What is the Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve on a Water Heater?

temp relief valve

Each component of your water heater is designed to help the system efficiently heat water. The temperature/pressure relief (TPR) valve is one of the most important, protecting your home from water and structural damage. With careful maintenance of your TPR valve, you can count on years of safe use of your water heater.

How Does the TPR Valve Work?

The TPR valve is located at the top of the water heater tank. It is a metal valve that may strongly resemble a faucet head. There are several valves in various places on your water heater, and the TPR valve is designed to relieve excess pressure in the tank. In many cases, it is the last line of defense against serious damage to your home in the case of excess temperatures and pressures. For example, a gas valve is built to shut off the fuel supply to avoid the water temperature from rising too high. If the gas valve shutoff fails and temperature rises, the TPR valve releases excess pressure.

Why Does Pressure Accumulate in the Water Heater?

The water in your airtight water heater tank is put under pressure. As water heats, pressure expands, particularly as the water reaches boiling temperatures (212 degrees Fahrenheit). The TPR valve opens automatically if the pressure becomes too great, which may release steam or water. Too much pressure in the tank leads to rupture or even explosion, which can flood your home or destroy the space where the water heater is located.

What Happens if the TPR Valve Leaks?

You may treat the TPR valve as a canary in the coal mine, letting you know that something is seriously wrong with your water heater. The TPR valve releases water due to a failure in the system or a failure of the valve itself. If it leaks, you can conclude that the pressure in the water heater is too high due to another fault, or that the valve itself is damaged or corroded. Since the TPR valve is so crucial to safe and effective function of the water heater, you must seek water heater repair in Sacramento as soon as you notice it leaking.

Does the TPR Valve Need to Be Replaced?

TPR valves do need to be replaced on occasion. When you spot a leak, it may be tempting to seal it off with tape, at least until you can get repair service for the water heater. However, this could end in disaster. If the TPR valve leaks, turn off fuel to the water heater, turn off the water and immediately arrange for plumbing service.

It is surprising that such a small piece of equipment as the TPR valve could be so important to your home function. If you take care of it, it will protect you. For expert Sacramento water heater repair, contact Ace Plumbing.