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Exploding Water Heaters And Home Networking

by The Handyguys

in Audio Only Podcasts, Home Technology, Plumbing

Exploding water heaters and home networking are discussed on this episode of The Handyguys Podcast.

Can a hot water heater really explode? The Handyguys address a comment on their website regarding a hot water heater that has expanded and caused the pipes above to leak. Fortunately, there were no explosions. The Handyguys also tackle the family handyperson and home networking. That’s right, if you are the handyperson in your house, you should have some understanding of basic networking.

Water Heaters

Basic components of a water heater, T&P, expansion tank, water supply, gas lineThe Handyguys received this comment from Sandra:

My hot water heater bowed at the bottom of the tank and forced the tank upward which caused the pipes to leak. Could you tell me what would cause this?

Brian and Paul address potential causes of this hot water heater failure. Fortunately, disaster was avoided but the tank should not expand like that. It seems that there is an important safety element missing from that heater. You can also get more information on water heaters from Episode 13. Sandra, replace the water heater immediately.

You can see what The MythBusters were able to achieve with water heaters with disabled safety devices in this video.

Home Networking

LAN CableIn part 2 of the episode, Paul explains how the family handyman can improve the home networking configuration. In Paul’s opinion, wireless networking technology is just not reliable enough for many of today’s home electronics and entertainment devices. WiFi Access PointThe Handyguys are big fans of running Ethernet cabling throughout the house and specifically to home offices and entertainment centers. More and more television and movies are being delivered via the internet so it is good to have reliable connectivity. Listen to the podcast for more information, especially listen as to The Handyguys are interested in high quality video delivery via the Internet.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

t metcalfe February 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

What a wonderful blog!

You offer some very good tips.


Matt Nelson February 14, 2010 at 1:26 am

I had seen the other mythbuster show that involved steam but not this one. Wow! What a blast!
As a plumbing engineer I remember flipping through a old water heater manufacturer’s catalog showing devastated, burned out houses. And they would try to sell their products with fear and the promise of safety. Now that I think about the mythbusters episode above, observe that the water heater in the mythbusters example was electric, imagine what the aftermath of a gas water heater, spewing flammable gas into your basement, would cause! It’s amazing that we often don’t even think about the seriousness of heating water now a days with the safeties that exist on our equipment.


The Handyguys February 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for commenting Matt. Maybe someday we could do a fun test and video it in Mythbusters style.


mr.e-man February 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Hey Handy Guys! I’m a relatively new listener and I’m loving the show. I’m an IT Manager that secretly wishes he could be a better DIY’er while at home. This episode especially turned my ear because of the home networking aspect. Great info. In the future I’d really like to hear more about how to pull wires through existing walls, etc. I’ve got an older home that’s relatively small and may consider running Cat6 jacks in the future. I’m a big WiFi fan, but I understand there are times when a hard line comes in really handy. I’ve already ran wiring to areas that are easily accessible through my crawl space. It’s the “up and through the walls” wiring that makes me cringe a bit. Keep up the good work!


The Handyguys February 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Thanks Dave! Paul and I both work in IT management for our day jobs as well. Paul has some wire fishing tricks that involve chain. I know he is eager to share them so I wont spoil it. Part of figuring out how to fish wires involves understanding how something is constructed. Sometime you need to cut open walls but there are tricks to avoid it. We may do a whole show on just how to fish wires.

Oh, and I have two cat5 lines run to my home entertainment system, one for DISHOnline and one for my Blueray player. I’m adding a Roku player later this week and will be running a THIRD Ethernet cable from my wiring closet (yes I have a punchdown block). i suppose I could use a LAN switch in my home entertainment system but the cable and jacks I have, the switch I don’t.

Thanks for listening.


Michael Beaudoin February 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

Hey. Great podcast. This one was especially good.

I have an older home so it’s a bit tough to run cable/ethernet all throughout the house, though I’m working on it.

I have a Roku box, and an Apple Airport Extreme wi-fi router. It uses 802.11n. It’s dual band and as of yet I have had no interference as of yet. When I watch the Roku box it downloads fast and it’s always the highest quality. I would suggest those looking at wi-fi to go the “n” route, and look for a dual band router.

Just my 2¢ worth.



The Handyguys February 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Thanks Michael! Paul has been enjoying his Roku, mine should be here any day. Good tip on the wifi. I’m going to go hard wired for my Roku, I’ll steal the cable from my BlueRay player until I have a chance to fish another cable.


Aluminum Extrusions February 18, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the tips guys. My home network has been performing at a low level for the last couple weeks. I put some of your tips into practice and have already seen some improvement. I think I may need some better equipment soon. Thanks for your help!


Chase February 19, 2010 at 5:29 am

What a great resource!


Roger September 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

We have an A.O. Smith water heater 75 gal circa 2000 and have been getting small white crystals caught in our filters. Neighbors do not have this problem and the water company says this is the water heater with the elements disolving. Also the water in the shower goes cold if someone is using the sink.

Please adise – is this a safety issue?

Roger O’Callaghan


The Handyguys September 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

Yes, this is either the anode rods nearing end of life or the heating elements (if its electric).

Both are easy to replace. I would first start with the anode rods. An anode rod is a sacrificial rod that dissolves before corrosive water can damage other internal parts to the water heater.
If the rod is completely gone and you have an electric water heater you may also need to replace the element(s) (Probably two, one near the top, one near the bottom)

Also, while working on the water heater, you should drain the tank to remove sediment from the bottom.

Good luck
Handyguy Brian


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