What happened was my wife smelled a different kind of odor. I had a very good idea it was the water heater. I opened up the compartment, and water was trying to come out of the pressure relief valve. Water was all over the tank and the floor. I checked the circuit breakers, one of the four were tripped. I turned off all four and the box was pretty warm. I went back and checked things out. As I mentioned,the water ran down the front of the tank, both covers came off, water ran into the electrical parts, causing a short lived fire, which scorched areas on the outside of the tank. I don't see it leaking water anywhere else. So I am back to asking, it is possible to just replace the Pressure Valve on the tank, or do I need to replace the water heater in it's entirety?

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    Water coming out of the pressure relief valve is normal for a fault state where pressure inside the tank is high enough to be purposefully relieved through the pressure release valve. The short answer to your pointed question is YES, you can replace a relief valve. But you have more problems than just the relief valve that you (or paid professional) need to solve to ensure safe operation of the existing water heater.
    – Damon
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:18
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    you might have a bad thermostat or a shorted element those things should be evaluated prior to throwing parts at it.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 29, 2015 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


Water ran into the electronics of the heater and caused a small fire?

Yeah, probably going to be cheaper and easier replacing the whole thing than trying to figure out every part that damaged by that. Especially since it had to be manfunctioning in the first place to overheat like that.

Water coming out the relief valve like that can indicate a serious malfunction - that valve isn't the whole problem. It is what makes the tank leak instead of explode.

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