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Old 01-30-2007, 01:24 PM   #15
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Not Stinky,

I think you're right about the cold water coming in. The valve won't reseat because of hysteresis.

In lay terms, the pressure was still too high for the valve to reseat. Once you reduced the pressure below the critical point, the valve could reseat and hold.

It's common for a valve to pop when you go from stone cold to shut-off.

If it keeps dribbling, replace it. They will often get stuck, corrode, or the spring will get weak.

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Old 01-30-2007, 04:19 PM   #16
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I would consider changing the valve. If it is very new, a year or so you could wait and see. If it leaks again I would change it. Next, why did it open? They are to open for pressure (not likely) or hi temp. If the thermostat is bad or set too high it will open. Often once they have been in place for a while and they are opened either automatically or manually they won't reseal or they will open prematurely.

As for operation I leave mine on once we set up to camp. You will find that the difference in gas consumption is minimal leaving it on or turning it on and off. It is thermostatically controlled so except for a little heat loss from the tank you will still pay for what you use whether you turn it on and off or just leaving it on.

Make sure you turn it off completely (no pilot) before you gas up your TV. You should also turn off the gas to the Fridge. I think most states have laws pertaining to this and even if they don't you don't want an open flame when you are pumping gas or refilling a gen set. Remember it is the invisible fumes that are flammable. They can be carried down hill or down wind!

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Old 01-30-2007, 06:35 PM   #17
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Could be a couple of things. First a bit of debris in the valve which you cleaned out when you scalded yourself. Second it could be that there wasn't an air cushion in the tank. Normally when you fill your tank there is some air left in it. That air is a cushion that is compressed when the water heater is heating. Over time that air becomes absorbed and you have a tank full of water. Now you heat it and water expands but there is no place for it to move to. In some cases just your normal opening and closing of the faucets during a heating cycle will take care of that pressure. Sometimes not and the only way out is the safety valve.

So the fix on a long trip would be to restore that water cushion. Mine weeps a little right at the end of the heating cycle. About 1 minute before flame out when I'm on an extended trip.

Even my brand new water heater at home did this. The county plumbing inspector was checking out the install and saw a couple of drips at the end of the water heater safety valve discharge pipe and noted that the pressure was building up in the heating cycle causing this to happen. He said that putting a small expansion tank in the line would allow for the expansion. About 3 months later the county changed the plumbing code. Now all water heater replacements or new installations require this tank.

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Old 01-30-2007, 06:54 PM   #18
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But what's up with the valve
Probably some mineral deposits "grew" on the valve opening it up slightly.
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Old 02-03-2007, 06:53 PM   #19
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Hhmmm, hypothetical for future reference......... suppose the valve is working correctly.

Maybe the water heater starts up, but doesn't know when to shut down ?

The valve opens before the tank blows..... Hot water heater keeps running.

Where would I look then ?

T & K

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Old 02-03-2007, 07:04 PM   #20
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Thanks again everyone !

I did swap out the valve and it appears to be working OK.

Hard to find one at local big box home stores with 1/2 fittings though.

Because it was apart late Saturday night after 5 and all good supply houses
closed at noon ( and I was impatient ), I used one with 3/4 fittings with reducers. It's pretty tight in there and the extra inch or so almost doesn't allow the door to close. The nozzle end doesn't point down either

I'll watch this one over the weekend and if it keeps working, I will get the proper one next week.

Thanks again for all your advise. I can read about it till the cows come home and still not get it, but when a couple guys explain it in different ways, it clicks !

Now......for that HOT shower ! Ahhhhh......

T & K

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Old 02-03-2007, 07:23 PM   #21
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If you continue to get dribbles out of the relief valve, look into adding an accumulator tank. This gives additional expansion space for the water.

Most of these relief valves are set for 150 PSI. I have an '05 and replaced the relief valve, and the new one dribbled. Additionally the ultra high water pressure caused the Shurflo city water inlet valve to leak inside the trailer, soaking the insulation and dripping out of the belly pan gaps. An accumulator tank solved the problem.

BTW my water heater works well even if it is only 6 gallons. If I'm at a hookup site or don't have to conserve water, I don't have to use the navy shower routine.
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Old 02-03-2007, 07:44 PM   #22
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T/P Valves

It is always a good idea, and I advise my customers so, that you 'flick' the T/P valve (temperature and pressure) once a week or so just to 'exercise' the springs and the gaskets. This will also clean out any debris that may have lodged in the seals if it popped at some point.

If you do this procedure and it still dribbles or's time for a new one .
Lew Farber...RVIA Certified Master Tech...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician
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Old 02-03-2007, 09:51 PM   #23
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Good tip Lewster, in fact my new one came with those very instructions in the box, not as often as once a week, but it did say to leave it open for at least 5 seconds for the very reason you called out


T & K

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