How to Look

at a House

A blog with answers
to your questions about

Click Below to Link
to Collections of
Blog Posts by Subject

Search This Blog

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

    The TPR valve can open for either of two reasons: 1) the temperature or pressure inside the tank rises to a dangerous level and the valve automatically opens to avoid a tank explosion, or 2) as TPR valves age, some of them fail by slowly, but steadily, leaking a small stream of hot water 24-hours a day. The water heater in the photo above was an example of the second situation. It was original to the construction of the mobile home, 17-years old, and dripping hot water continuously under the home—but not enough to be noticed unless you were crawling around under it. Obviously, this kind of defect is an expensive waste of energy and avoidable. We always suggest to homebuyers that they extend the TPR discharge piping to a location just outside the skirting and pointed downward, as a safety upgrade.

    Water heaters in older mobile homes that we inspect are often in poor condition, and part of the reason is that they are concealed in a compartment with a cover panel secured with 8 or 10 screws. A water heater in a site-built home gets seen occasionally by the homeowner in the garage, behind a door in a hall closet, or a corner of the laundry room, so any corrosion or minor leakage problems can be caught before they cause a flood in the home. Water heaters in mobile homes usually fail by leaking, and the first indication is soggy carpet or wallboard in an adjacent room. The floor under the water heater often has to be replaced along with the water heater. Because of this second concealment issue, we urge buyers of older mobile homes to unscrew the cover panel and check their water heater at least annually.

    To learn more about TPR valves, see our blog post “What’s the valve with the flip-up handle on the water heater for?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

More Blogs about Plumbing:

  1. So the water heater is older...what’s the big deal?

  2. What is the purpose of a thermostatic mixing valve above a water heater?

  3. When is a water heater drain pan required?

  4. Does a tankless water heater require a pressure relief valve?

  5. Why is there water in my water heater drain pan?

  6. What are the most common installation problems with water heater replacement?

  7. Why is my water heater making strange (rumbling, gurgling, knocking or banging) noises?

  8. What can I do to make my water heater last longer?

  9. How much does it cost to replace the water heater?

  10. Why do water heaters have a sacrificial anode?

  11. Should I upgrade to a tankless water heater?

  12. How much does it cost to replace the plumbing in a house?

  13. How old is that water heater?

  14. Why is spray foam used for attic insulation?

  15. How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

  16. What causes low water pressure in a house?

  17. What’s the powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?

  18. Do you check the plumbing under the floor slab?

  19. What is a “cross connection” in a home’s plumbing system?

  20. What’s the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

  21. What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?

  22. My well water test came back positive for bacteria. What should I do?

  23. Do you test the well water?

  24. How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?

  25. What is the difference between a regular water heater and a power vent water heater?

  26. How can I determine the age of a water heater if the serial number is missing or decoding it is impossible?

  27. What is a saddle valve?

  28. How do you test a shower pan for leaks?

  29. What is a grinder pump?

  30. What is that little tank on top of the water heater for?

  31. What are the minimum clearances around a toilet?

  32. What is the average lifespan of a water heater?

  33. What are the most common plumbing problems with older houses?

  34. Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

  35. What is a dielectric union?

  36. What is a heat pump water heater?

  37. What are the common problems to look for when the plumbing has been replaced in a house?

  38. What is the average life expectancy of copper pipe?

  39. Why can’t PVC pipe be used for water pipe inside a house?

  40. What is the average life expectancy of PVC pipe?

  41. What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

  42. Why is a European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?

  43. What is the average life expectancy of CPVC pipe?

  44. What is an FVIR water heater?

  45. Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe?

  46. What is the loose wire sticking out of the ground under the gas meter for?

  47. How can I locate my septic tank?

  48. Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?

  49. What are the right words for talking about a house plumbing system?

  50. Should I seal the washing machine drain hose to the standpipe?

  51. How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank or sewer?

  52. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?