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Old 05-31-2009, 10:09 AM   #15
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The point of my post is that repairs to a pressure vessel should only be made by Qualified personnel. An OPE (over pressurization explosion) is typically contributed to the lack of, or a non-functioning PRD (pressure relief device), a system blockage, or a faulty tank. It does not take much over pressurization to cause a vessel to explode. If the tank is old this can occur at a pressure below the PRD rating. The water heater in out trailers is just that…a pressure vessel.

In the case of Avon High School it was only a 5-gallon water heater that exploded. The subsequent investigation showed several contributing factors lead to the failure and the subsequent explosion. Pay particular attention to paragraphs 6, 7, and 8. What I’m getting at, is that a pressure vessel is nothing to screw around with. How many of us visually inspect, or manually open the PRD on our water heaters, or have the means to perform an internal visual inspection? You combine a back flow prevention device (check valve), a possibly compromised water heater tank, in a closed system, you’ll fortunate if all you end up with is a leak.

If a 5-gallon water heater can do that to a CMU wall, think about what it would do to an aluminum clad trailer. When I sleep, my head is within 3 feet of the water heater in my trailers. If that thing ever gives me any hint of trouble it will be replaced.

In my other life I am involved in the evaluation of fired, and un-fired pressure vessels. In a typical year we examine 200 to 300 of them. Several years ago I was involved in a failure analysis that resulted in a death. The incident occurred when a portable air compressor tank exploded. The air compressor was mounted on a service truck behind the cab. It exploded at a pressure of around 90psi, which was less than the MWAP (maximum allowable working pressure), and less than the PRD pop-off rating. The report contributed the failure to cross sectional wall loss (thinning of the vessel tank shell).

The bottom line is: Are willing to put your family at risk to save a few bucks?

Disclaimer: This is not directed at anyone, it is for the benefit of the group. Please don't take this as an attack on any posts, or forum memebrs.

Off the Bully Pulpit.....Respectfully I might Add...


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 05-31-2009, 11:32 AM   #16
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Kevin - I couldn't get the video to work, but even w/o I can certainly get your point & respect it!!! My thoughts on a possible weld for the HWT were exactly why I am glad you put in your post. I think safety is of utmost importance & having others contribute to the whys and why nots of a given question only help the majority. Thank you for taking the time to put in the words of caution to any of us who are non-experienced do it yourselfers.

Leigh (IB Aluminated)

"When a great ship is in harbour and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for." by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, author of ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’
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