Plumbing inspection

Parts and Inspection of a Water Heater (part 2 of 4)

In my first post I wrote about the safety issue of having a standing flame in the garage and how the water heater should be installed to prevent unwanted fires.  Water heaters are heated water under pressure and there are a few very important safety devices that need to be just so, and anyone who watches MythBusters knows that water heaters, gone wrong, can be devastating……
The next thing I look at when I am inspecting homes in Salem, Oregon and the water heaters therein is:

The Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR)
This is probably the single most important safety device on water heaters.  This is a simple valve that allows gas/steam/liquid to leak if the pressure or temperature gets too high.
In recent years TPR’s have become very standardized, mounted on the tank, but older models still may have the valves on the hot water line.  This condition will cause a home inspector to gripe and is not as safe as the valve on the tank but if you do notice this condition it is most likely time to replace your whole water heater.
With the TPR in a standardized location it is now time to add the extension piping.  Yes, extension piping is important!  Remember that TPR valve is a release valve just waiting for the temperature or pressure to get to high.  When it releases it may do so with a significant amount of steam and super heated water.  The extension piping ensures the steam exhausts near the ground and not in anyone’s face.

The pictures are perfect examples of how NOT to pipe the TPR!

I will discuss the other important items in the next posts…….


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Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

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Parts and Inspection of a Water Heater

Sexy, stylish and fashionable your water heater is not. (unless you have one of those tankless systems, but that is another blog)  Your water heater is an important part of modern living and it really makes indoor plumbing enjoyable.
There are a few things that I look for and that are important when I am inspecting homes in Salem, Oregon and the water heaters therein, the first thing is:


Where is it?

If it is in the garage there are a few rules that need to be followed for safe operation.  If it is gas, the flame source needs to be at least 18″ off the ground.  This condition will apply to gas units th
at are more than 4 years old because we have now gone to a sealed burning unit that does not have an exposed flame.  If you can get to the pilot light so can combustible gasses.  Combustible gasses in garages tend to hug the ground so if the flame is sealed or 18″ off the ground it will help prevent those combustible gasses from igniting.

I will discuss the other important items in the next posts: Part 2, 3 and yes even 4!



Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
http://SalemOregonHomeInspections.com
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

“Always on the cutting edge”

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

The Bomb in your Basement or Garage

Although in Salem Oregon water heaters do require a Minor Label for professional water heater installation, many handy home owners tackle this job on their own.

Here are just some of the things that well meaning installers can get totally wrong:

Lack of Straps: Water heaters in this area should be strapped on the top third and bottom third, to resist movement in a seismic condition. Water heaters are bombs, high temperature water under pressure can be an explosive combination. It is important to prevent the tank from moving.

Flue issues: This is absolutely important with gas appliances. If you don’t get the flue right you can allow carbon monoxide to freely enter your home. This particular flue was built out of vinyl dryer ducting. The plastic had been melting into a puddle on the top of the tank.

This is this home owners solution for the flue exhaust. The home owner may have thought that a clothes dryer and a gas fired water heater were basically the same thing.

Here is a picture of the draft hood in action. Notice the lighter’s flame tipped away from the hood. This means that flue gases, instead of going outside, are coming inside! This is potentially a deadly setup that has apparently been in place for years.

These are just some of the many things that can be done wrong by a less-than-handy handy person.