Heat-trap nipples causing pressure relief valve to leak

The Tank Heat-trap nipples causing pressure relief valve to leak

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  • #15197
    dopalgangr
    Participant

    Hello all, First post, thanks. I have a GE 50 gallon gas hot water heater that was manufactured on 8/10 and installed in Oct 2010. Ever since it has been installed it has slowly leaked from the pressure relief valve (about a half gallon of water over the course of 2-3 days). They sent me a new valve that I installed and it is still doing the same thing. My old unit never leaked and I am on a community water system thats’ pressure has not changed. I called GE back and they said its probably a thermal expansion issue and I could either deal with the leaking, install a thermal expansion tank ($80-100 on my dime), or take out the heat-trap nipples and replace them with normal fittings. Now the only difference between this tank and my old one is that my old tank didn’t have these heat-trap nipples. Has anyone else encountered this? What should I do? Thanks again, Glen

    #15198
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    Go to the hardware store and buy a water pressure gauge. Then go to Tanklets using the link at the top of the topics index. Click on Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve Issus.

    Test static pressure to make sure it’s 80 psi or less. If it’s more, you need a pressure reducer. Then do the test for thermal expansion. If you have spikes over 80, you need an expansion tank.

    It is entirely possible that the reason your previous tank didn’t have this problem is because the T&P was clogged shut.

    Randy Schuyler

    #15203
    dopalgangr
    Participant

    Thanks Randy for the info. What pisses me off the most is why is GE selling a water heater that cant handle the increased pressure that it generates?? My old pressure relief valve was fine and I tested it before I replaced the water heater. I have installed lots of water heaters over the years at different homes and none of them ever had this pressure issue nor leaked from the T&P. They all were electric though and this is gas, I’m starting to think that this heats the water more rapidly than electric thus creating more pressure in the tank. My neighbor has the exact same house as I with a different brand water heater that he installed a month before me and doesn’t have any issues with his. He did say however that his did not come with the heat trap nipples. Well anyway, I’ll try the tests out. Thanks again.

    ***EDIT*** Wow Randy< I guess I should have clicked on some more links before I made the post 😉 Just curious, where do you put the pressure guage, on the drain valve at the bottom? Is there any certain ones you recommend? Does this look like a good one http://www.berndtwholesale.com/osc/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=15744477 Also if I end up having a pressure issue what are your thoughts of the Governor 80 device? Seems like the easiest and cheapest to install and maintain. Which of these would you use Governor 80, DET expansion tank, BRV valve or 530C valve

    #15204
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: I’d put in an expansion tank over other methods. This is because it will maintain more even system pressures and be easier on the plumbing. Also, there is no potential for water waste. I don’t know what the other devices mentioned are (BRV valve or 530C valve), but will guess they are pressure reducers. The gauge can go on the drain at the bottom of the heater or any bibb downstream of the reducer 😉

    Yours, Larry

    #15206
    dopalgangr
    Participant

    Hey thanks Larry, my static pressure is only 50 psi, I’m waiting on the heater to kick on for the thermal expansion test. I’ll let you guys know what I get. Glen

    #15207
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: No need to wait 😎 Make a mark on the gas control valve dial so you know where to set it back to and then turn it way up. Another way is to run some hot water for a minute, preferably from a tub spout to make the thermostat kick on.

    Water heaters can give instant gratification!

    Yours, Larry

    #15208
    dopalgangr
    Participant

    Ok, well after the heater kicked on it spiked at 158 then settled down to 110. So I guess I will need to install a thermal expansion tank then? However, after watching this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ske4M4-gS5A i’m at little hesitant. Are these safe??

    #15210
    Ej
    Participant

    You can get a stainless tank like this?

    http://www.westank.com/pdf/SSFXA.pdf

    Are you sure you don’t have a pressure regulator on your home now with maybe a bad bypass?

    #15211
    dopalgangr
    Participant

    Hmm, I do have a pressure regulator where the water comes into the house, how do I test to see if the bypass is working or not? Also the specs on the Watts regulator state

    **NOTE: The bypass feature will not prevent the pressure relief valve from opening on the hot water supply system with pressure above 150psi (10.3 bar).
    So I’m guessing it is working correctly since my pressure spikes at 158-160???

    #15213
    Ej
    Participant

    dopalgangr wrote:

    Ok, well after the heater kicked on it spiked at 158 then settled down to 110.

    This is what concerns me. 110 psi is way to high to be settling down at. I can’t see how an expansion tank could help this. I have never tested a bypass in a regulator. I don’t have a proper testing method in the field and frankly you can get one at home depot for less than half of my per hour charge. A good rule of thumb is to replace your regulator every 10-12 years. If yours has an union on at least one end it is a ten minute job. Just make sure you match up model for model then you will not have to sweat on a new union. And please before you go to all this trouble make sure you do not have a check valve installed somewhere along your lines.

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