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.