How Fragile Are Water Heaters? What You Should Know

Some homeowners are concerned about moving or adjusting their water heaters because they’ve heard they are fragile. Can you break a water heater by moving it?

Water heaters themselves are fairly sturdy but there are some components within the water heater that can be fragile. These include the dip tube and rod, both of which can be removed if you are overly concerned about damaging them.

Of course, just because you can move a water heater does not necessarily mean that you should not be cautious when moving it. As a major appliance, the water heater is expensive to repair or replace so you would not want to damage it if at all possible.

The best way to move a water heater is to do so slowly and easily. You can add some padding around the water heater to protect it in case it is bumped or jarred.

If you are moving the water heater on a vehicle, it is best to move it in an upright position and to have it strapped in so it doesn’t move around too much. Be cautious when driving that you don’t go over any large bumps and jar the inside of the water heater.

The bottom line is, you can certainly move a water heater and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. As long as you are careful, the water heater will be just fine.

Does A Water Heater Have Glass In It?

A serious concern for many people who are handling a water heater is the thought that there is a glass lining in it. Is this true?

An electric water heater is made of a steel tank but the inside lining of the steel has a composite sprayed on it to protect it from rusting. That composite includes glass. If the water heater is subjected to rough handling or if it is dropped, the protective layer can crack.

Most people have the thought that there is a solid glass lining wrapping the inside of the water heater. Actually, it is just some glass and other materials that are sprayed on the inside of the tank.

This lining helps to protect the tank so that it doesn’t rust or corrode and taint the water inside of it. In addition, it keeps the water inside the tank as clean as possible.

If you dent or drop a water heater, it is very possible that you will also be damaging the interior lining. It will not shatter, as if it were made of a solid sheet of glass but it will crack and could expose the steel to the water inside.

In addition, electric water heaters have wires and a variety of components that are protected by the shell. If the shell should crack, it would expose those components to corrosion.

Will A Dent Hurt A Hot Water Heater?

Are you installing a new water heater with a dent in it or did you accidentally dent your existing water heater? This may cause some concern but is it warranted?

A superficial dent to an electric water heater is not likely to cause any significant problems. Those dents are relatively common and really only harm the outer shell. On the other hand, if it is a deep and significant dent, it may have cracks in the lining of the inner shell.

It is not out of the ordinary to purchase electric water heaters and other major appliances at a ‘scratch and dent’ sale. Superficial scratches occur frequently, especially as the water heater is handled at the factory or stored at the warehouse.

If it is a brand-new water heater and you did not get a discount on it, it is best to take it back for a replacement or refund. Otherwise, you can check with the manufacturer to see if it is going to be a problem.

Contact the manufacturer directly and take pictures of the dent to share with them. More than likely, they will be able to identify the significance of the problem and give you some guidance as to what you should do.

That being said, if it is a significant dent, it is not out of the question for some of the interior components to be damaged as well. In the end, it is really up to you to decide if you want to take a chance with it or not.

Do I Need To Cover My Water Heater?

You may have heard that it is necessary to cover a water heater. Is this just a money-saving issue or is it necessary for other reasons?

Covering a water heater may save a few dollars per year on electric or gas, depending on the type of water heater you have. It is not typically essential to cover the water heater unless you live in a very cold climate and have the tank in an un-insulated part of the home, such as the garage or in outbuilding.

You may have heard that you can save hundreds of dollars per year by wrapping the water heater with an insulative cover. Although it certainly is possible to save some money, saving hundreds of dollars per year is really a top-end scenario.

You need to consider the cost of the cover along with the few dollars per year that you will be saving. Even if you are covering the water heater to reduce your carbon footprint, the manufacturing process for the cover would take some time to negate.

If you really want to know whether you should cover your water heater or not, feel the outside of it. There should be some insulation around the outside of the tank that is already helping to keep the heat inside and the cold air outside.

If you feel the outside of the water heater and it is significantly hot, then you may want to wrap it in insulation to save energy. Otherwise, let the insulation in the water heater do its job.

What Happens When A Hot Water Heater Breaks?

Are you worried about your water heater breaking? Here’s what you can expect if it happens.

At the very least, when your water heater breaks, your family will have to live without hot water until it is replaced. This can be an inconvenience but not necessarily one that you can’t live with. On the other hand, there are times when a water heater may fail and leak substantially, causing damage to the home.

Since there are some potentially significant problems associated with a catastrophic failure of the water heater, it is often a good idea to replace it before it fails. This would require that you look for some of the common symptoms that it is failing.

What are some of the signs that your water heater is failing? Here are a few to watch for.

  • Rusty Water
  • Sediment Buildup in the Tank
  • Noisy Water Heater
  • Leaking Water Heater

It is also beneficial to replace the water heater early because you can take your time and choose the replacement that is right for your home. It’s not always necessary to go with the same exact water heater, as you may want to choose one with a larger capacity or perhaps one that is more economical.


I love doing things around the house. I'm taking my years of experience as a homeowner and a full-time handyman and putting them here for your benefit. When I'm not writing, you can find me on the beach watching the waves come in. Call me Tom or Tommy, it's all the same to me.

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