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Old 09-20-2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Water heater pressure relief valve leaking?

Quick question from a newbie, I am on my 1st official camping trip with my rig that I acquired 1 month ago, and I have the water heater set in 120V and have noticed that there is a drip from the pressure relief valve from the water heater , it's not bad but i want to know if this is normal. Also, it is okay to leave the water heater on all of the time? Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:15 PM   #2
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I have replaced my relief valve at least 2 times in the last 5 years, it is easy to do and not to expensive. Yes you can leave you hot water tank on all the time. I do.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:20 PM   #3
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I have replaced my relief valve at least 2 times in the last 5 years, it is easy to do and not to expensive. Yes you can leave you hot water tank on all the time. I do.
Ditto on the pressure relief vale but a caution about the water heater. If you keep your fresh water tanks full, no problem, but if they go dry the heating element is no longer submerged in water and that will burn out the heating element.
-Paul R. Haller-
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:28 PM   #4
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maybe the valve has a little grunge in it .. Under pressure, open valve with the little silver handle and allow it to * snap * shut. That may give you a cure. Not with the water hot, of course..!
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:50 PM   #5
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The valve actually does two things, it's a temperature sensing device, an also, a pressure sensing device. What is the RV park pressure where you were camping?

Yes you can run your hot water heater on 120 volts, as long there is a constant supply of water. like phranc said lift the little metal handle an let some water expel, but be careful the will be hot!!!!!.do that a couple of times to see if it reseats.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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Quick question from a newbie, I am on my 1st official camping trip with my rig that I acquired 1 month ago, and I have the water heater set in 120V and have noticed that there is a drip from the pressure relief valve from the water heater , it's not bad but i want to know if this is normal. Also, it is okay to leave the water heater on all of the time? Thanks!

This is a situation that will happen and shouldn't be of a major concern...your tank has most likely lost the air space at the top on the tank. Here is a link that will show/tell you how to replace that air gap.

If the problem persist after the air gap has been reset...you might have a bad relief valve. I usually do this at least once each year. Don't be in to much of a hurry when the valve is opened....give it a couple of minutes even though no water isn't coming out.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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The valve on my two trip old 5er started leaking and no "snapping" of the valve cured it. Dealer wanted me to bring all 33' of it in so they could replace the valve. I convinced them I could do it myself and they gave me a new one. Over 11 years old when I sold it and it never leaked again.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:22 AM   #8
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It's leaking all the time, or just when you've fired up the heater for the first time? If it's on the initial warm up, I wouldn't worry about it. It's just the water expanding as it's warmed, and the valve is functioning as it should.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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When doing delivery checkouts, I always taught customers to hook up the water hose and go inside and open the HOT water faucet only. This will cause the air in the water hose to replace the missing air cushion in the hot water heater.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your responses!!!
What a GREAT resource this forum is
,a wealth of knowledge! I have resolved the dripping issues with the pressure relief valve, I purged the air and snapped the valve several times and no more leaks/drips. Thanks again for all of your help!
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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I also do the "snapping" on my home WH to purge the air out of it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:23 AM   #12
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I was surprised that the Atwood manual said that a drip was "normal" due to thermal exspansion. I did the air gap and snapping thing, even bought a replacement before I opened the manual for suggestions/tips on the change out. Now I have a spare if and when it fails.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:09 AM   #13
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Carry a spare of anything, and you will never need it.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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I am a plumber. The valve should never leak unless it is defective or has dirt or calcified deposits on the valve seat. Or, it is doing its job by relieving internal tank pressure and excess heat, but this action is not a slow leak. We never "snap" a PRV unless we have an exact replacement in the truck. Many times "snapping" allows particles inside the tank to get under the seat and actually start the slow leak process. The valve is under $15 at a plumbing wholesaler or hardware store. Be sure you match the pressure relief and BTU rating of old valve and MAKE SURE that the new one has the same length of thermal element that fits into the tank if it is a top mounted valve. Of course, turn off all power to the heater, close rig water inlet valve and allow the tank to cool down before removing the old valve.
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