this buildup of corrosion can be replaced. If the corrosion gets out of hand, the entire tank will need to be replaced. The longer the corrosion exists, the greater the chance of a burst.

Sediment Buildup 

Hot water heaters that use hard water can develop a buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank. Over time, the sediment can harden and cause the tank to become overpressurized, leading to a burst. Regular flushing of the tank can prevent sediment buildup and minimize the risk of a bust. Because of this, we highly recommend a regular maintenance check of your water heater by a Colorado Springs plumber.

Improper Installation

The hot water heaters that are installed improperly can be at an increased risk of bursting. This can include incorrect placement, poor ventilation, or insufficient water pressure. In addition, hot water heaters that are installed in areas that are prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters can be at an increased risk of bursting.

We have met many homeowners over the course of our service in the area who enjoy all sorts of DIY projects. However, DIY projects that involve the installation of a water tank frequently end with these types of bursts. These installations require a higher level of expertise to ensure that they are performed in a safe and quality manner. Having your water heater installed by a Colorado Springs plumber will help you avoid these problems.


Hot water heaters have a limited lifespan; as they age, they can become more prone to bursting. The average lifespan of a hot water heater is between eight and 12 years, after which it is recommended to replace the unit. If your water heater is coming to the end of its lifespan, reach out to a local plumber in your area to learn about the available replacement options for you.

Freeze Damage

In areas where temperatures can drop below freezing, hot water heaters can be at risk of freeze damage. If the water in the tank freezes, it can cause it to expand and rupture. To minimize the risk of freeze damage, it is recommended to insulate the hot water heater or to turn off the water supply to the unit and drain the tank during cold weather.

Quality Colorado Springs Plumber Services 

Are you having issues with your water heater? Whether it is the risk of bursting or other challenges, the technicians at One Source Home Service or just a phone call away to help you regulate and resolve these problems. Give us a call at (719) 751-5366.

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