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The Thermal Release Device (TRD) went off in my RUUD™ water heater. I am extremely concerned that the oil released when the TRD went off is now in the water system. I am very afraid that the oil released onto the water heater, and some the even got on the wall of the water heater closet, has created toxic air in my home. I am looking for the specific oil that is released so that I may find out how toxic my home is and how I can get rid of the toxins in the water and in the air. Can someone please tell me the specific oil used? Also a brand would be very helpful. Thank you.

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  • The liquid doesn't extinguish the flame directly, the liquid is in a vial that holds a spring valve open. If the vial bursts, the valve shuts off the flow of fresh air to the combustion chamber. I've just spent some time looking for the MSDS for the fluid, but so far I haven't had any luck. Sep 15 at 19:16
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    Why not contact RUUD? They would have all the information. Even down to the specific fluid.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 15 at 19:23
  • First things first: Have you tried cleaning it off with soap and water?
    – user253751
    Sep 15 at 19:39

1 Answer 1

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According to the answers on this DIY question, the TRD is a Thermal Release Device that goes off if the combustion chamber temperature gets too high and is designed to cut off the flow of air in order to extinguish the flame to prevent any runaway combustion leading to your house burning down.

Since this takes place in the combustion chamber, there's no way for the fluid in the device to enter your drinking water plumbing, so there's nothing to worry about in terms of toxicity in the water.

Since it releases into the air in the combustion chamber to extinguish the fire, it's possible that some has vaporized and got into the general air circulation within your house. However, it's also likely that the vast majority of it burned as the burner in your water heater was extinguished, leaving very little to disperse. It's equally possible that the liquid simply left the vial in which it's stored and is sitting as a little puddle or thin coating on the bottom of the combustion chamber somewhere.

In my estimation, there is little to nothing to worry about, though the only way to be 100% certain would be to contact RUUD and ask them.

If you're concerned about this happening again in the future, you might want to ensure your new water heater doesn't use a liquid for this purpose. Now's a good time to decide since, according to the answers at that other question, you will be shopping for a new water heater now - this doesn't seem to be a replaceable item. Additionally, I'd recommend contacting RUUD about the issue anyway as it seems that they to want to know any time one of these goes so they can investigate why and make future heaters more safe.

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    Forgot to mention: RUUD wouldn't be stupid enough to make a water heater that would poison people
    – user253751
    Sep 15 at 19:29
  • You'd really like to think that, @user253751, but some companies design products even highly regulated products (I'm looking at you 737-Max) with unintentional serious design flaws. But, in general, I'd agree with you.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 15 at 19:34
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    occasionally some products do poison people, but it's very much the exception, so it's not something to worry about unless you have a particular reason to worry about it.
    – user253751
    Sep 15 at 19:39

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