water heater leak!!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by nberry, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. nberry

    nberry New Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    Birmingham, Al
    Water heater TP relief valve started opening and releasing water a couple months ago. After trying 2 new valves, installing a thermal expansion tank, and putting an insulating blanket on the water heater, the relief valve is still opening and draining water periodically (enough to fill 5 gallon bucket every 2-3 days). Same plumber has done all the work. The water heater is relatively new (installed about 1 1/2 years ago and covered by home warranty company). Pressure gauge reading on a water spigot outside basement where water heater is reads 110-120 psi, which is up from about 100psi when the problem first started. The leaking stopped for about a month after the thermal expansion tank was installed. The plumber now thinks the pressure regulator on the house is bad and will be about a $350-400 fix. Does that diagnosis sound correct? And if so is that a fair price? Could anything else be causing the relief valve to open? Could it be a problem with the water heater itself? The home warranty company paid for the hot water heater replacement, but they don't cover pressure regulators on the main house line. We're trying to see if its a water heater defect which the home warranty company will pay for, or if the pressure regulator is actually bad. I turned the pressure down on the pressure regulator which decreased the pressure to the faucets, showers, etc. but the relief valve still leaks. Thanks.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Your water pressure is way too high, and that is very probably the cause of you problems, but I can't see how a plumber can justify $350-to $400 for such a simple replacement. Now we all must remember that it costs him money just to start his truck, and he can't be expected to work for peon wages, but this is a very simple and fast job.
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  4. Plumber Jim

    Plumber Jim Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Make sure the water heater is set to only 120 degrees. also. if you do have a pressure reducing valve and you still are getting a pressure of over 75 psi then I would say the PRV is indeed bad and needs to be replaced. open a faucet and then close it then check the pressure gauge. if it doesn't drop then it's the prv. If it does drop then use some hot water to get the water heater to fire up then close it and watch the gauge. If the gauge goes up then it's thermal expansion.
  5. Plumbermurrieta

    Plumbermurrieta Plumber

    Feb 21, 2010
    Murrieta Southern California
    Possible Repairs

    * Place bucket under overflow pipe. Open and flush T&P valve clear of debris. If leak remains from valve, replace valve.
    * Reduce thermostat setting to prevent tank overheating and opening T&P relief valve.
    * Inspect bottom of tank by looking through combustion chamber. If water marks or heavy rusting is noticed or if water is noticed setting in combustion chamber bottom, then the water heater needs to be replaced.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    If the very high pressure was due ONLY to the expansion issue, then installing the XT would have fixed it. If your water pressure is 100 or more at a time when the WH hasn't run for a few hours, then definitely you just need a new pressure regulator. Around here, $400 is about the going rate to replace on. Seems like if you had done the work when the plumber was already there on one of those previous trips, it would have been a lot less, because he was already there and you were already paying the trip charge.

    The valve is probably $75 at HD. He will need to charge you $100 plus and hour or so labor.
  7. nberry

    nberry New Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    Birmingham, Al
    Thanks so much for all of the help and suggestions. I had a sump pump installed in the basement a few days ago for a completely unrelated problem and one of the workers did some plumbing on the side and he agreed that if it was him he'd replace the pressure regulator. He said the replacement wasn't very complicated and didn't require any soldering, pretty much just shut the water off, unscrew the old one and screw in the new one. Does that sound right? Is there any specific kind of valve I need to buy or is there a standard "residential" valve? Again, thanks so much for all the help. Yall are great.
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    I usually use a watts 25AUB
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