What is the Temperature Pressure Relief Valve on Your Water Heater?

Have you ever wondered what that lever on the top of your water heater is for? Known as the temperature pressure relief valve, that little lever protects your water heater from becoming a major safety hazard. So how does a temperature pressure relief valve work and how can you maintain it properly?

What is a temperature pressure relief valve?

A temperature pressure relief valve is a valve that’s located somewhere near the top of your water heater. The valve has a lever that can be lifted up or down and a discharge pipe that runs from the valve straight down to the bottom of your water heater.

The purpose of the temperature pressure relief valve is to release water, and in turn lower the pressure inside the tank, in the event that the temperature or pressure gets too high in your water heater. Without a temperature pressure relief valve, your water heater would run the risk of exploding if the temperature or pressure got higher than the tank was designed to handle.

How can you maintain your temperature pressure relief valve?

Because the temperature pressure relief valve plays such an important role for your water heater, it’s important to ensure that it’s working properly. There are two main ways to do this:

  • 1. Check for water leaks. If you notice a water leak from your temperature pressure relief valve or the discharge pipe that’s attached to it, the valve is likely working improperly and might need to be replaced. Be sure to contact a contractor like Cabrillo to have the valve inspected and repaired.
  • 2. Test the valve annually. Once a year, lift the lever on the temperature pressure relief valve and make sure water comes out of the discharge pipe. Be aware that the water in the tank is hot, so you should clear the area around it and allow the water to discharge safely. If water comes out of the pipe, your valve is working properly and you can check it again next year.

If you have any questions about a temperature pressure relief valve, or if you’d like a water heater serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your San Francisco plumbing, heating and cooling company. We service the San Francisco area and surrounding cities like Los Altos, Orinda, Moraga and Menlo Park.

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