Water Heater Relief Valve?

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Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
I am having a problem with my water heater relief gushing water and not re-closing.

This has occurred 3 times in the last year, I know part of the issue is the tank loosing its air bubble, I just don't know if it is the only issue.  The water heater is a Suburban SW6DE built in 2001, overall it seems to be in good shape, anode rod changed out 2 years ago (I have a new one that I plan to install this winter), Both AC and DC thermostats replaced about 7 months ago when the AC heating started tripping the high temperature cut off on the DC thermostat.

Until now re-establishing the air bubble seems to fix the issue, however last weekend while dry camping I lost about 20 gallons of water in under 10 minutes from the relief valve, in the past I had always caught it instantly and turned off the heater and pump.  This time I had set up camp, turned on the water heater on propane, went for a short walk, and when I came back roughly 15 minutes later I had water gushing down the side of my coach from the relief valve, the water coming out was still very warm, but was by no means hot.  Afterward I re-established the air bubble and had no more issues all weekend other than needing to do a bit of water rationing.

Any thoughts?

thanks Ike

p.s. I also have an accumulator
 

Lou Schneider

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An accumulator should be able to absorb the expanding water, maybe it's also lost it's air cushion?

In any case, I agree it sounds like the relief valve is kaput.  If they activate they can get mineral buildup and corrosion on their working surfaces so they don't reseal properly.

They're a common part, no different than the one in a home water heater.    Take your valve to any hardware store and match it up.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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Location
SW Louisiana
That was my general thought, I just wanted some confirmation, note this one does not drip significantly, it just never stops gushing if it gets tripped.
 

Rene T

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Farmington NH
Take the lever and open then let the stem slam shut. Do this several times. It may be just enough to dislodge any crap inside of the relief valve.
 

8Muddypaws

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California
Common hardware store item but you may have to shop around to find a short one.  The tall ones may interfere with the door.
 

catblaster

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Jan 11, 2010
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Kissimmee, Floriduh
  Looks like the constant opening and closing may have weakened or corroded the spring, or like Rene says there may be trash under the seat.
  One of the reasons our housing code in florida requires a separate pressure relief valve, that is so the pressure/temperature relief valve is not compromised by continued blow-off.  An adjustable Watts #530 can be installed in the hot or cold so long as there are no check or shut-off valves between the tank and the relief valve.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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Location
SW Louisiana
I found on on Amazon for $15 and they deliver vs a  10 mile round trip to the hardware store where it will it would have been $14
 
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