Home Improvement Questions? Ask a Handyman for Answers ASAP
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This is not a drastic situation, but it is good that you noticed it and now it should be fixed. The relief valve is actually a safety device to keep the water heater from exploding from pressure build-up. A leaking valve is a good thing, since it means that it is doing it's job. However, you do not want it to continue to leak, so you will need to correct the cause.
The valve can begin to leak water either because the valve has become defective, or the temperature/ pressure in the tank is getting to high.
Before replacing the valve, you should inspect the TPR valve by manually raising and lowering its handle, a few times to see if there is just sedimentation or mineral build-up causing it to leak; be sure to have a bucket to collect the water. Water will run out of the bottom of the tube when lever is lifted and should stop when the lever is released. If water continues to leak, then either the defective TPR valve needs to be replaced and/ or the pressure is too high.
It is a relatively easy procedure for the average DIY to replace the valve, if necessary.
Click on this link to learn more about testing for a defective valve & testing for high pressure. Also, instructions on how to replace the valve are included.
If you need further help or clarification on this question, please reply to this post.
Best of Luck, Brian
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