Potential Causes Of Water Pressure Release Valves Leaks

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The water pressure release valve is a fixture used for limiting the pressure in a water heater system. Uncontrolled water pressure is dangerous and may even lead to water heating failure or even an explosion. Sometimes, however, the pressure release valves malfunctions and begins to leak. Here are some of the possible causes of such leaks:

Excessive Temperature

Water, just like other liquids, expands when heated. The expansion also increases the water pressure. This means water under extremely high temperatures is likely to leak more than water under moderate temperatures. Not only that, but excessive temperatures may also produce water vapor that may be driven through the valves, condense and appear as leaks. This means excessive boiler or water heater temperatures can cause leaking pressure release valves.

Expansion Tank Issues

As probably mentioned, water expands when heated. This means if a water tank is full before it is heated, it will experience an overflow or leakage if the water is heated and it expands because it will have nowhere to go. Luckily, water heating systems are designed with thermal expansion tanks to take care of the extra volume resulting from heated water. This means a malfunction in the thermal expansion tank, such as clogging or damage, may leave the water with nowhere to go and cause a leak.

Pressure Relief Valve Defects

Water may also leak out of the pressure relief valve itself if the valve is defective or malfunctioning. This may be the case, for example, if the valve is clogged with debris, and the clogging is preventing it from closing properly. It may also be that the seals or gasket inside the valve is torn or damaged, causing the water to leak.

Water Hammer

A water hammer is a plumbing phenomenon that occurs when water flowing in a pipe experiences a sudden increase in pressure when it is forced to change direction or stop suddenly.  A water hammer can have a destructive effect on your plumbing system because it forces the system to experience more pressure than the system can handle. This also means it can lead to water leaks not only at the pressure release valve but also in other areas. In fact, anything that increases the water pressure within the pipes can cause the valve to leak.

Replacing a malfunctioning water pressure release valve is relatively easy and inexpensive. However, it's best to diagnose the cause of the leak and fix it in addition to replacing the valve; otherwise, the replacement valve may start leaking right away. To learn more, contact a residential plumbing services company near you. 


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