Dripping exterior (expansion?) pipe

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  #1  
Old 02-22-2021, 11:39 AM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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Default Dripping exterior (expansion?) pipe

We have a courtyard villa - foxglove/Charlotte. We just noticed an exterior pipe (near the outdoor water source and garage door) is dripping more and more. Any ideas about what’s happening and what we should do? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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  #2  
Old 02-22-2021, 11:52 AM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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You need to find out what the pipe is. It could be one of the following:
- AC condensate drain. It is supposed to drip, especially when the AC is running. But, check the condensate drain pan in the HVAC unit to see if it is full of water.
- Overflow drain line from the water heater drain pan. It will only drip when the water heater has a leak, or if the relief valve has tripped. Is there water in the drain pan under the water heater?
- If you have a water softener, it could be the backflush drain. This will spew out a lot of water during the backflush cycle.
  #3  
Old 02-22-2021, 12:15 PM
rhood rhood is offline
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It’s is the discharge from a a pressure relief valve. If system pressure rises, it opens to relieve the pressure. Probably a bad seat. Not sure if code requires a pressure relief, but if it doesn’t you could just plug it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:25 PM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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Thanks for your reply. The pipe is near the hot water heater, the original from 2003. Our AC drain on the opposite side of the house and we don’t have a water softener system. The water heater drain pan is dry. My husband traced the pipe to the top of the heater.
  #5  
Old 02-22-2021, 12:26 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhood View Post
It’s is the discharge from a a pressure relief valve. If system pressure rises, it opens to relieve the pressure. Probably a bad seat. Not sure if code requires a pressure relief, but if it doesn’t you could just plug it.
The only pressure relief valve I know of is on the top of the water heater. It will open whenever the pressure exceeds 150 psi or the water temperature exceeds 210 degrees. You definitely do not want to cap it off. If you have an expansion tank on the water heater, it is unlikely that the relief valve has tripped. But, if you don't have an expansion tank, the valve can trip occasionally. One way to see if the relief valve is tripping, is to put a plastic cup under relief valve discharge pipe and check it daily for water. If the problem is the relief valve, it needs to be replaced, but not capped off. You may also need to install an expansion tank on the water heater.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:33 PM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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Thank you.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:35 PM
Malsua Malsua is offline
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My guess it's the condenser drain.


Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
You definitely do not want to cap it off.

You got that right!
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  #8  
Old 02-22-2021, 12:44 PM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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This is my first posting attempt. Apologies for the lack of ability to reply. The pipe was traced back to the top of the water heater. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to post a picture from the top of the heater. The heater is the original from 2003.
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  #9  
Old 02-22-2021, 12:57 PM
ckcapaul ckcapaul is offline
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Looks like your pressure relief valve
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:09 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefrope View Post
This is my first posting attempt. Apologies for the lack of ability to reply. The pipe was traced back to the top of the water heater. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to post a picture from the top of the heater. The heater is the original from 2003.
The valve on the side of the tank is the T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve. You can test it by lifting the metal lever up and water should spew out through the pipe. It looks like you do not have an expansion tank, which is required by the current plumbing code, but your house may have been built before the code required it. If you ever replace the water heater, I would highly recommend having an expansion tank installed to equalize the water pressure in your house. At a minimum, I would replace the relief valve if it is occasionally tripping. The valve is probably defective. The relief valve is a safety device which, under normal conditions, should never be tripping.
  #11  
Old 02-22-2021, 01:46 PM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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Default Thank you.

  #12  
Old 02-22-2021, 02:00 PM
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Topspinmo Topspinmo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefrope View Post
This is my first posting attempt. Apologies for the lack of ability to reply. The pipe was traced back to the top of the water heater. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to post a picture from the top of the heater. The heater is the original from 2003.
IMO You’re about due for new water heater. IMO lucky it lasted that long? I too am surprised no expansion tank on top of water heater. My CTV was built in late 2003 also and it had one.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:39 PM
jefrope jefrope is offline
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We checked with neighbors and they have expansion tanks. Either their water heaters were updated with the tank or we were overlooked during construction.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:46 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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I agree with the other poster that it may be time to consider buying a new water heater. If you do, make sure that each contractor who quotes includes the cost for the expansion tank. Some plumbers do not want to do the extra piping even though the expansion tank is required by the code. They will call it a "repair", not a replacement, and claim that the code doesn't apply to a repair. Also, they should install an overflow pan with a drain under the water heater if you don't already have one.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:36 PM
NoMoSno NoMoSno is offline
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Try flipping up the lever, drain some, flip the lever back down.
See if it stops leaking.
If it was fully tripped it would gush out water.
Still leaking? Replace the valve.
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exterior, dripping, pipe, expansion, advance

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