Thermal expansion relief valve vs expansion tank

Thermal Expansion Relief Valve vs Expansion Tank – [EXPLAINED]

It is vital to install a proper relief measure system to avoid water expansion. Thus, most people use either a thermal expansion relief valve or an expansion tank for their closed-looped plumbing system in order to minimize the issue. The function of both components is the same. However, there are some differences in the look and the performance of these two components. So today, we will talk about ‘the thermal expansion relief valve vs the expansion tank.’ You will be able to identify their characteristics separately from this article.

The water is trapped inside the pipes, so proper accommodation is needed to release the pressure. That’s why these expansion valve and expansion tank has been designed. But if you have an open-loop plumbing system, you do not need a relieving device.

What is a Thermal Expansion Relief Valve?

A thermal expansion relief valve (pressure relief valve) is used to release the excessive pressure of a gas or liquid. An unbearable pressure can be gathered in a pipe or filter vessel system because of the circumstance called thermal expansion, which means an increase in the temperature. TERVs can prevent any burst that can be damaged the water heater. It does not store the extra water; instead, it opens and lets the water to release. There are different kinds of relief valves apart from thermal expansion relief valves, such as fast pressure relief valves, water heater pressure relief valves, etc.

What is an Expansion Tank?

An expansion tank (expansion vessel) is also installed to protect the water heating system. When you heat up the water, excessive pressure can occur due to thermal expansion, so it will be reduced by this expansion tank. This small propane tank is used to protect domestic hot water systems as well. It is installed above the water heater. Inside the tank, the air is filled partly so it can absorb extra water pressure. The expansion tank helps to water heater run smoothly. The average lifespan of an expansion tank is 5 to 8 years. And in general, it is recommended to install a larger size tank than an undersized one for proper functioning.

 Nowadays, there is no house without hot water, and the expansion tank makes the process of hot water systems easy. Because only a pressure relief valve cannot deal with the water expansion. Due to the absence of an expansion tank, the extra water can put pressure on the pipe system. If this becomes serious, you will have to face some problems such as a leaky faucet, damaged plumbing joint, etc. if there is an expansion tank, you can avoid these issues.

Thermal Expansion Relief Valve vs Expansion Tank

Now let’s compare and contrast these two components.

Both are similar when it comes to its job. When the water heats up, the steam and air create pressure. Both of these two act as an outlet for unnecessary steam and air. So, their function is the same. Likewise, both components can be installed in a closed-loop system.

If we consider their differences, the first thing we can notice is their look. An expansion tank is a small tank for a gas grill, and it should be set above the heater. In contrast, the thermal expansion relief valve is a small valve that is also installed above the water heater. And when it comes to their performance, an expansion tank expands with the steam when water becomes hot. On the other hand, a thermal expansion relief valve relieves the pressure of water by opening and closing. So, there are two different ways to relieve the pressure along with these two components. There is an advantage of the expansion tank since it can be used for a hot water system as well. However, if the temperature climbs to 100 C, there is a chance that the tank might explode.

So which is better? Thermal expansion relief valve or expansion tank?

Both are capable of absorbing the excessive pressure in the closed-loop plumbing system. So, you can replace whatever you need from these two according to your budget and the space of the plumbing system. And it is better to do the installation by a professional plumber because these two components are a part of the whole piping system.

What are the Advantages of SharkBite Thermal Expansion Relief Valves?

SharkBite has gained popularity as one of the most reliable brands in the industry. Actually, they are a leading company in the manufacturing of thermal expansion relief valves. Since the installation process is easy, their valves have become the first choice of most people despite expansion tanks. There are some more advantages of SharkBite thermal expansion relief valves, as mentioned below. So, if you are looking for good, reliable thermal expansion relief valves for your water system, this brand can be highly recommended.

  1. The Size – When compared with the expansion tank, valves do not take up much space. They come with a single ball valve which makes them easy to handle.
  2. Easy Installation – If you cannot hire a professional plumber at the moment, you can go for a SharkBite thermal expansion relief valve because of the easy installation process. Moreover, they are congenial with most pipes, such as pex, copper, and CPVC.
  3. The Maintenance – If you properly installed the valve, you will not have to face issues such as pinhole leaks and condensation. But expansion tanks can create such issues.
  4. No Soldering – SharkBite thermal expansion relief valve does not require soldering when you install it. But if you install an expansion tank, you will surely need the equipment for soldering.
  5. The Cost – The cost to install the valve is lesser than the expansion tank. And also, you can save time since the installation is easy.


both the thermal expansion relief valve and expansion tank do the same job when the pressure builds up in the closed-loop system due to the water heating up. However, the way they function is different, and those were discussed above. If you prefer to do the installation of a thermal expansion relief valve quickly and easily, the brand, SharkBite is highly recommended.

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