Pressure Release Valve

Pressure Relief Valve

Spring Loaded Pressure Relief Valve

The basic spring loaded pressure Relief Valve has been developed to meet the need for a simple, reliable, system actuated device to provide overpressure protection. The image on the right shows the construction of a spring loaded pressure Relief Valve. The Valve consists of a Valve inlet or nozzle mounted on the pressurized system, a disc held against the nozzle to prevent flow under normal system operating conditions, a spring to hold the disc closed, and a body/Bonnet to contain the operating elements. The spring load is adjustable to vary the pressure at which the Valve will open.

When a pressure Relief Valve begins to lift, the spring force increases. Thus system pressure must increase if lift is to continue. For this reason pressure Relief Valves are allowed an overpressure allowance to reach full lift. This allowable overpressure is generally 10% for Valves on unfired systems. This margin is relatively small and some means must be provided to assist in the lift effort. Most pressure Relief Valves, therefore, have a secondary control chamber or huddling chamber to enhance lift. As the disc begins to lift, fluid enters the control chamber exposing a larger area of the disc to system pressure.

This causes an incremental change in force which overcompensates for the increase in spring force and causes the Valve to open at a rapid rate. At the same time, the direction of the fluid flow is reversed and the momentum effect resulting from the change in flow direction further enhances lift. These effects combine to allow the Valve to achieve maximum lift and maximum flow within the allowable overpressure limits. Because of the larger disc area exposed to system pressure after the Valve achieves lift, the Valve will not close until system pressure has been reduced to some level below the set pressure. The design of the control chamber determines where the closing point will occur. The difference between the set pressure and the closing point pressure is called blowdown and is usually expressed as a percentage of set pressure.

Balanced Bellows Valves and Balanced Piston Valves

When superimposed back pressure is variable, a balanced bellows or balanced piston design is recommended. A typical balanced bellow is shown on the right. The bellows or piston is designed with an effective pressure area equal to the seat area of the disc. The Bonnet is vented to ensure that the pressure area of the bellows or piston will always be exposed to atmospheric pressure and to provide a telltale sign should the bellows or piston begin to leak. Variations in back pressure, therefore, will have no effect on set pressure. Back pressure may, however, affect flow.

Other Designs of Pressure Relief Valves

Safety Valve.

A safety Valve is a pressure Relief Valve actuated by inlet static pressure and characterized by rapid opening or pop action. (It is normally used for steam and air services.)

  • Low-Lift Safety Valve

A low-lift safety Valve is a safety Valve in which the disc lifts automatically such that the actual discharge area is determined by the position of the disc.

  • Full-Lift Safety Valve

A full-lift safety Valve is a safety Valve in which the disc lifts automatically such that the actual discharge area is not determined by the position of the disc.

Relief Valve

A Relief Valve is a pressure relief device actuated by inlet static pressure having a gradual lift generally proportional to the increase in pressure over opening pressure. It may be provided with an enclosed spring housing suitable for closed discharge system application and is primarily used for liquid service.

Safety Relief Valve

A safety Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve characterized by rapid opening or pop action, or by opening in proportion to the increase in pressure over the opening pressure, depending on the application and may be used either for liquid or compressible fluid.

  • Conventional Safety Relief Valve

A conventional safety Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve which has its spring housing vented to the discharge side of the Valve. The operational characteristics (opening pressure, closing pressure, and relieving capacity) are directly affected by changes of the back pressure on the Valve.

  • Balanced Safety Relief Valve

A balanced safety Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve which incorporates means of minimizing the effect of back pressure on the operational characteristics (opening pressure, closing pressure, and relieving capacity).

Pilot-Operated Pressure Relief Valve

A pilotoperated pressure Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve in which the major relieving device is combined with and is controlled by a self-actuated auxiliary pressure Relief Valve.

Power-Actuated Pressure Relief Valve

A poweractuated pressure Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve in which the major relieving device is combined with and controlled by a device requiring an external source of energy.

Temperature-Actuated Pressure Relief Valve

A temperature-actuated pressure Relief Valve is a pressure Relief Valve which may be actuated by external or internal temperature or by pressure on the inlet side.

Vacuum Relief Valve

A vacuum Relief Valve is a pressure relief device designed to admit fluid to prevent an excessive internal vacuum; it is designed to reclose and prevent further flow of fluid after normal conditions have been restored.


A pressure Relief Valve is a safety device designed to protect a pressurized vessel or system during an over pressure event. An overpressure event refers to any condition which would cause pressure in a vessel or system to increase beyond the specified design pressure or maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP). The primary purpose of a pressure Relief Valve is protection of life and property by venting fluid from an overpressurized vessel.Many electronic, pneumatic and hydraulic systems exist today to control fluid system variables, such as pressure, temperature and flow. Each of these systems requires a power source of some type, such as electricity or compressed air in order to operate. A pressure Relief Valve must be capable of operating at all times, especially during a period of power failure when system controls are nonfunctional. The sole source of power for the pressure Relief Valve, therefore, is the process fluid. Once a condition occurs that causes the pressure in a system or vessel to increase to a dangerous level, the pressure Relief Valve may be the only device remaining to prevent a catastrophic failure. Since reliability is directly related to the complexity of the device, it is important that the design of the pressure Relief Valve be as simple as possible.

The pressure Relief Valve must open at a predetermined set pressure, flow a rated capacity at a specified overpressure, and close when the system pressure has returned to a safe level. Pressure Relief Valves must be designed with materials compatible with many process fluids from simple air and water to the most corrosive media. They must also be designed to operate in a consistently smooth and stable manner on a variety of fluids and fluid phases.

Safety valves (sometimes called relief valves or safety relief valves) are spring loaded devices. Normally, the valve is forced shut by the spring, but when the pressure rises, the force of the spring is overcome, forcing the valve open. This releases fluid, relieving the pressure. Once the process pressure is reduced, the safety valve will re seal, limiting the amount of material released.

Pressure and / or vacuum relief valves are used on liquid storage tanks and other process vessels or systems to prevent structural damage due to excess internal pressure or vacuum. Storage tanks are pressurized when liquid is pumped in, compressing the existing vapor or when rising temperatures cause increased evaporation or expansion of existing vapor. Conversely, a vacuum condition may be created when pumping out or due to falling temperature. To prevent tank damage, vapor must be allowed into or out of the tank at specified pressure / vacuum conditions. The volume rate of venting depends upon the tank size, volatility of the tank contents, the pumping rates and the temperature.


We pressure relief valves help meet the requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE 15-2001 Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems as well as other worldwide codes. This standard requires pressure vessels of all refrigeration systems to be protected by a pressure relief device or other approved means to safely relieve pressure in the event of fire or other abnormal conditions. Once installed, a properly selected we pressure relief valve is ready to vent to atmosphere any temporary excessive overpressure inside of a vessel. After discharge, these valves will attempt to reseat to minimize loss of refrigerant. However, once any relief valve has discharged, it must be replaced as soon as possible because debris may have settled on the seat during discharge.

We pressure relief valves should be connected to the.... 

vapor space of refrigerant vessels,

  • Heat Exchangers,

  • Oil Pots,

  • Oil Stills,

  • Pilot Receivers,

and elsewhere as may be required by various codes. Where dual pressure relief valves are required, we offers the three-way valves and other components necessary for assembly. Rupture disc assemblies are required when using we pressure relief valves for halocarbon applications because the high cost of such refrigerants demands extreme tightness, These pressure relief valves offer a cartridge style design for ease of replacement without disturbing the piping. EZ-SRV pressure relief valves are available in pressure ratings to 600 psi.


Tank protection equipment typically includes an operating valve which is designed to provide pressure/vacuum relief under normal pump in/out and thermal breathing conditions. An emergency relief valve can also provide both pressure and vacuum relief and normally it is sized to provide pressure relief if there is a fire in the immediate vicinity of the tank. It may also be sized by the tank designer to provide protection in the event of equipment failure (such as the rupture of a process steam line or an inert gas ba nketing system failing “wide open”) or operator error.

A typical tank installation is shown n Figure 1 which includes the following Groth products:

  • Pressure/Vacuum Weight Loaded Valve

  • Gas Blanketing Regulator

  • Emergency Pressure Relief Valve

Pressure Relief

As the pressure in the storage tank increases, the vacuum pallet is held shut. When the set pressure is reached, the pressure pallet lifts and relieves tank pressure to the atmosphere (or to a header if it is a pipe away valve). See Figure 2.

Vacum Relief

As a vacuum is drawn in the storage tank (for example, when fluid is being pumped out), the pressure pallet is held shut. When the vacuum setting is reached, the vacuum pallet lifts and air is drawn into the tank from the atmosphere. See Figure 3.