Hot water heater leaking

The unit is at least 12 years old. The water is coming out the pressure relief valve pipe. When I turn the heat off and the water cools, it stops to a drip. But when I turn the heat back on and the water is heated back up, it flows out pretty fast. Is this a bad pressure relief valve?
I've already tried flushing it out by opening the valve manually many times. This does nothing.
I should also mention there is a small leak under the unit somewhere. Nothing major and it's been there awhile, so I think this is a seperate issue.
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Yes
Right, it won't

Time for a new heater before it gets to be a big leak. Ed
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Talc Ta Matt wrote:

Replace the relief valve. If you still have occasional dripping from the relief, you may have excessive pressure due to thermal expansion: http://www.flexconind.com/html/wh-series_.html
Jim
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It is not difficult to replace the pressure relief valve, but with the increased pressure, that other leak may grow. It sounds about time for a replacement.
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I vote with Jim, but since the unit is 12 years old, it may be time for a new heater. You also may want to check the pressure in your home, it may be a little high.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Also wanted to add that those valves are both pressure and temperature sensitive. Just how hot is the water?
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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If it leaks with the heat turned off, then it is a bad valve. The odds of fixing it by opening it repeatedly is very small.
You can replace the valve cheaply enough, but then you still have a 12 year old heater with a leak. Get rid of it now while it is a small leak rather then in 2 months when it is a major leak, and save the $10 the valve will cost.
That it leaks more with the heater on is probably not a problem; my pressure can temporarily go from 50psi to 80psi when the heater cycles (some day I will get around to installing an expansion tank), but it could be a problem if it is going too high. For $5 get a pressure gauge and check it.
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10 years from a hot water tank is pushing it.
T & P valve costs less than $10.
Any other leak from the tank says the tank has failed and needs to be replaced.

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Talc Ta Matt wrote:

You state that the problem is water comes out of the pressure relief pipe. Thus, the tank isn't leaking the valve is leaking. What is the logical solution getting a new tank or getting a new valve? Right. Buy a new valve for $5.00. Failure of these valves is not uncommon, and they may fail after only 3 or 4 years. BTW, many hot water tanks last much longer than 12 years. The first tank in my house lasted 21 years and the valve started leaking and needed replacement after about 6 years.
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