Safety features of gas hot water heaters include temperature, pressure relief valves, and discharge pipes. The purpose of this valve is to relieve excessive temperature or pressure build up inside the tank if it approaches the limits of the tank’s safe design range. If this is not operated twice a year in this area the valve may stick and cause the tank to explode if it malfunctions. The valve is to be located within six inches of the top of the tank and often is threaded directly into the tank itself. To test the valve lift up on the handle slightly and hot water should discharge out of the overflow pipe. The label that comes with a new water heater states to operate “at least once per year”. The reason for twice a year is that the hard water we have will gum up or make the valve stick. Home inspectors in some areas will not operate the TPR Valve but you should be aware of the potential danger to you and your home and have it inspected or operated.

In my opinion, a water heater is one of the most dangerous items in a home. Most people won’t even look at it until they see a water leak or cannot get hot water. Check out this video of an exploding water heater.

Call us if you need a home inspection in or near El Paso.


The Number One hazard for children under the age of 19 are falls, which are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the U.S. for this age group. Thousands of youngsters wind up in emergency rooms every day for injuries related to falling. What can be done to prevent such injuries in the home? We watch our children as best we can, but we all know they can get into trouble quick. In trying to fathom how so many children can be injured on a daily basis from something as simple as slipping and falling, we need to consider an important factor, which is height. Oftentimes, when observing small children at play, we are amazed at their dexterity and ability to take what looks like a fairly serious tumble and hop right back up. Imagine a small child falling a distance equivalent to the average height of an adult, and we begin to see where the danger lies. With this to consider, let’s closer look at one of the most important areas to childproof in a home: staircases.


The first thing that probably comes to mind when examining child safety in relation to stairways and staircases is a safety gate, and with good reason: falling downstairs can be a serious hazard for an infant or toddler who is just learning to navigate his or her surroundings. When kids get a little older they like to climb. When properly installed, high-quality safety gates can help eliminate this possibility. A home inspector should inspect the stair railings and balusters to make sure they are not climbable. (See our NEW HOME ISSUES GALLERY) New El Paso homes are being sold with “Climbable Railings”.

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