Indoor Plumbing Filter: Help me understand a valve on my hot water line and how to stop a leak.
Hi everyone. Our hot water heater has a seemingly pointless valve on it that appears to be leaking. Here's a photo of the valve
, with the attached plastic piping. The valve handle will turn 45 degrees clockwise and stop, with no change in the flow of water to the pipe. I left it in the position it was in when we moved in. FWIW the house is relatively new construction, around 2008 or 09.
The plastic tubing goes from the valve straight down to the floor, near the floor drain (photo
). It used to end a few inches above the floor, where it would drip occasionally. I hate the thought of wet concrete and splashing water, so I bought a coupler and added a few inches of piping to run it down into the floor drain. You can see the mineral stain where it used to drip. The white PVC in the photo is the central air conditioner humidity drain, btw.
Anyways, the other day I was down in the basement and could hear the sound of water running. I pulled the end of the plastic piping out of the floor drain and holy crap was it running. I took a video
to show you the flow. FWIW the water that comes out is warm. I have no idea how long it's been going on for since our water bill isn't metered, but at least 6 months since I last pulled the end out.
Now, I realize having it run into the drain isn't hurting anyone BUT I hate the thought of wasting copious fresh water (doubly since we live in a desert area), I hate paying to heat water that is just running down the drain, and I don't want this to get worse or have some flooding if the floor drain gets clogged, etc.
So, my questions:
1. Why is this valve even here? To drain the house hot water lines or something? Pressure release?
2. Why is the valve leaking? Mostly I want to know this for educational reasons on my own part. I assume it could be a worn washer (if there even are washers in this style of valve) but this valve is never touched, so how would it wear out? Or is just a ball valve and the handle isn't turning the ball inside? Is it just something that needs to be tightened?
3. And the main question - How do I stop the water flowing? I thought about buying a cap for the place where the plastic tubing screws on and just capping it off, but I wasn't sure if a) it would hold line pressure and b) if there was some reason this valve needed to release water.
Anyways, thanks in advance for your help.