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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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2,830 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Five year old Rheem 50 gallon gas water heater has begun to drip water out the Pressure Relief Valve's blow-off pipe, which is a 3/4" copper tubing pipe that runs straight down the side of the heater. Just started doing it on Friday.

Is this a sign of a catastophic failure of the valve waiting in the wings or do they start seeping like this normally after 5 yrs?

The heater has a thermal expansion tank installed on the hot outlet piping, so I wouldn't expect a pressure problem, plus the thermostat is only set at 120 (F).
 

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Registered
2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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2,830 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Gotta love the new home construction type of install. Building/lumbing code did not require any special routing of the blow-off pipe to a drain or to the crawl space, so... they didn't. When we bought, the home inspector that went over the house for us prior to purchase said it was technically in code compliance but I ought to have it routed, but stupid me I have put it off.



Furnace and water heater sit on a platform at head of the attached garage. Crawl space underneath the platform. As you can see, the way they left it the water drips onto the untreated plywood decking and wicks underneath the heater. Nice.




 

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Registered
1998 Forester
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602 Posts
Where exactly is the leaking from...can you isolate it on the pipe ? If so...a little solder will fix easily. As far as is it a sign that it is about to go...probably not....question ? have you ever drained it ? Usually they start to act squirrely after about 8 years or so but I've seen 15 yr old heaters that seemed like they would last forever...until they failed that is..
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
Those valves are typically replaceable. Had to do ours this spring, Also a 5 year old water heater. The valve is also called a Temperature and Pressure (T&P valve).

Took all of a 1/2 hour to do.
1. turn heater off, power/gas
2. drain tank
3. un solder 3/4" pipe from T&P valve
4. unscrew T&P valve
5. Screw in new T&P valve with pipe dope on thread
6. solder 3/4" drain pipe onto new valve
7. fill tank
8. turn power/gas back on

quick google search had this link.
http://www.cornerhardware.com/howto/ht065.html
 

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1998 stb
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35 Posts
the expansion vessal my have failed, tap it with something metal if it rings its ok if it makes a thud its not .
it may have a valve in the end push in the pin for a moment air should come out ,if water comes out its u/s .
if this is faulty this may have lifted the valve which is leaking, some times they will reseat sometimes they do not
 

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The Modfather
2016 BRZ Limited - Manual 6 Speed Manual
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8,095 Posts
Can you take a pic of the top? I want to see if they put shut off valves on both the in and out pipes. I always do because down the road it makes the swap that much easier. I also change the drain valve out to a SS ball valve and close nipple. One thing that will really extend the life of you HW heater is to drain a gallon or so every month go get the crud out. If you try that with the plastic valves they sometimes, OK most of the time leak. Yours looks like a good brass one so you should be OK, Rheem is a good brand IMHO. My HW heater is by my sump pump so it's a simple matter for me. You may want to drain the HW heater and replace the PRV. Has anyone touched the relieve valve? It could just have some crud in it. The pipe off of the PRV down to the floor is a code regulation, I think it needs to be 6" or so (I forget) for safety reasons in case it goes you don't want to burn anyone. Before you start, turn off the Hot Water Heater :) To replace the valve you need to shut off the water feeding it and then (depending if you have two shut off valves on the HWH) drain the water down below the PRV. With the two shut offs that's easier. First turn off the Shut both valves off, get a hose to put on the drain at the bottom and let out the water pressure, when it starts to go slow, open the lever on the PRV and let it drain a bit. so it goes lower than the PRV. If you only have one shut off valve it will be the feed or in to the HWH. Then you need to drain it a different way. Turn off the feed valve, open up all the hot water faucets in the house then drain as described above. It's a lot trickier to know when it's below the valve though, you can usually tell though when you lift the lever and nothing comes out. Then drain a little more to get the level lower. Next get a PRV at the same rating, remove the copper pipe unscrew old and screw in a new one after you put some dope or Teflon tape on the threads.

Or you could do what my dad the Master Plumber would do, put a metal pan under the end of the pipe and see if it gets worse. With that small amount of seepage chances are it will just evaporate and never really amount to much ;)
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,458 Posts
I agree, change the valve. They're not that expensive and replacing your subfloor is. Also, wouldnt be a bad idea to put drain pan under while it's off, if you're adventurous enough. You may have to disconnect all lines to get pan under WH. Then plumb drain in pan to crawl space. ALL WH's will leak at some point.
 
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