Excessive buildup of pressure can cause a boiler to explode. To help minimize the risks of explosions, manufacturers usually fit boilers with different safety features. The temperature/pressure relief valve is one of them.
Under normal operations, the valve usually stays closed. But if something goes wrong that leads to temperature increases that are likely to cause explosions, the valve opens, relieving the boiler of any built-up pressure. This is a process that is usually accompanied by whistling sounds and a release of steam clouds.
Anything that interferes with the proper operation of the temperature/pressure relief valve is something that puts you and your family at the risk of scalding. This is in addition to exposing your wallet to the unnecessary repair costs. Here are some of the things that you should look out for.
Accumulated dirt and debris
For the temperature/pressure relief valve to work properly, it needs to be open enough to be able to let steam and water through. The spring system that aids in its operation also needs to be able to move freely. These things are not possible if the valve is covered in dirt and debris.
There are two ways that dirt and debris can end up on the relief valve. The first has to do with the fact that the relief valve is an exposed part of the boiler, which makes it vulnerable to the dust and debris floating around in your house. The second is through minerals that get deposited on the valve and spring system when the hot water that it discharges evaporates.
Cleaning the relief valve regularly will help ensure that there is nothing standing in its way when it has to protect you and your family. As for the mineral deposit clogging problem, it can be easily solved by replacing your valve at least once every three years.
Test lever obstructions
Most boilers are usually fitted with relief valve test levers. These levers are usually used to test whether the valve is functioning properly. They also come in handy when something goes wrong and there is a need to manually relieve the boiler pressure.
Poor installation could see this lever getting blocked by having it pressed against a wall or any other physical object that can restrict its movement. And since the lever is directly connected to the relief valve, anything that restricts its movements also runs the risk of reducing the responsiveness of the temperature/pressure relief valve. This increases the risks of boiler explosions.
To be on the safe side, it is imperative that you remove any obstacles that stand in the way of the lever. Move the boiler away from the wall if necessary. And in cases where you don't have enough room to move the boiler around, you can consider cutting into the wall. Speak with a professional from a company like Master Tech Mechanical to make sure the job is done safely and correctly.
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