It is normal for spring-operated safety valves to exhibit leakage or simmer/warn, as the system operating pressure approaches the nameplate set pressure, typically in the 80%-90% range of nameplate set pressure. The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code does not require a specific seat tightness requirement. A certain level of leakage is allowed per manufacturers’ literature and API-527 Seat Tightness Performance Standards, both of which can be found in the Technical Reference Catalog and in the Data Supplement, summarized as follows:
At very low set pressures, the ratio of the downward spring force as compared to the upward pressure force is very small. In these cases it may be impossible to achieve seat tightness.
Use soft seats for superior seat tightness, assuming the application falls within the soft seat temperature limitations. Although soft seats will typically provide a higher degree of seat tightness than metal seats, Factory Standard does not ensure bubble-tight seats, regardless of seat material.