2 Common Causes of a Dripping Water Heater Relief Valve 2 Common Causes of a Dripping Water Heater Relief Valve
Water heater relief valves are safety features that are required on every water heater to reduce the chances of an explosion. Occasionally, water will begin to leak from within or around these valves. Here are two factors that may cause a relief valve to leak.
1 - Valve is Lodged Open
Over time, water will leave mineral deposits on the inner workings of any water heater. These minerals may build up on the valve, lodging it open. If the seal on the valve is compromised even the tiniest bit, water will slowly weep out of the valve and run out of the discharge tube. Some people recommend that these valves be deliberately opened from time to time to flush out these mineral deposits; others claim that opening the valves on older water heaters will result in them never closing properly again.
2 - The Pressure within the Water Heater is Too Great
Often, either because of high water main pressure or as a result of a backflow prevention valve, pressure will build up within the tank of a water heater. If the pressure reaches more that 120 pounds per square inch, the relief valve will begin to leak. This is extremely dangerous. If this is the case, an expansion tank can be installed to compensate for the extra pressure.