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What is a Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve?

What is a Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve?

The pressure relief valve on your water heater is an essential component to providing year-round comfort and keeping you and your family safe. Without this component, your water heater could overheat—causing it to break down. View our tips to become familiar about how this relief valve works and how to spot common issues.

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Top Facts You Need to Know About Pressure Relief Valves

Take a look below at everything you need to know about pressure relief valves.

1. What a Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Is

You will find a water heater pressure relief valve on just about every standard hot water heater. Once the pressure and/or temperature inside your water heater gets too high, this component relieves the excess pressure. This decrease helps the temperature to return to a safe and stable level. The relief valve also prevents water leaks and keeps the water pressure from getting too low.

2. How a Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Works

A valve is a one-way pipe that allows elements to pass through it. Here’s how a water pressure relief valve works: when the internal temperature of your water heater increases to a certain point, the appliance will naturally expand.

This expansion, however, should be limited. When the temperature gets too high, the relief valve opens to expel excess hot water and steam from the water heater so it doesn’t overheat.

3. Where the Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Is Located

You should always know where to find the pressure relief valve on your water heater in the case of an emergency. This device is typically located on the top or side of the appliance and is attached to an upward-pointing discharge tube.

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5 Signs Your Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Has Gone Bad

If your water heater’s pressure relief valve has gone bad, you’ll probably know it. Here are the five most common signs that you need to repair or replace this device.

1. Flooding

The most obvious and dangerous sign that your water heater pressure relief valve has gone bad is if it causes flooding in your home. If you experience this problem, cut off the water supply and have a professional come out to fix it.

2. Excessive Noises

Water heaters should make little to no noise when they run heating cycles. If you notice excessive noises coming from your unit, there’s a problem.

Two common water heater sounds are rattling and whistling, both of which result from built-up steam that can’t escape the unit. If the steam can’t escape properly, that means the pressure relief valve isn’t working.

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3. Dirty Water

As the water heater pressure relief valve ages, it can start to corrode and make the water in your unit dirty. If this becomes a consistent problem, have a technician take a look at the valve. You’ll likely need to clean, repair, or replace it.

4. Water Leaks

Since the pressure relief valve removes excess hot water from your unit, it will naturally leak some water from time to time. But if it leaks excessively and often, you’ll need to take a look at the valve.

5. Ruptured Tank

While it’s normal for some water to leak from the pressure relief valve, the unit itself should never leak water. This can happen when the valve doesn’t properly relieve pressure from the unit and, in response, the tank ruptures.

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Water Heater Repair & Installation Services

If you’re looking for safe, reliable, and high-quality water heater repair and water heater installation services in the Northern Virginia area, call our team of technicians by phone at (703) 543-9649. With 50 years of experience in the HVAC and plumbing industries, we have become the trusted choice for achieving premium home comfort. In addition, our team of licensed plumbers offer other types of plumbing services such as sink installation, sump pump repair, gas line installation, and sewer line replacement. Our team of technicians won’t let you down. Schedule an appointment with one of our technicians today.

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