When you have your water heater serviced, one thing the plumber may do is check the safety valve on the tank. This valve should always be operational so pressure can bleed off. This is a safety measure that keeps the tank from rupturing or exploding. You should also check the valve occasionally to make sure it's working and call a plumber to replace the valve when it's damaged or broken. Here are some things to know about the pressure valve on your hot water heater.
What Causes A Pressure Relief Valve To Go Bad
One common problem with these valves is they can become clogged with scale buildup and sediment from inside the tank. This might cause the valve to leak or clog off. Also, the valve may just wear down due to age, or a part might break when you're flipping the valve to test it. When the valve has trouble, you may notice it dripping water constantly. Water that gushes out is a serious sign of trouble with either the valve or the tank, and the tank should be shut down to relieve the pressure.
Another sign of valve trouble is when it makes a whistling noise. This means steam is escaping through the valve. When your tank has unusual noises coming from it, it's always good to call a plumber to check for problems such as increased pressure or sediment buildup.
How To Check The Pressure Valve
You may want to check the valve once or twice a year to make sure it's still working as it should. If you notice the valve dripping occasionally, it's probably doing its job of releasing pressure. Just check again the next day to see if the dripping has stopped. When you test the valve, move the lever back and forth to open and close it. When you open the valve, water should flow out the end of the attached pipe. If it doesn't, call a plumber to repair the valve because it might be clogged with corrosion.
Sometimes, when you open the valve to test it, sediment gets stuck in the valve and it won't shut back off. When this happens, you may need to call in a plumber if the dripping doesn't stop after you've moved the lever back and forth a few times.
How A Bad Valve Is Replaced
Replacing a bad valve involves turning off the power supply to the tank and letting some of the water drain out until the level is below the valve. The pipe attached to the valve is taken off, and sometimes it might be necessary to cut it off. Then, the valve is unscrewed, which can sometimes be difficult if it is frozen tight with sediment and corrosion buildup. With the old valve out of the way, a new one can be screwed in and a drain pipe attached. Finally, the new valve is tested for proper operation.
Sometimes, when a pressure relief valve acts up, it's not because something is wrong with the valve, but because of other problems with the plumbing or water heater. In that case, your plumber may need to make other repairs on your system to solve pressure problems in the tank. For more information, contact companies like R & B Inc Heating & Air Conditioning.