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Old 11-27-2017, 06:39 AM   #1
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Relief Valve Plumbing


My water heater has started to leak from the relief valve which would normally be a simple fix. However, when I went to replace it I realized the discharge pipe was soldered together complicating things somewhat, but again not the end of the world. The real questions started when I began looking at the discharge plumbing. Out of the relief valve is a copper pipe that extends vertically towards the floor about two feet. At the end there is a ball valve and a few inches from the end there is a tee to another copper pie that through a few 45's eventually goes vertical up to the ceiling over a hallway and then back down and out an exterior wall.

Is this correct or did the previous owner not know why they were doing? I always thought the relieve valve was to drain gravity and this setup would take a good amount of pressure to go up 5 ft before gravity draining and is likely why I'm seeing the leak at the valve and not at the end of the line. I live in Georgia (cobb) if that helps.

It's on a concrete slab without a drain nearby and my only real gravity drain option would be to run it along a concrete block basement wall for some distance to reach an exterior wall where it could discharge above grade
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:45 AM   #2
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see image below
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:47 AM   #3
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


The valve on the PT valve is a big nono. It is dangerous!
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:28 AM   #4
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


Previous owner probably had an issue with the valve leaking and decided to make it drain outside instead of fixing the problem. It should run down to the floor and to a drain if possible. There must not be a valve on it to close it off.

Water should not be coming out of it. If it is, then there is a problem somewhere.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:00 PM   #5
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


Welcome to the forums diyer.

I agree with rj and joe.

Remove the ball valve, and yes the pipe will have to be unsoldered or cut and done correctly as stated.

You can try resetting the tpr valve a couple times see if that helps. If not, then tpr should be replaced.

Another issue could be no xpansion tank for water to go when heated up. This will also cause the tpr to go off.

Is there an xpansion tank on the cold water inlet somewhere?

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Old 11-27-2017, 02:26 PM   #6
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Thanks, yes their is expansion tank. Can I just have the pipe extending vertically towards the floor since it is in a garage? Does it matter that there is a finished room on the other side of wall?
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:01 PM   #7
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


If there is an expansion tank then that could be your problem. It might be water logged.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:51 AM   #8
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Is there anyway to tell if the expansion tank is water logged without disconnecting it? I replaced the relief valve last night. I flushed the heater a few times as the water coming out initially was rusty colored. Then I let it fill up, got all the air out of the faucets in the house, and turned the gas on. When the heater reached temperature I then checked if anything had come out the relief valve and I had maybe a cup of water. I checked this morning after a long shower and had nothing.

So I'm not sure what to make of that. I will check again this afternoon but I'm leaning towards the expansion tank needs to be replaced as well. If I do replace it do you set the pressure to equal that of the incoming water (measure at hose spigot)?
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:32 AM   #9
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


Make sure that valve was taken off there yesterday. BOOM Boom
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:43 AM   #10
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


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Originally Posted by DIYer1527 View Post
So I'm not sure what to make of that. I will check again this afternoon but I'm leaning towards the expansion tank needs to be replaced as well. If I do replace it do you set the pressure to equal that of the incoming water (measure at hose spigot)?
It has a bladder so you check air pressure from the Schrader valve. I would also invest 10 bucks on a water pressure gauge and check the tank pressure. Get the tell tale kind and leave it on overnight to see if it goes over the tpr valve limit. You can also have too much pressure coming into the house. so check that too. I had to put a reducer on mine when the city bumped it up to 100lbs. 80lbs is about maximum for what you need.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:55 AM   #11
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


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Is there anyway to tell if the expansion tank is water logged without disconnecting it?
As mentioned, check at schrader valve. If water comes out, its bad. Make sure you turn off wh and incoming water to wh, turn on some faucets to release the pressure before you change it. Tank may be heavy and hot, so be careful.

If I do replace it do you set the pressure to equal that of the incoming water (measure at hose spigot)?
Yes, that is correct.

Additionally, please reread this thread, there is very good advice here. You have a very dangerous situation with that ball valve present.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:33 AM   #12
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Not that agree with it but I found it was an amendment to the Georgia code in 2007. The tee part goes up and over a door then discharges outside so I don't have a closed system...just one that would take some pressure to make it up 6 feet. Which is probably why I found the leak coming out of the valve itself.

*Delete Section 504.6 ‘Requirements for discharge piping’ and substitute the following:
504.6 Requirements for discharge piping. The relief valve shall discharge full size, separately to a safe place of disposal such as a concrete floor, outside the building, an indirect waste receptor, or other approved location. The discharge shall terminate in a manner that does not
cause injury to occupants in the immediate area or structural damage to the building. When the relief valve discharge piping goes upward, a thermal expansion control device shall be installed on the cold water distribution or service pipe in accordance with Section 607.3.2. If the discharge pipe is trapped, provisions shall be made to drain the low point of the trapped portion of the discharge pipe.
(Effective January 1, 2007)
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:54 AM   #13
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


So the valve is the drain? Sounds like you need the expansion tank though.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:48 PM   #14
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Attached a tire pressure gauge to the expansion tank got no pressure. Manually pressed in the pin and got no air but also no water. Turned off the water to the house and drained the water heater. Could definitely hear and feel the water drain out of the expansion tank. Hooked up an air pump to see if I could get any pressure but it acted as if the valve wasn't allowing any air through it (jumped almost instantly when i tried to pump and then would go back to 0) and both tire gauges read 0 .

Plan to replace the expansion tank tomorrow.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:10 PM   #15
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Re: Relief Valve Plumbing


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