Gas and electric water heaters both involve a series of important valves that help the unit run as efficiently as possible. Problems with one or more of these valves can lead to massive water leaks, overly hot water, or dangerous pressure buildups within the tank. If your water heater has recently started acting up or showing signs of trouble, the valves are one of the first places you can check while troubleshooting.
What are the valves found on a water heater, what do they do, and how can they malfunction?
If there is a leak or puddle of water under your water heater, the first place to check is the drain valve. The drain valve is located near the bottom of the tank and exists to allow you to perform controlled drains of the tank. You might use the valve when partly draining the tank for a part test or replacement, such as the upper thermostat, where you wouldn't want water in the vicinity of the electrical parts. Or you might drain the tank as part of your yearly maintenance routine to ensure that minerals don't build up inside and overrun the anode rod.
The drain valve can leak due to being partly open or due to a part failure. You can attempt to fully close the valve by inserting a flat-head screwdriver into the slot on the top of the valve and turn in a counterclockwise direction. If the valve won't turn, it was already fully closed, and you might have a part failure. Call in heating contractors for further diagnosis and a new drain valve.
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve
The temperature and pressure relief valve is a safety feature that monitors the inside of the tank to ensure that the water entering the tank doesn't become overheated or overly pressurized. Excess temperatures can lead to scalding when you turn on the hot water. Excess pressure has the potential to cause damage to your tank and can even potentially cause your tank to explode.
As part of its stabilizing operations, the valve does leak a bit of water sometimes if the tank has become unbalanced. But if the valve leaks a lot or leaks when you are certain there isn't a temperature or pressure issue, then there was likely a part failure. You can call heating contractors to test the part and replace, if necessary.
For more information, contact Buchner Bernie Inc or a similar company.