Here is Part 2 of Michael Thornton's series on water heater inspection. Thanks, Michael, for demystifying the water heater.
Inspecting water heaters - Part 2
Water heaters are something we take for granted. They set unnoticed in the corner of the garage or utility closet. When looking for a new home, buyers and agents alike seldom take note of this appliance, save for turning on the tap to see if it is working.
Home inspectors need to look at the safety features. Today I will address TPR valves. Temperature/Pressure Relief (TPR) valves need to be installed on all water heaters. Water heaters are pressure vessels that can explode under the right conditions. The TPR valve prevents this from happening.
All TPR valves need to have an extension. Far too often, many handymen or DIY'ers forget this all important feature. Should the temperature rise or pressure build up past the set point of the valve, super heated steam or scalding water will be released. If you or a family member is in front of the valve, you could be badly burned.
TPR valve extensions need to be appropriately sized and use the proper material. The valve extension material should be equal to the diameter of the valve body opening. Generally 3/4" is standard. The extension material has to be rated for high heat. CPV or copper tubing is most widely used. PVC, with a 140 degree F temperature rating, is not acceptable. Depending upon local guidelines, Valves should extend to withing 4-6" of the floor.
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