Cleveland HVAC Blog

Water Heaters: Temperature Relief Valves Ensure Safety

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 04:34 PM

Water heater explosions are rare, but they do happen. The best defense against a water heater explosion in your Cleveland area home is the pressure and temperature relief valve, or TPR. The temperature relief valve has two functions to ensure your water heater operates safely:

  • Ensure SafetyRegulates the temperature - When the temperature of the water in your heater gets too hot, the thermostat on the TPR valve expands, and a disc inside lifts up to discharge some of the water. Cooler water then enters the tank to correct the water temperature.
  • Regulates the pressure - When the pressure in your water heater tank builds up, the TPR valve opens and releases water to reduce the pressure. Thermal expansion due to increased pressure may cause the valve to drip. When the pressure in the tank returns to normal, the valve will close tightly and the dripping will stop.

Annual maintenance of your water heater is essential for its safe operation and its efficiency. A yearly tune-up will also extend the life of your unit and save you money on water heating costs.

During the tune-up, your HVAC technician will perform the following maintenance tasks:  

  • Tighten gas and electrical connections to ensure safe operation.
  • Check the temperature relief valve and replace it if necessary. For older tanks you can ask your technician to check the anode rod. It prevents your tank from rusting. Replace it if it's worn down or coated with mineral deposits.
  • Clean the burner assembly and electric elements.
  • Check the flue draft and piping for proper venting.

To lower your hot water heating bill, there are a couple of things you can do yourself:

  •  Set the water temperature to 120 degrees or lower. Higher temperatures pose a risk for scalding and promote mineral buildup and corrosion in your tank.
  • Insulate your water heater's pipes with foam pipe insulation, and wrap an insulating blanket around the tank. NOTE: Be sure not to block openings around the burner or the discharge point that connects to the chimney.
  • If your water heater is getting ready to be replaced - upgrade to a higher efficiency version. 

For more information about your water heater's temperature relief valve or any other HVAC-related issues, please contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've served the greater Cleveland area with a high level of customer satisfaction since 1936.

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photo credit: Digi_shot

Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: home comfort tips, water heater, thermostats, hot water heaters

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