How often should pressure relief valves be tested and replaced?

February 19, 2024
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It can often seem a bit of a minefield when it comes to maintaining safety and efficiency in an industrial environment. However, pressure relief valves are the unsung heroes of this area. These valves prevent overpressure situations and play a vital role in protecting equipment.

However, it is not uncommon for a common question to arise: how often should pressure relief valves be tested and replaced in the UK? At Fluid Controls, we thought we'd collate this useful article to answer this common FAQ in more detail.

As a distributor of pressure control products, we know and understand the importance of striking the right balance between compliance, safety and cost-effectiveness, so read on and let us impart our wisdom on you!


What role do pressure relief valves play?


Within industries, pressure relief valves are considered to be guardians of pressure-sensitive systems. They are commonly found in a wide range of processes and equipment, from boilers and pressure vessels to pipelines and hydraulic systems.

Pressure relief valves automatically release excess pressure to ensure that the internal pressure within the system remains within safe limits. Through this release of pressure, they prevent disastrous failures, explosions, and other hazardous situations that could potentially lead to injury, damage to property, and/or environmental harm.


The importance of regular checks


Just as the tires on your car require regular checks to ensure they are inflated to the right level and have a decent amount of road grip, pressure relief valves require frequent checks to ensure they are functioning correctly when the pressure’s on. Regular checks serve several important purposes:

  • Ensuring safety: Testing pressure relief valves on a regular basis provides the assurance that these valves are ready to perform their critical task when needed. It’s like having a fire extinguisher that you know will work in the event of a fire.
  • Regulation compliances: In the UK, industrial safety regulations set standards for the maintenance and testing of pressure relief valves. Adhering to these regulations not only keeps your facility compliant but also demonstrates your commitment to safety.
  • Preventing downtime: A malfunctioning pressure relief valve can lead to equipment breakdowns and unplanned downtime. Regular testing helps identify issues before they escalate, minimising disruptions to operations.


How often should pressure relief valves be tested?


The frequency of pressure relief valve testing depends on a few factors and are often tailored to your specific application. The key considerations are:

  • Manufacturer recommendations: As with any equipment, the manufacturer of your pressure relief valve will provide guidelines for testing. These recommendations are rooted in the valve’s design, intended usage, and expected wear and tear.
  • Industry regulations: Different industries may have distinct requirements. For example, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK provides guidelines for specific sectors. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest regulations that relate to your industry.
  • Risk assessment: Conducting a risk assessment helps you understand the potential consequences of a valve failure. A valve in a high-risk scenario might need more frequent testing compared to a lower-risk situation.
  • Operational history: If a valve has demonstrated recurrent problems in the past, more frequent testing could be necessary. Think of it as a valve’s health checkup or MOT.

How Often Do Pressure Relief Valves Need to Be Replaced?


While testing extends the life of your pressure relief valve, like all things, these valves have a certain lifespan. Replacement times are influenced by factors such as:

  • Manufacturer recommendations: Just as a car’s mileage guides oil changes, the manufacturer’s guidelines for valve replacement intervals provide a roadmap for ensuring continued reliability.
  • Deterioration over time: Over time, the materials in pressure relief valves can degrade due to environmental factors, operational stress, and wear. Regular testing can help determine when a valve’s performance is no longer within acceptable limits.
  • Advancements in technology: As technology advances, newer pressure relief valves may offer enhanced safety features and improved efficiency. Considering an upgrade could be a sensible decision to stay ahead in terms of safety and compliance.

How often should pressure relief valves be tested and replaced?


As a general rule of thumb, we’d say that pressure relief valves should be tested every 12 months and replacements should take place every 3 to 5 years.


Pressure relief valves from Fluid Controls


We hope this article on testing and replacing pressure relief valves has helped you to better understand the citation and given you some good insights. So, when it comes to the question of how often should pressure relief valves be tested and replaced in the UK, we’d always say as often as necessary to uphold the highest standards of safety and operational excellence.

Here at Fluid Controls, we offer relief valves, pressure regulators, and many other valve types for maximum efficiency in your application.

We also stock a wide range of flow control and measurement components gauges and sensors. If you’d like to speak to a qualified expert about the product range at Fluid Controls, don’t hesitate to contact us today.