Every container used for storing or hauling LP-Gas and anhydrous ammonia must be protected by a pressure safety valve. These valves must guard against the development of hazardous conditions which might be created by any of the following:
Hydrostatic pressure due to overfilling or the trapping of liquid between two points.
High pressure resulting from exposure of the container to excessive external heat.
High pressure due to the use of incorrect fuel.
High pressure due to improper purging of the container.


Pressure safety valves are set and sealed by the manufacturer to function at a specific "start-to-discharge" pressure in accordance with regulations. This set pressure, marked on the safety valve, depends on the design requirement of the container to be protected by the relief valve.

If the container pressure reaches the start-to-discharge pressure, the safety valve will open a slight amount as the seat disc begins to move slightly away from the seat. If the pressure continues to rise despite the initial discharge through the safety valve, the seat disc will move to a full open position with a sudden "pop". This sharp popping sound is from which the term "pop-action" is derived.
Whether the safety valve opens a slight amount or pops wide open, it will start to close if the pressure in the container diminishes. After the pressure has decreased sufficiently, the relief valve spring will force the seat disc against the seat tightly enough to prevent any further escape of product. The pressure at which the valve closes tightly is referred to as the "re-seal" or "blow-down" pressure. Generally, the re-seal pressure will be lower than the start-to-discharge pressure.

The re-seal pressure can be, and in most cases is, adversely affected by the presence of dirt, rust, scale or other foreign particles lodging between the seat and disc. They interfere with the proper mating of the seat and disc and the pressure in the container will usually have to decrease to a lower pressure before the spring force embeds foreign particles into the resilient seat disc material and seals leak-tight. The degree by which the presence of dirt decreases the re-seal pressure is, of course, dependent on the size of the interfering particles.

Once particles have been trapped between the disc and seat, the start-to-discharge pressure is also affected. For example, the pressure relief valve will start-to-discharge at some pressure lower than its original start-to-discharge pressure. Again, the pressure at which the valve will start to discharge is dependent on the size of the foreign particles.

In the case of a pressure safety valve that has opened very slightly due to a pressure beyond its start-to-discharge setting, the chances of foreign material lodging between the seat and disc is negligible although the possibility is always present. If the relief valve continues to leak at pressures below its start-to-discharge setting it must be replaced.