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A plumber in Eltham explains PTR valves and the role they play in your home

2020-09-17T03:38:15+00:00 March 13th, 2018|Plumbing|

Talking to your plumber can be difficult.

No, we’re not referring to the stereotypical image of tradies as dirty and unapproachable (which is a stereotype we’re working hard to smash!)

Rather, talking to a plumber can be like speaking to someone who speaks a foreign language.

Plumbers like to throw around jargon, technical terms and acronyms, and sometimes, it can be hard to keep up!

So, we’d like to help clarify some of the confusion around perhaps one of the most popular acronyms in the plumbing world, the PTR valve.

What does it stand for? What does it do? Why is it important?

Let’s find out!


Take the pressure off your pipes

When water heats up, it expands.

In fact, there’s even a nifty formula to help you figure out how much you can expect a jug of water to expand (good luck trying to work that out, though!)

Although it might all be Greek to you (literally), thermal expansion puts a lot of pressure on your water heater, especially if you use a tank water heater.

That’s where Pressure and Temperature Release (PTR) valves come into play.

Like the name suggests, these valves are responsible for regulating the pressure build-up and heat inside your tank water heater.

You know when you put a pot of water on the stove and the lid starts shaking and overflowing as the water heats up?

PTR valves keep that from happening to your water heater by providing an avenue for the steam to escape, as well as stopping your pipes from overheating – or worse, exploding!


Are you experiencing these common PTR problems?

The PTR valve is one of those things where if it’s working properly, you’ll never realise it’s there, which is kind of fine – as long as it’s doing its job, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

When things go wrong however… well, let’s just say it’s hard not to notice!

Here are just some examples of what can go wrong with your PTR valves, as well as the potential consequences:

PTR valves are leaking

Does your PTR valve leak slightly during hot water cycles?

There mightn’t be too much cause for concern here just yet: as pressure leaves your water heater, it’s normal for a little bit of water to overflow.

When the water is excessively overflowing however, you could have a faulty pressure valve.

Hot water puts a lot of strain on the components of your water heater – if you haven’t maintained your hot water heater, valves can weaken and become brittle.

Alternatively, it could be a sign that the pressure is too high, and your release valves are struggling to keep up.

In these cases, we urge you to immediately relieve the pressure by turning down the heat on thermostat.

Unsure? No worries – your best course of action is to phone a local plumber to help you understand any pressure issues within your hot water system.

Are you experiencing a blockage?

It wouldn’t be a plumbing blog post unless we talked about blockages at some point!

Like we mentioned before, your pressure and temperature valves keep you safe by allowing pressure and steam to escape. Needless to say, a blocked valve can potentially be disastrous!

Blockages can prevent steam and heat from escaping, result in a build-up of pressure in your hot water system – in some cases, the temperature in your tank water heater can go above boiling.

If this happens, there are only 2 steps you must follow:

  1. Shut off your water heater immediately
  2. Call a professional local plumber

We strongly recommend against cleaning out your pressure and temperature valve yourself: it pays to be safe – you wouldn’t want to end up in hot water, after all!

What’s that noise?

Do you hear a high-pitched whistling sound even when the kettle’s off? How about a constant rattling noise?

A high-pitched whistling sound could be a sign that the pressure in your water heater is just too high. Alternatively, it could indicate cracks – whistling is the result of steam escaping into the air.

Rattling on the other hand may be the result of corrosion within your PTR valve. In these cases, your valves may need cleaning, or more likely, complete replacement.

As we have said many times before, messing with your hot water system yourself is a potential disaster just waiting to happen – so in cases like these (or any such case where that little voice in your head is telling you that you’re potentially working beyond your skill-set), we urge you, call a qualified and licensed plumber!

It’s just plain broken!

As your water heater gets older, parts wear out.

Eventually, some important components will simply break!

It’s not hard to miss when the valve is split, cracking or barely hanging on by a thread.

And while a break in your relief valve won’t cause an explosion, it won’t make hot showers very easy either! If heat is escaping from your water heater, how warm is the water inside your tank going to be?

While this might not be a problem during hot summer days where you actually crave a lukewarm shower, it’s a completely different story in winter!

Ensure your PTR valves (and overall hot water system) is in tip-top condition before winter arrives.

Under manufacturers’ specifications, PTR valves must be change at intervals not exceeding 5 years to ensure the safe working operation of your unit.

Unsure of the state of your hot water unit? Arrange a hot water plumbing inspection with H2-Pro today!


Experiencing hot water or potential PTR valve issues? You need a plumber in Eltham!

Call H2-Pro today

As Warrandyte, Mitcham, and Eltham’s premier plumber, H2-Pro is proud to offer rapid plumbing services to homes across Melbourne’s northeast.

Our team of plumbing superstars are ready to swoop in and save the day, no matter the hour!

If your water heater presents any of these issues and you suspect it’s a problem with your pressure and temperature release valves, don’t hesitate to give us a call on (03) 9844 1444.

Alternatively, you can contact us using this form.

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