History and Uses: The Basics of the Pressure Relief Valve

Unless you have x-ray vision and a built-in pressure gauge, it’s impossible to determine when a
pipe is going to blow. A pressure relief valve is a safety device that is set to release at a
predetermined level.

These valves keep both personnel and equipment safe. No doubt, the history of this device includes
a disaster that could have been avoided. So, what can you do to protect the pipes in your system?

The Right Pressure Relief Valve

The first step is determining which type of valve is necessary. When these devices first entered the
market in the 1600s, they used a simple lever system.

Weights held the levers in place until the pipe pressure became too strong. Then, it would release
once the lever could no longer stay in place due to the growing pressure.

Unfortunately, there were problems with this design as it sometimes caused unexpected explosions
due to the valve not reacting quickly enough.

Distributors call the second type of valve a direct acting spring valve. A fan set up of leaf springs
applies force to the valve to keep it closed.

Adjustments can fine-tune the valve later, if necessary. These decisions are usually best made after
a test run or two.

Both of these designs have modified so they operate efficiently and reliably.

Pressure Limits for Valves

There is a specific code used for valves manufactured to handle more than 15 psi. This code is the
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.

To fall in line with these requirements, all pressure relief valves get stamped with specific
information. This information provides the rating of the valve and what pressure limits it can

Once the valve has done its job and released the excessive pressure, it closes again and keeps fluid
or other substances from flowing normally. Valves like this have a pop action that makes them
versatile for several different industrial uses, including ships and hazardous chemicals.

All of these can be set to release with either a specified temperature or pressure gauge reading.

Valve Use and System Setups

If you’re revamping a current system or setting up a new one, bring in a professional expert. Once
they have analyzed the setup, they’ll be able to determine if it’s running efficiently or if it needs an

The consultations they offer come with experience in similar situations. They have helped other
manufacturers choose the right sizes and types of valves.

A cost analysis helps to compare prices for new valve upgrades versus repairing the current system.
Then, the consultants can assist in determining the right direction to move.

Protect the Valve System

There is no reason to put your equipment or personnel in danger when expertise like this is
available. Choosing a pressure relief valve may not be everyone’s specialty.

The faster it’s done, the sooner your manufacturing continues being profitable. Let the experts who
are familiar with these systems and come in and share their advice.

They understand what it takes to protect the valves and ensure that the manufacturing remains
stable. Ask them for an appointment as soon as possible and get your business back on track.