A water heater may be the more common storage type. Or a recent arrival, the instant or on-demand heater. The storage type is by far the most commonly found in a home inspection. This post is concerned only with the standard storage heater. Water heaters may be gas, electric, or oil-fired.
During a water heater inspection, we check for;
- A pressure relief valve and proper extension tube length. The extension tube should extend to within 4”-6” from the floor
- The vent pipe for heaters should be installed higher than the furnace flue
- The vent pipe must slope upwards and be free of rust, corrosion, and holes. Some jurisdictions require a minimum of 3 fastener screws per joint
- Copper tubing should not be used with natural gas. The additives in natural gas may corrode the copper tubing presenting a serious fire hazard. This does not apply to propane
- You should use gas lines such as black iron pipe, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST), or flexible natural gas appliance connectors.
- You should install a dirt leg to trap debris in steel gas lines
- Water and gas shut off valves close to the heater are recommended
- The flame should be predominately blue with a yellow tip allowed
- A wholly or predominately yellow flame indicates a dirty or defective burner. This should be serviced by a qualified service person
- Many plumbing codes call for an expansion tank to be installed near the water heater. This is up to local officials to enforce we will only inspect its condition if present
- Electric water heater wiring should be enclosed in conduit
Extend your water heaters life
Water heaters usually come with tank warranties that range from 5 to 9 years. The quality of your water supply will determine the life of your tank. However, you can extend its life by draining a few gallons of water off of the tank every month.
A licensed plumber is recommended for the installation of water heaters, however this is not out of bounds for a qualified do-it yourselfer. Initial installation may require the use of a licensed plumber and a qualified electrician.
For more information on our warranties
Check us out at the Better Business Bureau