Why Your Water Heater Should Have a TPR Valve

Corroded TPR

Corroded TPR valve on water heater, Columbus Ohio home inspection

What is a TPR valve? To put it simply, a TPR valve or temperature/pressure-relief valves, are safety devices that are installed onto water heating appliances such as boilers and water heaters. The purpose of a TPR valve is to automatically release water/steam should the pressure or temperature inside the tank exceed safe levels. If correctly installed, the valve is connected to a discharge pipe (also called a drain line) that runs down the entire length of the water heater’s tank. This pipe routes the hot water released from the TPR to a safe discharge location such as within 6 inches above the floor.

 

It is very important to ensure that your TPR valve is functioning correctly to prevent injury and property damage. If your TPR valve is malfunctioning, the water inside the system could become super-heated, causing the tank to rupture. Almost immediately as the water is exposed to the atmosphere, the water will expand into steam, thus occupying approximately 1,600 times its original volume. This malfunction can propel a water heater into the air with enough force to bust through several stories of a building.

 

These water-heating appliance explosions are rare occurrences, however, as they require both abnormal conditions as well as the failure of the machine’s safety components to trigger. Such conditions would only result from extreme negligence, the use of outdated/malfunctioning equipment, and blatant disregard of any upkeep or machine maintenance. It is recommended that you test your TPR valve just once a month; if you at least keep to that bare minimum, you can rest easy knowing that you’re keeping your family safe and healthy!

TPR valves can also develop leaks and begin dripping water. If this happens the valve should be replaced.

 

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