Boilers need relief valves to protect them from building up too much pressure and possibly blowing up. Pressure and temperature relief valves are installed on all modern boilers to release pressure and hot water when the boiler’s internal pressure and temperature reach a certain level.
Relief valves are usually connected near the boiler’s hot water piping to sense the boiler's internal temperature and pressure easily. Each boiler relief should have a data tag that allows the owner or inspector to know the type of safety devices that have been installed. The metal tag also indicates the maximum pressure and temperature that the relief valve allows.
Some of the common relief valves defects and problems include relief valve leaks, clogged relief valve outlets and wrongly installed relief valves. All these defects are unsafe. If your relief valve is leaking, it should be tested and the cause of the leak identified and fixed. Most of the major relief valve leaks can only be corrected by replacing the entire relief valve.
A clogged or blocked pressure relief valve outlet is dangerous and can cause the boiler to explode. Relief valves outlets should be inspected and cleaned regularly to avoid this problem. Additionally, the relief valve should not be installed far away from the boiler itself, as this limits its efficiency.