Hot Water Heater-Leaking from Relief Valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by flyjoe27, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. flyjoe27

    flyjoe27 New Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    Hello, I noticed the floor wet around the hot water heater and was able to isolate that the water is coming out as a slow drip where the relief valve comes out of the HWH. It is not coming out at the bottom of the small pipe fitted into the valve. I went and opened up the valve and drained some water out. After reading online to do this to clear out the sediment. I am hoping this is going to resolve the drip, but I'm pretty sure it won't.

    Here are my questions:
    1. Does this sound like relief valve needs to be replaced?

    2. On the package it says, 'valve must be installed by a licensed plumbing contractor or trained professional in accordance with these instructions and/or local plumbing codes. I am fairly handy with projects around the house and this looks like it is something within my grasp, but that warning threw me off.

    3. Other than the tools, is there anything else I need in particular I would need for the job, like adhesives, sealants, etc...

    Thanks for your help.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    It sounds like you are saying the leak is at the fitting where the relief valve is screwed into the tank. I also gather that this is on the side, not the top.

    It is possible that it is simply a fitting leak. To repair this would involve unscrewing the relief valve. ALthough it may not be defective, you would as a matter of routine use a new one. The consensus sealing method would be to put 2 wraps of teflon tape on the threads, and coat this with pipe joint paste. You will need a certain "feel" screwing it in so that you get to the point of just about tight, then tighten further until the outlet points in the right direction. You will probably need at least an 18" pipe wrench to get the old one out.

    It is also possible that the leak is a rust-through leak at this fitting, or even at some other point near the top, and this is the point where the water finds a way out. You may have done this, but if not give the whole WH a going over with a flashlight, to see if you can narrow it down.
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  4. flyjoe27

    flyjoe27 New Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    Hi Jimbo- Thank so much for the reply. Yes, the leak is at the fitting where the valve is screwed in, on the side. Based on what else you said, it sounds like this my problem. Where the valve is screwed in and leaking down the side, there is a rust coloring on the water trail. I actually picked up a new relief valve today, knowing that was likely a part of the problem. Hopefully that's it. I did do give the WH a good look & that was the only thing that jumped out at me.

    When going to unscrew the old & put the new, is all I want to do is just drain the water out of the WH? This is where my limited plumbing knowledge is just a bit short.

    Again, many thanks!
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    You may need a 2' pipe wrench to do this as some T&P valves can be stubborn. First make sure the new T&P valve is the same length as the old one. Then apply 4-5 wraps of teflon tape to the threads of the new valve. Turn the controll knob to vacation (gas) or turn off the power(electric). Turn the water off at the valve on cold side on top of the heater. Go to a HW faucet that is above the WH and open the faucet and relieve the pressure and be sure the water flow completly stops. Leave faucet open. Lift the lever on the T&P valve and allow the water to flow out of the WH until it is at a trickle. Unscrew the drain pipe from the T&P valve. At this point you can unscrew the old T&P and install the new one. Turn on the water 1/4 and allow the heater to refill until all air is out at the faucet then close the faucet. Check for any leaks. Turn on the gas or electric. Install the T&P drain pipe. Turn the water on the rest of the way. Your done!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2005
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