Okay, it is a two to three year old electric water heater and this
evening the relief valve tripped and dumped a limited amount of water. I
have no clue as to why it tripped, it never has before. The down pipe
from the relief valve is still dripping even thought I have opened and
closed the valve several times.
1.) I know that the relief valve is both pressure and temperature
sensitive but what is your best guess of why it tripped in the first place?
2.) Is it the nature of these relief valves to not totally re-seat once
they have tripped?
It didn't do any damage for three reasons. First, it let out a limited
amount of water. Secondly, the down pipe is very close to a floor drain.
And finally, we have a water alarm near that floor drain and it went off
and we just happened to be home.
Unless most all of you think that something is messed up with the water
heater I plan to just replace the relief valve in the morning and let it
go at that. Although I never do, I just might shut it off when we leave
for warmer weather this winter.
It needs to be checked out totally. Check out both thermostats,
because I think it has 2. And check both elements for continuity. Crud
in the bottom (yes crud can build up within a couple years) can make
your lower element not function, therfore allowing the upper to over
compensate. Check for crude when you remove the lower element.
Most, if not all, electric water heaters have a 6 year warranty. Call
the manufacturer and they will more than likely tell you what to look
for and will send you the part if one is needed at no cost. I had a
thermstat go out and they sent me the thermo and a new element.
Best clue as to whether it was water temp or pressure that tripped it
right there when it tripped. Did you open a faucet and check the
If the water was not noticeably hotter than normal, then it wasn't
the water getting too hot. Also, I would suspect that if it opened
too hot, you'd get a lot more water out than if it opened from
with a stuck thermostat, I would expect the process to immediately
If there was a brief over-pressure in the system, just a small
release of a few cups could
relieve it. If it's over temp, I would think you'd have many gallons
the temp came down. Is it municipal water or well? What is the
Also, not unusual for the TPR valve to not close completely on water
kind of unusual for one only 3 years old. That's one reason many
test them once a year, they are afraid that it won't close.
On 12/22/2010 7:32 AM, email@example.com wrote:
Thanks, that was good info. It has not repeated itself but I may check
the temp at the faucet. Again, it was probably a cup of water at the
most but it is still dripping thus the valve has not totally closed.
A good practice is to shut the water off ANYtime you leave the house.
And if we're leaving for more than 24 hours, i go ahead and shut off the
water heaters also. No need keeping water hot for nobody home.
remove the "not" from my address to email
I am sure that it would be a good practice but I am not going to shut
the water off once or twice a week just for 24 hours. Although I never
have in the past I may shut it off when we are going to gone for over
one week (sometimes a month or so).
LMAO! I shut it off once, twice, three times a DAY. I said whenever
leaving the house. It's up to you though. When the bottom of that
water heater blows out, 5 minutes is a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGG time.
Think about how much you want to repair. Hmmmm. How are those washer
hoses you leave on all the time? How much damage is going to occur when
one of them (the hot one) blows up and you're lollygagging around the
mall, because it would be stupid to turn the water off for just a 1 hour
remove the "not" from my address to email
What is your water source, "city" water? Do you have an expansion tank
in the system to account for expansion of water as it heats? City water
supplies normally have backflow check valves, so when the water heats
the pressure rises if there is no expansion tank.
If the starting water pressure was a little higher than normal, you used
a lot of hot water so there was more cold water being heated and thus
expanding, a leaking backflow valve was replaced, etc. the pressure
could spike above the trip point of the relief valve.
Relief valves tend to be one-shot things, once they trip they rarely
reseat properly or they get some crud in them and they tend to drip
forever after. Replacing the valve will fix the ongoing drip, but if you
don't fix the underlying problem it will just repeat.
We are on municipal water, no backflow valve, no pressure reducer,
and no expansion tank (thankfully - city water is supposed to
eliminate all the nasty troublesome high-maintenance stuff, isn't it?
May as well have a well pump too if you need all that other stuff.
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