Relief Valve Leak


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Old 04-15-12, 12:50 PM
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Relief Valve Leak

Hello there.

Earlier this week the gas was shut off, then restored yesterday. After relighting the pilot on the water heater, I turned the thermostat to it's previous setting. However, shortly afterwords the relief valve started leaking.

I've since discovered that at any notch above 'warm', the valve will leak and more the higher it is. The highest warm setting does not seem to be getting the job done (though I may not have allowed enough time for it to heat through). Since the valve does not leak at any of the warm settings, could it still need replacing? Or might there be another cause.

Thanks for any help!
 
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Old 04-16-12, 10:59 AM
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The TPR valve should open to relieve high pressure or high temperature. If the water is not getting that hot, it may be a pressure problem. Have you checked the pressure of your plumbing over a 24 hour period?

The pressure gauge pictured is available from any home center and most hardware stores. It is a cheap (under $10) diagnostic tool that every home owner should have.



The reset-able needle will show the highest pressure measured over time. Home plumbing should never go over 80 psi. Water pressure over that, either continuous or intermittent spikes, is very damaging to various components of household plumbing. It can shorten the component's life or cause catastrophic leaks from burst tubing.

What would you say is the volume of flow from the "leak"?

Chuck
 
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Old 04-17-12, 06:09 PM
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I will see about getting one and testing that, though I don't believe the water pressure in the house has changed since this started.

The leak is just a trickle a notch or so into the 'hot' section, then increases to a pretty considerable flow when turned up several more notches (kind of hard to explain, lol).
 
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Old 04-17-12, 07:43 PM
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It could be just an aging TPR that doesn't seal as well as it should. I presume there is a pipe attached to the valve to lead the discharge away from the water heater. TPR valves are not expensive so if it had to be replaced it would not be a killer.

You could try lifting the lever on the TPR valve to "exercise" it a few times. This may flush mineral scale or other debris that may be keeping the valve from sealing properly. Most experts say to test the TPR every 6 to 12 months to make sure it opens and closes and to check that it is not obstructed.

I would still get a pressure gauge and check the internal pressure. Think of it as checking the "blood pressure" of your plumbing system. Just like with us, high pressure can be a silent killer.

Good luck and let us all know what you find out.

Chuck
 
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Old 04-18-12, 05:39 AM
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I had checked the valve a few times previously, sealed up fine though only on the lower temperature settings. Turned it up half a notch last night which caused it to drain slightly, but stopped by morning. Now have it turned up another half a notch or so and it's draining a decent amount, waiting to see if it'll clear up again.

Turns out that last turn was too much. It kept draining quite a bit so I turned it down, and is back to draining just a bit.
 

Last edited by asdf_msc; 04-18-12 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 04-18-12, 02:43 PM
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Not sure how relevant this is, but after turning the hot water handle back on, water immediately starts coming from the relief valve.. :s
 
 

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