Fixing a Leaking Pressure Relief Valve on Your Hot Water Heater

A leaking pressure relief valve on your hot water heater can be a cause for concern. Not only can it lead to water wastage and increased utility bills, but it can also indicate potential safety hazards. In this blog post, Ethical Plumbing will guide you through the steps to diagnose and fix a leaking pressure relief valve on your hot water heater. Please remember that if you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing these steps, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power and Water Supply:

Before you begin any work on your hot water heater, ensure the power source (electricity or gas) and water supply are turned off. Safety should always be your top priority.

Step 2: Release Pressure:

To prevent scalding, release some pressure from the water heater. Turn on a hot water faucet in your home, which will allow air to enter the system and relieve pressure.

Step 3: Locate the Pressure Relief Valve:

Identify the pressure relief valve on your hot water heater. It’s typically located on the side or the top of the tank. The valve has a lever or a small handle for manual operation.

Step 4: Test the Valve:

Lift the lever on the pressure relief valve for a few seconds to allow hot water to discharge. Be cautious as the water may be very hot. If water flows freely and stops when you release the lever, the valve may have been temporarily stuck and might not require replacement.

Step 5: Check for Continual Leaking:

If the pressure relief valve continues to leak after testing, it’s likely a sign that the valve is faulty and needs replacement.

Step 6: Drain the Tank (Optional):

If the leaking persists, you may need to drain the tank partially to replace the valve. Connect a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve and direct the hose to a suitable drainage location. Open the drain valve to release water until the tank is partially empty.

Step 7: Replace the Pressure Relief Valve:

Using a pipe wrench or pliers, carefully unscrew the old pressure relief valve from the water heater tank. Take the old valve with you to a plumbing supply store to ensure you purchase a compatible replacement. Wrap the threads of the new valve with plumber’s tape and screw it into place.

Step 8: Reconnect and Restore:

Once the new valve is securely installed, reconnect any plumbing or hoses that you disconnected earlier. Turn on the water supply and power source, and ensure there are no leaks around the new pressure relief valve.

Step 9: Test the New Valve:

Lift the lever on the new pressure relief valve briefly to ensure it functions correctly. It should discharge hot water and stop when you release the lever.


Fixing a leaking pressure relief valve on your hot water heater is a task that can be completed with care and attention to safety. However, if you are uncertain about any step or encounter difficulties, it’s advisable to seek professional plumbing assistance. Regular maintenance and prompt valve replacement can help ensure your hot water heater operates efficiently and safely, providing you with reliable hot water for your daily needs.