How often should you test t/p valve on water heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by reed50, May 18, 2011.

  1. reed50

    reed50 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    tennessee
    How often should the t/p valve on a water heater be tested? I've read everything from once a month to once a year. I read in one of the other threads that a valve that was only a year old was frozen shut. What do you guys (the experts) think?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,481
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The trade associations recommend that we test EVERY T&P valve when we are in a house, but then, if it is defective, the customer may say, "But, it was NOT broken before you messed with it, so you have to fix it for me."
  3. reed50

    reed50 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    tennessee
    How often should the average homeowner check it if they rarely have a need to call a plumber? I have read on some sites that some plumbers tell homeowners NOT to test them.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Well.............like hj mentions, sometimes checking them allows for crud to get under the seal and they start leaking. So when someone plays with them, they tend to need replacing.
    They should be tested when you have the replacement in hand I guess.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    It's not a bad idea to test it once a year. But, as noted, if you have hard water, or really aggressive water, the shaft could freeze or stick, and crud could get under the seal, and then it won't fully close. Then, it's time to replace it.
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,895
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    On my old water heater, I only pulled the TPR lever once in 10 years. After the tank failed, I pulled it to try to break the vacuum and found it was all crudded up and didn't work. I'm afraid to pull it on the replacement tank in case it won't shut off.
  7. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    When I remember, I test the ones in my house about once a month.
    Those valves are extremely important safety features.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Agreed that once opened the T/P may not close, but what if the valve is corroded and will not open when needed? You'll end up with a hell of a hole in the roof is what. Best to test it and have a spare on hand just in case. You may never need it, but it's a $15 insurance policy if you do.
  9. plumber2011

    plumber2011 Expert Plumber

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    deleted...
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,481
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If the valve is tested and it will not shut off, then that is an indication that it was TIME to replace it. It is like not going to the dentist because you are afraid of what he will find. NOT knowing about a problem does NOT make it go away.
  11. reed50

    reed50 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    tennessee
    Thanks for everyone's responses. I actually tested the t/p valve yesterday; hope I did it correctly. I pulled up on the lever and could hear water running out. But apparently I pulled too much and the lever went all the way up and the water stopped running. When I pulled the lever back down, the water ran again and then stopped when I put the lever back in its original place. Hopefully this was what I was supposed to do (am counting on you guys to let me know if I screwed up). Once again, I appreciate everyone's patience. I'm just a female trying to learn to take care of some things by herself!
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You did fine reed50!
    There isn't much you can do wrong there...

    As long as the water stops afterwards the valve has tested good!
  13. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,125
    Location:
    Maine
    My service guys test it every time they do a call.
  14. You are inviteing trouble

    I have never touched them and it is best not to because ..
    YOU ARE BASICALLY PULLING THE PIN ON A GRENADE


    because they will almost ALWAYS leak over the course of the next week........and wether they only weep a littel puttle or piss an ocean out all over the home it is YOUR GAMBLE which could end up costing your insurance company to clean up the mess...

    or its gonna cost you at least a free service call to come out and repair the valve that was working fine before you messed with it........:mad::mad:

    If you FIRST clearly state to the customer BEFORE you touch the t+p valve that it might start leaking right NOW, or later today or tomorrow or next week , and its gonna cost you $$ to change it out...
    My guess is odds are that they will tell you to leave it alone.....


    for that matter why not just change them out every time you go into a customers home.???
    ... It would be safer, probably cheaper and you wont have any call backs 2 weeks from now.

    I think that is what a truely "safety conscious"
    plumber would do to protect the health of
    out great nation......god bless the USA.


    TERRY... HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH IN SEATTLE???
    .... $75 ---$150 bucks??:cool::cool:
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You would be lucky in Seattle to get one replaced for $150.00

    We went to a home today in Seattle where a plumber had quoted $1,100.00 to change a lead bend, and a new toilet would be $880.00

    We replaced the lead bend for $500 and installed a new Toto Drake at $220 with the $45 softclose seat. The customer was very happy.

    So yes, you would be lucky at $150.00
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you do leave it alone you are probably leaving a bomb in their home....
  17. Redwood ....please..........

    Redwood, you know that this is a total load of hooey..

    I do think it is something that I might start to mentioin to my customers when I go into their homes...

    I would inform them that it would be a good idea to change it while I am at their home for $$ 125.00..


    I will not test the T+p valve cause I know it will leak...
    but I will gladly change it for safety sake

    I dont think i will get many takers.....even at 125
    not in this economy:confused:
  18. dargo

    dargo New Member

    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    MA
    Well boys, in 25 years owning personal and renting homes, never messed with them. Not worth the time etc..Most time the tank will be shot before the valve...YMMV.
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Actually Mark I do test them and far more test good than fail.
    Of course your water conditions may be quite different from what I routinely see.

    I'm not kidding when I say bomb and you know it Mark...

    Of course the need of this critical safety device is limited to a situation where the thermostat has failed causing run away heating of the water and the ECO has also failed. It is a third in line device. But it is highly desirable to have it working.
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