Question about water heater pressure relief valve is leaking

Hi all, first, just want to say that I did some google research and found this site (very useful):
http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/PressureRelief.htm
For my problem, I posted some photos here: http://www.picturetrail.com/waterheater
Basically, as you could see in the photo (especially the 1st photo), you could see the water (the water stain) coming out of the plumber's putty thingy, so I'm not sure whether I could just caulk or use plumber's putty to just fill it?? Is this something that I could fix or DIY by myself? Or should I really consult with a plumber or professional?? According to the article above, I might have a defective valve, but it also could be high tank pressure (our neighborhood just had some seismic upgrade so it could be related).. How could I tell whether it's the valve problem or the high tank pressure problem? Thanks!
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as your quoted article suggests, buy a water pressure gauge. and buy a T&P valve. you may need a tank if the tank is still leaking after you replace its relief valve. replace the valve at 9am mon-thurs and have plenty of time to order a home depot replacement water heater if needed before NOON when their price is lowest. more at: http://www.waterheaterrescue.com
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Thanks for the Web site link, but I'm confused when you said "have plenty of time to order a home depot replacement water heater if needed before NOON when their price is lowest"... Does Home Depot has special promotion for water heater if you purchase by noon?? I don't know they have such promotion program... thanks!
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Five Possibilities:
1) Relief valve is bad, Replace valve
2) Leak is at threaded connection. Shut off water, remove relief valve, put on new pipe dope and/or teflon tape (NOT putty or silicone) and screw valve back into tank.
3) Pressure is getting too high in tank. Use pressure gauge to monitor water pressure in house. Get a gauge that screws onto a hose bib. Water pressure should be the same all over the house, saves on making a permanent installation of gauge. If pressure is the problem, you need a pressure reducing valve or a water heater expansion tank, depending on the cause. DO NOT put the gauge on the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. They are rarely good for more than one use without leaking.
4) Temperature is too high. It is a Temperature AND Pressure Relief Valve (T&P). If the water gets too hot, it will release. Then you will need to turn yjr thermostat down or replace the thermostat.
5) Tank is leaking. Replace tank.

Hope this helps.
Stretch
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Stretch, thanks so much for your reply. I gave you 5 stars for your post and thanks again for your help! :-)
Thanks for reminding me that I should NOT use putty or silicone, I almost did that until I read the site I posted (http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/PressureRelief.htm ). I don't think this is a DIY project so we will be hiring a professional to take a look at the problem, by the way, could you maybe explain a little bit more (if you have time) about the pipe dope and/or teflon tape ?? I don't know anything about these two materials (in terms of fixing the threaded connection). As we just purchased this water heater like 2-3 years ago, so I don't think the tank is leaking.. so it could be #2 (Leak is at threaded connection).. I will post back after the profesional take a look..
Thanks again for everyone's help, I really appreciate that! :)
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Hi - From that first picture it doesn't look like its leaking from the valve but leaking from the tank its self. Stretch got it right. Its not a bad valve or high pressure. If it were one of those you would have water on the floor under the discharge pipe. Given the stain location in the picture I favor the tank. If that circular ring is not a solid piece against the tank body and there are stains and water around the threads also then its just likely a thread seal.
That stain in pic1 was definately not caused by a bad valve or high pressure.
If the tank is over 10 years old then its probably going.
There is nothing you can stuff on there to stop a leak.
Question - is it really leaking? Do you see water or just a stain? That stain could have always been there.
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Is tank over 6 years old? REPLACE TANK! Tank appears to be leaking at commection where its threaded into tank. once a tank starts leaking at a connection even fixing this leak will ONLY mean more leaks really soon.
so why waste the $ of the valve and work just to have more leaks next week?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

boater out there knows about galvanic corrosion and the need to keep zincs on various external parts constantly under water, as we used to do with our outdrive. I know these heaters have corrodable (zinc?) tubes in them to allow preferential corrosion to protect the rest of the tank. I've thought about replacing ours several years ago, but, too late, it pretty much wouldn't succumb to the wrench and I was fearful of applying too much force so quit. As the tank's older than 10 years and presumably will need replacing in the near future, my question. Have any of you folks replaced the anode in your tank, and comments on whether you feel that lengthened the tank's life? I guess the answer would have to be somewhat subjective, but maybe there's some info. someplace on the 'Net to indicate whether it'd be worthwhile to give a look see.
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I have never tried figuring there was a greater risk of damaging the tank or causing a new leak messing with it. I quit raining them too for much the same reason never got anything out and had troubles with leaky drain valves.
tanks last at least 10 years on average, for a 350 buck tank that $35 a year, a minor cost for peace of mind. I tend to buy longer guaranteed tanks for less hassle.
I am 49 years old and wonder how many more tanks will need replacing in my lifetime?
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First few years on well water with maximum pump pressure around 40 lbs/sq in. Remaining 30 years or so on municipal mains water; have never measured pressure but it appears higher, possibly around 50 to 60 lbs! No problems; although next time I'll probably make it so the reconnections of the half inch copper pipes are a little more flexible to cope with slight dimensional differences the spacing/location of tank connections. Also I must make the 'blow off' pipe of the pressure relief valve, which is presently a hose led to a floor drain, a little more permanent. A note: About heating elements! After years of saving the 'old fashioned' square headed elements from scrapped tanks (usually the 3500 watt size) I threw them out, because all 'new' tanks were then using those newer either threaded in, or at least round elements. Then, last tank I bought some 5 years ago was US made and again uses the square elements! So which is the more common square or round? Having said that I've probably only had to replace say three elements in our three homes during the last 50 years! Also someone told me that it was possible to 'convert' from one type of element to the other; but never had to entertain that idea? And yes those plastic drain valves are a freaking nuisance
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electric tanks tend to last much longer than gas ones probably because gas tanks get hammered by thermal stress a lot
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I just checked the anode in my gas water heater which is now about 6 years old. The rod was about 1/3 gone. I put it back in and will check again in about 2 years. I think it's very logical that a $35 rod replacement could prolong the life of the tank more than enough to justify the cost. As a previous poster pointed out, sacraficial anodes are used routinely on boats and work. The tank manufacturers obviously believe it too, as they put them in to begin with. If you have a tank in conditions where the anode errodes faster, then replacing it makes sense to me.
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