The way to Manually Operate a Water Heater's TPR Valve

Every water heater has, or should have, a temperature and pressure relief valve — TPR valve, for brief — mounted on the side or top of the tank. When the temperature within the tank exceeds a certain value, or the pressure rises above a certain limit, the valve closes and lets out water. Cool water entering the tank lowers both temperature and pressure. Without the valve, the growth in temperature or pressure could damage the tank and pipes or even make the tank to burst. Each TPR valve includes a handle so you can manually operate it to make sure it’s functioning. It is a great idea to check TPR valves frequently.

Locate the TPR valve in your water heater. It is normally mounted on the top near a border or around the side near the top. It should be connected to a length of copper pipe that extends down to the ground.

Lift the metal handle on the top of the valve all the way up along with your finger until it is vertical. It must lift easily, and once it does, warm water will flow through the valve.

Expand a 3/4- by 12-inch nipple to the valve outlet and hand-tighten it in case there’s no pipe connected to the valve to route the water into the ground. Wear a protective glove and stick behind the valve once you lift the lever.

Avoid forcing the lever, or you it might break. If it doesn’t come up easily, replace the valve whenever possible.

Push the lever back down to the horizontal position once the assessment is complete. Any water that was flowing should stop. If it doesn’t, wiggle the lever down and up to reseat the valve. If the valve will not close completely, replace it.

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