Water heater leak question

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T

toolferone

My water heater likes to start dripping out of the relief valve at the top side of the unit. If I put a bowl under it and pull the lever a bit and re-close it it stops dripping (the water is hot). So what is broke and what do I need to do to fix it. The old heater had a pipe attached to that valve and plumbed to the outside, so I don't know if it dripped or not. I keep meaning to plumb mine, but haven't got to it yet.
TIA
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Tom, That is a common problem and if the relief valve is plumbed outside you would never know. Most likely caused by high water pressure and/or high temp setting. The relief valve is doing its job. If you want to stop the leakage you will need to install an expansion tank in the hot water line close to the WH outlet. Basically you have to cut the outgoing pipe, install a tee and screw on the tank. They run about $40-$50. If you need, I have most the fittings and the tools to do this - and I live close, so PM if you need some help

phil
 
T

toolferone

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Well I turned down the thermostat a bit and I think this is an expansion already installed.
 

Scott Kuykendall

New User
Scott
The pressure valve do go bad and are easy to replace. Some times by just releasing some water out the valve will flush a piece of junk that's on the seal causing it ti leak .You will need to turn off the water to the water heater and drain the water out of the tank so its below where the valve screws in. Then unscrew the valve and replace it with a new one. Be sure and use pipe dope or Teflon tape on the threads of the new valve. They are $14.00 at Lowes
http://www.lowes.com/pd_13422-135-6...br|0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=
Scott
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Unfortunately those expansion tanks only come with a 1 year warranty, and for a good reason. If you have a pressure regualtor on your supply line, then expansion tank is an absolute must have. Drip is most likely caused by shutting off a faucet too quickly. Same for inlet valve on dish washer and washing machine, both of which close almost instantly. Most houses have "water hammer chambers" at faucets. These are just capped off pieces of pipe which ORIGINALLY contained air, which over a period of time is absorbed in the water. Turn off gas to WH first, then turn off supply line to house. Open all faucets, including outside ones, and let water drain. This is also a good time to drain sediment from WH. After all water has drained, close all valves, then go washing machine box, and disconnect cold water hose. Open cold valve, and blow compressed air into cold valve (no more than 75 pounds of pressure.) Close valve and allow air to stand in pipes and WH tank for about three minutes. Open valves to relive pressure, then turn water supply back on allowing water to run for a couple seconds at each faucet. Remember that the water heater will have to refill. Then light WH. This should recharge air hammer tubes.
 
T

toolferone

Thanks Bruce. Are you also suggesting that I replace the expansion chamber since it is old? It was in the house when we bought it 13 years ago.
 

dpsnyder

Dan
Corporate Member
I have the same problem. I replaced the relief valve, no change. I was told it was likely my expansion tank had become waterlogged. Bought a new one and need to get around to changing it. Tried to get the old one off one day real quick and it wouldn't budge. Guess I need to get serious about fixing it.

Dan
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Thanks Bruce. Are you also suggesting that I replace the expansion chamber since it is old? It was in the house when we bought it 13 years ago.
Exactly who:dontknow: replaced an 11+ year old WH, and didn't replace the expansion tank? What I really like to see is tank installed in line before shut off valve to WH, yeah right! FHB did an article on efficient plumbing and all illustrations showed tank ahead of cut off valve, which is WRONG.
 

2slow

New User
chris
check to see if there is still air in the expansion tank. valve is on top of tank, just like a tire. if you push it in you should get air out. if you get nothing, you need to pressure it back up. if you get water then the bladder is busted and the tank will have to be replaced.
 
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