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Hot Water Heater Safety

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

The Temperature Pressure Relief Valve is one of the most important safety devices in a home. The water heater is an appliance that acts quietly behind the scenes when it is working properly. When it isn't working properly it can lead to discomfort in the form of a cold shower, but there could also be some more issues to a water heater failure. Here are some more serious issues that can be caused by a faulty water heater:

  1. Explosion due to failed Temperature Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve). The TPR valve is a significant safety device in a home. It is probably in the top 5 safety devices in your home. The TPR valve is a spring loaded valve that is set to open if the pressure exceeds a certain level. The tank is designed to heat water and to handle the normal expansion of the water as it heats. There is a thermostat in the tank that tells the heating system to turn off when the water has reached the desired temperature. If that thermostat fails the heating system could keep on heating the water which can lead to too much thermal expansion of the water. If this happens the TPR valve kicks in and releases the excess pressure preventing a catastrophic event.

  2. Scalding. Water heaters have adjustable temperature settings. The ideal temperature doesn't exist as that is more of a personal preference. However, you can get burns from 120 degree water if exposed for more than 5-10 minutes. Higher temperatures can scald within seconds. If the thermostat fails it could lead to hotter water than the water setting which can lead to scalding. Regular maintenance can help keep an eye on this especially as the tank gets older.

  3. Property damage. Water tanks can leak for various reasons. Tanks are placed in attics, upper floors, basements, crawlspaces, and all sorts of other spots. If the tank is installed without a drain pan and drain line this can lead to serious property damage. Water will ruin walls, floors, furniture, and anything else exposed to it. If left unchecked it can lead to fungal growth which can be hazardous to health. While property damage is not as bad as the first two, it certainly is not something you want to deal with.

Having a home inspection and annual maintenance inspections can help you avoid all of these issues and much more. Contact us today to schedule your inspection!

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