Water heaters are the devices that form the part and parcel of the central heating system installed in our houses. They are excellent devices that can work for many years without requiring any repair and thus are one of the most long lasting appliances. But sometimes the water heaters suddenly start leaking giving you trouble. The problem may upset you and you will have to call a plumber to fix the problem. However it is not always necessary to call a plumber to fix the problem. Sometimes the problem is simple and can be corrected by just changing the valve. So it is always better to always inspect and find the cause.
Most of the water heaters have three connecting lines; a cold water line, a hot water line and a discharge line. The cold water line brings in cold water, this is heated and enters the hot water line. If the pressure inside the water heater builds up the water then water leaves through the discharge line. The discharge line is present on the top of the side of the heater. This discharge line is provided with the T and PR valve, which is a brass valve with an attached lever. The valve safely allows the overheated water to flow out lest it causes explosion. Different kind of valves have different specifications. Most of them are designed to open and allow water to flow out of the discharge line if the temperature reaches above two hundred degree centigrade. The valve is connected to the discharge line which releases the hot water directly into the drain or a tank designed for the purpose.
The T and PR valves are designed to allow hot water in case of increased pressure but sometimes the valves get damaged and cause pooling of water around your water heater. So if you see a pool of water around your water heater it is assign of danger. Never touch the water bare handed, remember it's the excessively hot water that your heater has discharged. Shut off the heating system and inspect the valve. The handymen can also change the valve themselves and the replacement valves are easily available in the market. However since it is a matter of safety, try engaging a professional plumber for the task.
Inspecting the T and PR valves at regular intervals, is of utmost importance for all the home owners who have a heating system at their home. The test is simple and easy and can be performed once or twice the year to ensure that the valve is working properly. Lift the lever attached to the valve for quite some time and keep the valve open it will discharge some hot water. When you leave the lever the valve should go back to its original place and the water should stop. If the water continues to flow it means that the valve is leaky. If you find the your valve is leaky or has worn out ask a plumber to replace it or do it yourself following the required precautions.