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How to Deal with Tank Pressure Relief Problems

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Those people who have recently had a new hot water tank installed in their closet may, from time to time, notice a small pool of water on the floor. This water escapes from the pressure relief valve which is typically attached to a discharge tube at the bottom of the tank itself. Ordinarily, this is nothing to be worried about even though it may be a bit disconcerting, but occasionally, you may notice much more water than usual. Does this signify a problem with your new installation, and what can you do to rectify it?

Risk of Damage

These days a hot water tank is typically fitted in an accessible location and often within a storage cupboard of some kind. With various possessions in close proximity to the tank, you will want to avoid the risk of damage caused by excess water.

Relief Valve in Action

The pressure relief valve is an essential part of a hot water system, as it needs to account for thermal expansion. The tank itself is, of course, only a certain size, and when you flick the switch to begin heating things up, the water will inevitably expand. In this case, it will need to go somewhere and, in the absence of the relief valve, will push its way back into the mains supply pipe. Obviously, this would be a waste of money, and to counter this, plumbers will typically fit a one-way valve at this point.

One Way to Go

All will be well if the tank can cope with the volume of water and the internal temperature. However, if the pressure builds up too far inside the tank due to thermal expansion and the one-way valve is active, you will see more and more water on the floor.

Dealing with Expansion

In this case, it may be a good idea to introduce a separate expansion tank in between the one-way valve and the head of the tank. With this separate component in place, the hot water will have somewhere to go during expansion. The relief valve will see less action and, consequently, you won't need to worry about any residual damage caused by leaking water.

Fixing the Issue

Talk with your plumber about these needed hot water repairs. They will be able to modify your system and fit an expansion tank so that you can dry the floor and get back to normal operation.