Replacing TP valve – do you solder or use a sharkbite valve?

The Tank Replacing TP valve – do you solder or use a sharkbite valve?

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    Hi – I’m new to this forum and see some discussion of replacing T&P valves so I think I’ve come to the right place. Our 1998 gas water heater has been running non stop for 2 days. Hot water is filling the spill pan below – but not overflowing – and the discharge pipe is bubbling in about an inch of hot water in the spill pan.

    I have two questions for the experts here:

    1) Does the fact that the discharge pipe terminate inside the spill pan (with an air gap) cause you concern – I read on this website that this could be a code violation – – because it could actually siphon up water into the heater. We had this installed in 1998 and no issues so far.

    2) We think we may replace the T&P valve – but it is copper and appears to be sodered on. So I read that we can cut the discharge pipe, remove the relief valve and use 3/4″ sharkbite coupling (requires no soldering) and some teflon tape – instead of soldering. Is this the process you recommend?

    Thank you!


    Larry Weingarten

    Hello: The pipe from the relief valve is copper and sounds like it’s soldered. The valve itself is brass and is screwed into the tank. You have choices depending on local custom. You could cut the copper, replace the valve and then use CPVC pipe or use a brass nipple then a copper flex connector to a copper male adapter on copper pipe or brass union or Sharkbite or polypropylene tube made for this. You gots choices 🙂 Personally, however I do the work, I’d want easy access to the relief valve for future maintenance. It’s sorta silly to solder it all together.

    Code doesn’t want the possibility of dirty water being drawn up the relief line, so cut it so it is above the flood rim of the drain pan. Give an air gap of at least an inch.

    Yours, Larry


    Thanks, Larry, appreciate the advice!! Will let you know how it goes.

    Just curious, how often after replacing the T&P valve do folks end up needing to install an expansion tank? We have our water heater in a small closet, not sure we have the clearance from the cold water line.

    Randy Schuyler

    That all depends on why the T&P is running. You only need an expansion tank if you have thermal expansion pressure spikes. You can easily test for that. There is a Tanklet about temperature/pressure relief valve issues that can be found by using the link at the top of the Tank topics index. It tells how to test for that.

    This just sounds like a bad valve, though.

    Randy Schuyler

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