Hot Water Systems are made up of many parts and components that ensure the safe delivery of reliable and consistent hot water throughout your home. One of these components is a Temperature Pressure Relief Valve, more commonly known as a “TPR Valve”.
As the name suggests a TPR Valve has a primary purpose to monitor the pressure and temperature of your hot water. If either the pressure or temperature within the hot water service are outside their pre-set parameters, the TPR Valve will leak. This not only prevents damage to your hot water heater but gives you a visual indication that something is wrong with it.
Where is My TPR Valve Located?
TPR Valves are generally located at the top of your Hot Water Service, either on the side at the top or on the very top. There is a lever attached to the valve that when pulled will release pressure by discharging water from your hot water heater cylinder via a drainpipe to ground level - usually above a drain.
What’s Causing My TPR Valve to Leak?
There are three reasons your TPR Valve is leaking:
- Your hot water heater is in a heating cycle, it’s perfectly normal for a small amount of water to discharge during a heating cycle
- Either the temperature or pressure is above the manufacturer’s recommendations
- The TPR Valve has failed and needs to be replaced
When a Hot Water Service heats water, the energy it produces creates steam which forms pressure in the tank. Hot Water Systems are designed to hold an amount of pressure and a temperature and these amounts are engineered by the manufacturers. When these amounts are exceeded, the TPR Valve will leak and water will flow down the drain tube.
So, it’s critical for safety reasons that these valves are routinely inspected and maintained in good working order or your Hot Water System could be at risk of exploding and causing serious harm and damage.
How Often Should I Test My TPR Valve?
As we have said, it is critical that this valve is working perfectly at all times. So, it’s recommended to test your TPR Valve once every 6 months. Failure to operate the easing lever on the relief valve may result in the water heater cylinder failing, or even exploding.
If water does not flow freely from the drain line when the lever is lifted, then the water heater must be checked by a licensed plumbing professional.
How Do I Test My TPR Valve?
Simply lift the lever located on the TPR Valve until the water runs freely down the drain line, then gently lower the lever back down again. It should seal shut. It is possible at times for the seat on the TPR Valve to be obstructed by sediment causing the valve to continually leak, if this happens then repeat the above step until the valve seals shut.
If after 3 to 4 attempts the valve continues to run, then it’s time to call our expert Hot Water Plumber at Essendon Plumbing Services.
Note: Water discharged from the TPR Valve drain line will be hot! Exercise care to avoid any splashing of water by standing clear of the drain line’s point of discharge when operating the valve’s easing lever.
How Often Should I Replace My TPR Valve?
The TPR Valve should only be replaced by a licensed plumber within every 5 years. TPR Valves have different ratings and hot water systems require specific TPR Valves as per the manufacturers specifications. An incorrectly installed TPR Valve is extremely dangerous and could cause your hot water system to explode, causing harm to you, your family and your home. Don’t risk it, always use a Master Plumber.
Can I Install a TPR Valve Myself?
The short answer is NO! There are some plumbing jobs that need to be left to the plumbing professionals and this is definitely one of them. For the safety of you, your loved ones and your home, don’t risk it and only use a Licensed Plumber.
Hot Water Services must be installed by a Licensed Plumber and in accordance with Plumbing Standards AS/NZS 3500.4.