It’s easy to take hot water for granted, but did you know it’s important to maintain your water heater annually? Whether you have a tankless or conventional water heater—electric, propane or gas—annual maintenance is essential for safety reasons, efficient/reliable operation, and to extend the serviceable life of the appliance. Here’s a great DIY resource giving tips and advice about maintaining water heaters.
And, here’s a tip: If you have an electric water heater, consider purchasing replacement elements and thermostats (they’re inexpensive) and storing them next to the water heater. In this way, you’re prepared to quickly and easily replace elements/thermostats to restore hot water without making a long trip to the hardware store (fingers crossed that they have what you need). You’ll be a hero restoring hot water quickly, trust me! Finally, if you ever notice that your water heater tank is leaking or corroding, that’s your tell sign that the water heater is at end-of-life and requires replacement ASAP.
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In the world of water heaters, temperature/pressure-relief valves (TPR valves) are essential. If you are a homeowner, you probably are well aware of this.
However, for those new to TPR valves, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors provides a clear, succinct definition of what TPR valves are: “Temperature/pressure-relief or TPR valves are safety devices installed on water heating appliances, such as boilers and domestic water supply heaters. TPRs are designed to automatically release water in the event that pressure or temperature in the water tank exceeds safe levels.”
In other words, TPR valves can prevent catastrophe. What kind of potential disasters? Well, the following (fortunately humorous) video may give you an indication of the sort of damage that can occur without them.
To learn more about TPR valves, please take a look at the informational video I’ve prepared below. Thanks for watching!
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Pictured here is a typical TPR (temperature-pressure-relief) valve, installed on all water heaters. Code requires the installation of a ¾-inch solid pipe, discharging to the exterior or extending to within six (6) inches of the floor for safety reasons. The TPR valve is designed to discharge high temperature and/or high pressure water if the water heater overheats or develops too much internal pressure. Without a TPR valve, the water heater could literally blow up in the event of overheating or excessive pressure build-up. The reason we extend the pipe is because, in the event that it discharges, we don’t want it discharging high pressure, high temperature water towards a person which would be a definite safety issue. This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Shaw Island in the San Juan Islands.
The temperature-pressure-relief valve (TPR) on water heaters should be extended with ¾” piping to discharge within six (6) inches of the floor, or outside the building for safety reasons. This valve is designed to discharge if the water heater temperature or pressure become dangerously high which can prevent the water heater from rupturing/exploding. It’s important to route this discharge valve away so it doesn’t cause harm to the home’s occupants. This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Bellingham.
Tim Hance of All Islands Home Inspections discusses why it’s important that the TPR extension be solid piping instead of flexible for safety reasons. It’s also important that it discharge within six (6) inches of the floor for safety reasons. Thanks for watching!
Most people never give their water heater a second thought – until it stops working. One thing you can do to extend the life of water heater is to drain the tank annually to remove any sediment that may have built up inside of it. DIY Network has a set of illustrated, step-by-step instructions to help guide you through the process.