All water heaters have temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valves, which open to release water if the pressure inside a water heater becomes too high. Over time, however, minerals, salt deposits and corrosion can freeze these valves and prevent them from opening. If a valve isn’t able to open and the pressure in a water tank becomes too high, the tank may explode.
Here’s how to test your water heater’s TPR valve to make sure it’s functioning properly.
- Locate the TPR valve
- Test the TPR valve
- Check for other issues
- Check the TPR valve regularly
Locate Your Water Heater’s TPR Valve
Water heater TPR valves are always connected to a water heater’s discharge line, but where this line is can vary. Your water heater’s discharge line may come out of the top or side of the water heater, or it might be connected to the hot water pipe leaving the water heater. The valve will likely have a little lever that can be pushed up or down.
Test Your Water Heater’s TPR Valve
To test your water heater’s TPR valve, simply push the valve’s lever up or down. This should open the valve, and you should see hot water flowing out of the discharge line. You may want to try the valve a few times, to ensure that it opens and closes easily each time. (Be careful, as any discharged water will be extremely hot.)
Check For Other Issues
When you test the valve, there a few things might happen that would indicate the water heater TPR valve isn’t functioning properly:
- if you can’t easily manipulate the valve, it may already be locked shut by mineral deposits or rust
- if only a trickle of water comes out, the discharge line may be partially blocked by mineral or salt deposits
- if water continues to drip out after you try to shut the valve, mineral deposits or rust may be preventing the valve from fully closing
All of these are signs that a water heater TPR valve should be replaced. Depending on your comfort level with the work involved, you may want to do this yourself or hire a home maintenance services expert to put in a new TPR valve.
Check the Valve Periodically
Water heater manufacturers have different recommendations on how often homeowners should check their water heaters’ TPR valves. Most manufacturers recommend checking the valve between every 6 months and 2 years.
Checking your water heater’s TPR valve regularly will help ensure that your water heater will continue to operate safely.
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