If your electric water heater has a bad or faulty TPR valve, you can attempt to replace it on your own. This project is moderately difficult, but this article may be able to help you with the process.
The TPR valve is the temperature pressure relief valve in a water heater. It works by releasing water in the event that the water heater becomes too hot. It therefore allows the water heater to cool down and not over-pressurize. If this valve did not exist, the water heater would become a mini bomb. There are documented cases where a faulty TPR valve led to an explosion and caused severe damage to the home.
You know that the TPR valve is not working properly when you notice leaking around the area of the valve. The valve is typically located on the pipe or discharge tube on the outside of the electric water heater.
Step 1 - Purchase a Replacement TPR Valve
Go to a home improvement center or plumbing supply store to purchase a replacement valve. The replacement valve should be the same as the existing type on your electric water heater. To determine which TPR valve is right for your electric water heater, ask the sales associate at the retailer for information and assistance based on the type of electric water heater you own. You should write down the name, make and model of your electric water heater and take the information with you to the store.
Step 2 - Disconnect the Electric Water Heater
Make sure to completely disconnect the electric water heater from any power source while you are working on it. You want to also shut down the water main that feeds into the water heater. This will keep the water pressure from building up inside the unit.
Step 3 - Drain the Water Heater
Connect the hose to the bottom of the water heater and turn on the water supply in order to create a suction to remove some of the water from the unit. Do not remove all of the water.
Step 4 - Remove the Discharge Tube
With an adjustable or crescent wrench, remove the discharge tube from the electric water heater. With the discharge tube removed, take the TPR valve off. Wrap some plumber's tape around the threads of the discharge tube. Hand-thread the TPR valve until it is in place and use the wrench to tighten it. Do not over-tighten the valve.
Step 5 - Place the Discharge Tube Back on the Water Heater
With the new valve in place, install the discharge tube back onto the water heater and set it in its original place. Refill the water heater and reconnect the water supply and power supply.