Pressure Relief Accessories For A New Hot Water Heater

Posted on: 26 May 2020

One of the major issues that needs to be addressed when you have a new water heater installed is pressure regulation. Hot water results in steam, which can cause even a brand new water heater to leak or even to burst open. Fortunately, installation code typically requires some pressure relief devices. The following are the types of devices you need to make sure are installed at the same time as your new hot water heater.

Expansion Tanks

An expansion tank is made of metal. It is designed to take in excess steam, condensation, and water in the event that the thermal conditions inside your hot water heater create more pressurized water than the heater can hold. Instead of the heater cracking or bursting, the excess flows through the connecting valve and into the expansion tank. It is held there until the pressure drops, typically after the moisture in the expansion tank has cooled. Any moisture in the tank is then recirculated back into the hot water heater to be heated and passed through the lines to your taps.

Relief Valves

An expansion tank may be designed to handle normal amounts of steam expansion, but a relief valve is needed in the event of a malfunction that is too much for the small expansion system to handle. The valve is installed at the top of the tank. The reason for this is simple — heat rises, so when pressure builds due to steam inside a hot water heater, the leak or overflow is most likely to occur at the top of the tank. Although the valve is at the top of the tank, you don't want pressurized hot water spraying upward. For this reason, an external drain pipe is attached to the valve. This pipe routes any overflow down toward the ground where it will cause less damage.


Not all pressure issues are simply due to the water being heated in the tank. A pressure regulator is designed to regulate the pressure as it flows through the plumbing pipes and into your hot water heater. Part of the issue is that the water pressure is set by the municipal water system, and in some cases it is so high that it can damage the plumbing fixtures in your home, including your brand new water heater. The pressure regulator is typically installed directly on the water main so that all water coming into the home is at a safe pressure level.

Contact a water heater installation service for more help.


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