Western Engineering & Research Corporation
A major insurer sent a water heater to Western Engineering (www.werc.com) to evaluate the cause of water leak damaging a homeowner’s residence. Evaluation of potential failure points, it was determined that the leak came from a faulty drain valve. The useful life of a water heater is commonly between 8 and 14 years, and the water heater evaluated for leaking was ten years old. In evaluation of the valve that failed, there was no observed evidence of tampering, abuse, or misuse leading to failure. It is probable that the failure occurred due to exposure to ambient conditions, and degradation of the Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) used in the water heater drain valve. A matching new part is shown side by side with the failed valve below, showing the degraded parts. Mineral deposits and the use of municipal water possibly containing elevated chlorine levels likely contributed to degradation.
Damaged Valve alongside Exemplar