In our commitment to resident safety and compliance with housing standards, it’s essential to spotlight the vital components of our homes that often go unnoticed—until a problem arises. One such critical feature is the Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) valve on water heaters. Understanding and ensuring the proper installation and maintenance of TPR valves not only guarantees compliance with housing regulations but also, more importantly, safeguards our residents from potential hazards.

What is a TPR Valve?

The TPR valve, a safety device located on the top or side of water heaters, is designed to release water if either the temperature or pressure inside the tank becomes too high, preventing the risk of explosions. These valves are a universal requirement across all water heaters, from the smallest 4-gallon units to the largest 100-gallon tanks.

Proper Installation and Inspection of TPR Valves

A crucial aspect of TPR valve safety is the correct installation of the blow-off pipe connected to the valve. This pipe must terminate 2 to 6 inches above the floor or a waste receptor, ensuring that any discharged water is directed safely away while preventing backflow into the water heater. This specification aims to maintain an air gap above the floodplain level, which can be the floor itself or, if the water heater sits within a pan, above the lip of this pan.

It is also paramount to ensure that the TPR valve and its discharge pipe are free from leaks and made from approved materials. Contrary to what some might assume, PVC is not an approved material for these pipes due to its inability to withstand high temperatures. The discharge pipe must have a downward slope without any upward inclinations to allow for gravity-fed discharge in the event of valve activation. An upward slope in the pipe is considered a severe finding and requires immediate rectification.

Common Compliance Issues and Remedies

Our inspections often reveal that a significant percentage of TPR valves do not meet these essential safety criteria. Common issues include incorrect material use, improper pipe lengths, and incorrect sloping. These deficiencies not only pose potential safety risks but also can result in compliance violations that require urgent repair.

To aid in compliance and safety assurance, we recommend referring to the latest guidebook, which details approved materials and installation standards for TPR valves and discharge pipes. This resource is invaluable for housing authorities, maintenance personnel, and inspectors alike, providing a comprehensive overview of the requirements to ensure that all water heaters within our jurisdiction meet safety standards.


The safety of our residents and the compliance of our housing units with safety standards are paramount. Regular inspection and maintenance of TPR valves on water heaters play a critical role in preventing accidents and ensuring a safe living environment. We encourage all involved in housing maintenance and inspection to familiarize themselves with the requirements and best practices surrounding TPR valves, as outlined in our latest guidebook. Your diligence and attention to these details can make a significant difference in the safety and well-being of the communities we serve.