Have A Gilbert Plumber Check Your T & P Valve Today
It's not something that is talked about very often, but our Gilbert plumbing team would like to take a moment and explain the importance of the T&P (temperature and pressure) release valve located near the top of your water heater. This valve is a small disk, about the size of a quarter, with a manual lever attached to its top. While it doesn't look that important, it is the single most important safety feature on your water heater. Without a properly functioning T&P valve, your water heater is literally a ticking time bomb.
A storage style water heater works because a heating source, either an electric element inside of the tank or a gas fired flame in the base of the tank, heats the water inside the tank to the temperature specified by the thermostat. The higher the temperature of the water gets, the more pressure there is on the sides of the storage tank. Tanks are built to withstand pressures that are consistent with temperatures up to 190 degrees. At temperatures higher than this, the tank can rupture. Because most storage style water heaters are cylindrical in shape, a rupture results in a huge explosion that can send super hot water spraying around the room. While this can be deadly, shrapnel from the tank can be even moreso. Temperatures above 190 degrees are almost always due to a failed thermostat that leaves the heater stuck in the on position. This T&P valve was designed specifically for case like this.
The T&P valve is essentially a back-up thermostat. When the temperature or pressure inside the tank reaches a dangerous level, the disk on the top of the T&P valve becomes unseated and opens. This allows hot water to flow out and reduce the pressure on the inside of the tank. This hot water is then replaced by cold water running down the dip tube to the bottom of the tank. This temporarily reduces the temperature and pressure in the water heater. The disk will then reseat itself and close the valve.
Call a Gilbert Plumber at the First Sign of Trouble
If you notice a constant dripping from your T&P valve, or a large amount of water on the floor around your tank, it is time to call in our Gilbert plumbers. This is a sign that your thermostat is failing. The failed thermostat means that the heating source will be running constantly, which will result in much higher utility bills, and if your T&P valve then fails as well – something much worse.