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Old 12-09-2016, 09:59 PM   #1
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Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking.


Los Angeles location.

My tenant turned up the gas water heater thermostat, but the water is not quite scalding hot yet.

Tenant called me and said there's a puddle of water where the pressure relief valve drains to. I'm thinking it's because they turned up the water heater temperature.

Would it be normal for the relief valve to open up even if the water wasn't near-boiling?

Other than the small puddle of relief water, the relief valve is not constantly leaking or dripping, and works fine when I manually open the valve.

Is this normal? Should I be looking to replace anything?
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:54 PM   #2
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


That is a T&P relief valve. It is there for safety. It opens if temperature or pressure gets too high. Read the metal tag under the lever. It probably says 150 psi and 210 degrees.

When water is heated it expands. That means pressure goes up. If you do not have a check valve on the cold water input line, and you do not have a pressure reducing valve with a check valve built into it, this excess pressure moves back up the cold water line.

However, if you have a check valve on the cold water line or the PRV has a check valve, the excess pressure has no where to go and the T&P valve will open.

If you have a check valve or a PRV with check valve, you need to put an expansion tank on the cold water input.

Frankly it sounds like the tenant has set the temperature too high.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:34 AM   #3
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


Tell your tenant to back off the setting a little bit wait a day and watch the next day if it's still weeping back off a little more. Sounds like he's got it to hi and water press/temp is causing the relief valve to open.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


Do you have an expansion tank (usually abovet the water heater attached to the cold inlet pipe)?

Every new tankful of water that is heated will expand. Up until now there may have been enough give in the system (such as the water heater tank sides bulging a tad and compromising the glassl lining). Perhaps this time someone used most of the tankful in one sitting and then no one used hot water for several hours so that the expansion during heating of the next tankful to the new higher set temperature was great enough to trip the temp & pressure relief valve.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-10-2016 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 12-10-2016, 10:44 AM   #5
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


If it was heating ok before he turned it up I would say that is the likely cause. You have to be a detective in this field. If cutting back don't work then something else is going on with it.
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Old 12-10-2016, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Do you have an expansion tank (usually abovet the water heater attached to the cold inlet pipe)?

no expansion tank. I don't think the tank is common in these parts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by COLDIRON View Post
If it was heating ok before he turned it up I would say that is the likely cause. You have to be a detective in this field. If cutting back don't work then something else is going on with it.

Yeah, I've never heard him complain about it till now. Then I noticed he dialed up the temperature because the bathroom at the far end of the house was not getting hot water fast enough.

I told tenant that hot water takes a few minutes to travel that far.


I just wanted to make sure the water heater parts were functioning normally, because I was about to replace the TP valve, but common sense told me it was functioning normally upon testing.


I also wanted to make sure that occasional water discharge was not too serious.
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Old 12-10-2016, 03:37 PM   #7
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


That was good advice because no matter how hot the water is it will still take time to get to the other end of the house. messing with the thermostat won't help it . What it will do is make it hotter once it gets there.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:10 PM   #8
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Re: Water heater pressure relief valve let out some water, but not constantly leaking


You should caution the tenant that if he has children, the temperature he has set the heater at can be dangerous.
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