Repair Options for a Leaking Pressure Relief Valve
LESLIE: Out in Rhode Island, Helder is thinking ahead of the games and thinking about fixing your furnace. Think there’s going to be a cold winter right around the corners?
HELDER: I’m afraid of that. My question is about a furnace that heats up my home.
HELDER: And it’s brand new and it worked perfectly for the first year. And then, the last five months, it’s simply releasing water through the relief valve.
TOM: OK. You mentioned a furnace but I think what you’re talking about is a boiler here. You have hot water heat?
HELDER: (overlapping voices) Right, boiler. I’m sorry. (inaudible)
TOM: Yeah, you have hot water heat. Boilers heat water; furnaces heat air. And it’s leaking water out of the pressure relief valve?
TOM: OK. Well, there’s one of two possibilities. First of all, the pressure relief valve should be – may be doing exactly what it’s designed to do; is letting out excess pressure. And if that’s the case, you’re going to need to get an HVAC contractor to figure out why it’s generating so much pressure because it shouldn’t be. OK, so the pressure relief valve is a 30 PSI valve.
HELDER: 30 PSI valve, yes.
TOM: And if it’s leaking water, you should – there’s no reason to have any pressure that exceeds that. You should have a heck of a lot less than that. So if the boiler’s building up too much pressure, something’s wrong.
Secondly, you could possibly just have a bad pressure relief valve. Now, one way to check it – but I will tell you, it’s risky – is to simply open that valve up and catch some of the water. Because sometimes you get some debris that gets stuck inside the valve. There’s a little lever on it. But I will tell you, the reason I say it’s risky is because sometimes a perfectly good valve goes bad very quickly when you – when you use – actually use the pressure relief valve once. So, unless you’re pretty handy and have a plumbing store open 24/7 in your neighborhood (chuckling), you might not want to do that.
But that’s the two reasons that could be happening. I don’t know why because I can’t see the dials on your boiler and what’s going on. But you’re probably going to need to get that serviced. I would recommend you do it now – you know, well before the winter – because if you wait too long, you’re going to be standing in line.