Typically, as a homeowner, your hot water heater is not something you look at or check on a regular basis. You install it (or have it installed) and forget about it until one day you have a problem! You may or may not notice a little water coming from your water heater. It could come from the temperature pressure relief valve in the form of just a few drips or a gush of water. The cause for leakage could be linked back to the expansion of the water in the tank and now it has nowhere to go. The purpose of a Thermal Expansion Tank is to act as an overflow for the excess water created by the water heating.
A Thermal Expansion Tank can be added to your hot water tank at any time. It does not need to be done when your are replacing an old tank. But if you are replacing a water heater, you should add a thermal expansion tank!
A Thermal Expansion Tank for use on storage tank hot water heaters is typically a small carbon steel tank - usually either 2.1 gallons or 4.5 gallons. They are lined with a rubber membrane to help protect the tank from corrosion. They are designed to be installed on the cold water line. The ZEP5 can be installed vertically or horizontally (as long as it is fully supported independently from the piping). The ZEP5 is a 2.1 gallon tank and is perfect for use with hot water tanks from 40 - 50 gallons. The set point for this type of tank is 150°F. The ZEP5 comes with a factory pre-charge of 40 psi. This may need to be adjusted depending on the water pressure in your home.
Brass plumbing fittings are recommended for installation as they will tend to last longer. The thermal expansion tank is typically installed on the cold water line.