Water Heater T&P Valves

We heard water heaters are the most dangerous appliance in the house. Is this true, and how do you tell if your water heater T&P valve is working properly?

  Many of us have seen videos of water heaters exploding and going through a roof like a rocket. If you haven't, just go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv178a60Ypg or go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3i_ZGPtm68 or just search on the internet. Water heaters have the potential to be deadly if not properly installed and maintained.

  Every water heater has a thermostat to set the temperature of the water. Every now and then a thermostat may go bad. When this happens, it will not turn off the burner when the desired temperature is reached. In fact, the water heater can build up enough pressure to explode as noted above. The safety feature installed on every water heater is the temperature and pressure relief (T&P or TPR) valve. If the temperature of the water reaches 210 degrees or if the pressure inside the tank reaches 150 pounds per square inch, the valve will open.  

  The valve should be tested yearly by the homeowner to insure it is operating properly. Most people ignore this simple maintenance and most do not have a problem. It only takes a few seconds to test the valve. Once a valve is tested, no water should remain in the pipe. The piping should have a natural drain slope or a drain valve installed to drain the water from the pipe after testing.

  The piping should run either to the floor or outside of the house to within 6 inches of the ground to prevent scalding someone if the valve ever opened. The end of the pipe should be inspected periodically to make sure water is notdripping, indicating the valve is leaking.

  If your piping runs straight up, it is improperly installed and you will not be able to drain the water out of the pipe after testing. The standing water in the pipe may damage the valve, and the manufacturers state the pipe should remain open and unobstructed. If your water heater is like this, have a plumber redirect the pipe and properly install a drain.

  Also, if the valve is corroded and will not open,the valve should be replaced immediately. The manufacturers recommend having a licensed plumber remove and inspect the valve at least every three years. Aggressive or mineral-laden water can damage the valve, rendering it inoperative in a way that simply operating the test lever may not reveal. 

  A simple test will insure the safety of the water heater and keep your family safe as well.

  For a complete list of items around the house that need to be maintained and what time of year, go to:  

Quote Of The Month

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tip Of The Hat To:


Patrick Nicholson
Classic Home Realty of Atlanta
P.O. Box 651
Grayson, Georgia 30017



Warranty Recall Chek