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How to Find the Pressure Relief Valve on Your Water Heater – And Why It’s Important

June 12, 2019 Contractor2020

For most homeowners, the hot water heater is out of sight, out of mind. As long as you have hot water running through your plumbing, you may not even think about this appliance very often

However, it’s a good idea to know the basics of your water heater, especially important safety features. In this article, we’re going to cover the pressure relief valve, also called the T&P valve.

A plumber looks at a water heater gauge.

By Minerva Studio for Shutterstock

What does the pressure relief valve do?

The job of the pressure relief valve is to temporarily open and release water when the temperature gets too high (around 210 degrees) or the pressure gets too high (above 150 psi). Without the pressure relief valve, the water heater could become very dangerous and could potentially explode. For this reason, the valve should never be removed or disabled.

Locating the pressure relief valve

Every water heater has a pressure relief valve. You can usually find it high up on the side or on top of the tank. On the valve is a flat lever that moves up and down when the valve opens to release water. Connected to the valve is a small pipe that runs down the tank and ends a few inches above the floor.

If you’ve even found water on the floor around your water heater and had no idea why, it may have been from the pressure relief valve in action.

Testing the valve

We recommend that homeowners test the pressure relief valve at least once a year. The good news is that this is quick and easy.

  • First, you will want to place a bowl or towel under the pipe that comes from the pressure relief valve.
  • Pull up the lever of the valve and check to make sure water is discharged from the tank, flows down the pipe, and comes out at the bottom.
  • Check the valve for any leaks. You may hear the sound of trickling water.

It’s not a common issue but sometimes the pressure relief valve malfunctions and needs to be replaced. This is not something you should ignore. Call a professional plumber to fix it right away.

The pressure relief valve is a small part of your home – but an important one. If you have any problems with your water heater or would like to schedule a maintenance appointment, give Reichelt Plumbing Inc. a call at (219) 322-4906.

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