About Me

Talking About Preventative Plumbing Services

Hey there, my name is Russell Tyson. I am going to use this site to educate my readers about services offered by plumbing professionals. When I first started my company, I was unaware of all the necessary plumbing procedures needed to keep the toilets from backing up. My clients often failed to notify me when a toilet started to fail, likely due to embarrassment or a lack of time. Luckily, I was clued into the value of hiring plumbers to perform regular maintenance and repairs on the toilets to keep them in fine shape. I hope to detail those services on this site to inspire others to embrace preventative plumbing procedures.


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Talking About Preventative Plumbing Services

Understanding and Fixing a Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Issue

by Charlie Clarke

Many plumbing problems in the home can be identified fairly easily since leak, clog, and fixture issues are quite obvious. Fixes are usually somewhat easy, too, unless you are dealing with one of your plumbing appliances. For example, if you notice water coming out of your hot water tank, you may not know what to do. If you have this problem, then find out how to troubleshoot and repair the issue.

Understanding the Pressure Relief Valve

If you see some water leaking out of the small drain line attached to your water heater, then this water is coming from the temperature and pressure relief valve. This valve sits on the top or side of your water heater and it is attached to a small drain line that typically runs to an open basement drain. The valve releases water if the temperature and pressure inside the tank reach an unsafe level.

This can happen due to a process called thermal expansion. When water is pulled into the tank, it is cold until the anodes or the burner heat it up. When the temperature of the water increases, so does the volume. This elevates the pressure inside the heater and places a great deal of stress on the tank. Water then must be released from the tank to reduce the stress so the tank does not burst. This water is forced out of the pressure relief valve. 

Fixing a Temperature Issue

In most cases, the pressure relief valve will only release a small amount of water each day. It is abnormal to see more than a few drips come from the drain line attached to the device. If you see water pouring out of the drain and valve or if you notice water pooling on top of the open drain, then there is a problem. If you have recently elevated the temperature of your water heater, then this might be the cause. This means that water is expanding more than usual and more pressure needs to be relieved. The pressure relief valve is working correctly. However, if the valve is used too much, then minerals may clog it over time. Minerals from hard water will dissolve in warm water and they will deposit inside the valve and solidify. This can cause serious issues if the valve clogs completely. A leak then may form in the side of the tank to release the pressure.

To reduce concerns, look at the temperature setting on your water heater. If the temperature is above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, then think about lowering it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most infectious disease and appliance professionals agree that this is the ideal setting. The temperature keeps the water heater energy efficient, free from bacteria growth, and safe from scalding children and adults. The pressure relief valve also will only have to release small drips of water.

Repairing a Malfunctioning Valve

If your water heater is already set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or if the pressure release valve still spews water after you make an adjustment, then the device may be malfunctioning. A typical malfunction will occur when the valve opens and fails to close. This allows more water to flow out of the device than is necessary. This type of issue indicates either a weak pressure valve or one that is stuck open due to the accumulation of minerals and other sediment. A weak valve is not much of an issue, but the start of a clog is a serious safety problem. It is best to simply replace the valve if a malfunction is noticed.

You can release the drain line, screw off the old valve, and secure a new one. If you are not confident about completing this task, then consider hiring your plumber to do it for you. This is wise since the device is a vital safety feature that needs to work correctly. Look for plumbing service by Belanger Plumbing & Heating or another plumbing company in your area.