Your water heater’s relief valve has a vital role to play where safety is concerned.
Should either the temperature or the pressure inside the tank become dangerously high, the relief valve will open up, thus preventing serious problems from ensuing.
Yet relief valves are prone to develop pesky and annoying leaks as time goes on.
This article will discuss two potential causes of such leaks, as well as how to fix the problem.
Excessive Tank Pressure
Chronically high pressure inside of a water heater is one of the most common causes of relief valve leaks.
To determine whether this is the cause of your leak, you will need to invest a few dollars in a pressure gauge.
This device is designed to screw your water heater’s outlet valve. When the valve is opened up, the gauge will give you a reading of the pressure.
Relief valve leaks generally start to occur when the pressure climbs to above 150 psi.
Ideally, the pressure should be somewhere between 40 and 80 psi.
High water heater tank pressure can generally be alleviated through the installation of an expansion tank.
As the water in the heater warms up, it expands which causes the tank pressure to increase. An expansion tank gives this additional volume of water somewhere to go, thus keeping the pressure down inside the water heater.
Worn Out Relief Valve
Relief valves are subject to near constant pressure -not to mention high temperatures.
For that reason, it is not uncommon for the valve’s washers and other internal components to become damaged over time.
If the pressure inside your tank does not seem to be a problem, you may need to replace the valve entirely to stop it from leaking.
Fortunately, new relief valves are relatively inexpensive.