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Water Heater Issues

Water Heater Issues


Richard Acree

Nashville home inspections completed by HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, sometimes find multiple issues at the same device. Look at the pic below of components of a hot water heater. What's wrong?

HINT: Two at a time saves the Inspector time?

ANSWER: It is easy to focus on the corroded and damaged shutoff rotary handle in the background. And rightfully so. Who would want to grab that handle in even a maintenance situation, not to mention an emergency due to a leak. The handle should be replaced. But what is subtle is the missing TPR valve drain pipe in the foreground. Every TPR valve needs a suitable drain pipe that terminates within 24" of the floor and not within 6" of the floor. If someone is working in the area of this TPR valve and the valve releases hot water under pressure, that can cause a nasty burn. A drain pipe also needs to be installed.

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In another home a water heater was observed installed in the basement/crawl space area. But, there were some definate oddities about this water heater. Look at the picture below. What's Wrong With This Picture?

HINT: Water Heaters can be explosive due to internal pressures.

ANSWER: Dents or similar damage to a water heater should make the owner (and Home Inspector) very suspicious. The seller said this "new" water heater had just been installed the day before the Inspection. Hummm, maybe someone was in a little hurry, and maybe the unit fell off the truck. The pic below is a closeup of the dent on the left.

That's a pretty significant bump! Makes you wonder what happened on the inside, doesn't it? The pic below is of the bottom of the same heater, in line with the dent above.

And this is a "new" water heater? Oh wait, I found the manufacturer's placard on the other side. Let's look at that in the picture below.

So let's see. Sometimes you can find the date in plain english on these placards. If not, look in the serial number. Usually, but not always, the first 4 numbers give the year and week the unit was built. In this case the date is probably the first month/week of 2007. 07-01. And this Inspection was completed in 2010!! Well that's not exactly new. Maybe it's newer than the one laying on the ground next to it in the pic below, but it is not a new water heater.

So some good questions would be, what licensed Plumber said it was OK to do this and where is the invoice? Cannot find that??!! Hummm! Maybe we ought to have another "licensed plumber" say this is OK, before we get too far in this deal.

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Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this article are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings. HABITEC Inspectors are not licensed technicians. For advice regarding issues with the installation or construction of a home or building contact the appropriate licensed technician. HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more! In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis. Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at, or call 615-376-2753.

Richard Acree is the author of the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections Blog and founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors. All are welcome to join and see more blogs like this one.

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