When it comes to home inspections, few components are as essential as the water heater. A reliable water heater ensures a steady supply of hot water for your household’s daily needs. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what home inspectors look for when inspecting your home’s water heater to ensure it’s functioning properly and safely.

1. Location and Accessibility

The inspection of your water heater typically begins with its location and accessibility. Home inspectors will ensure the water heater is easily accessible and not obstructed by clutter or storage. Proper clearance around the heater is crucial for safety and maintenance.

2. Age and Type

Inspectors will identify the water heater’s type (e.g., tank or tankless) and determine its age. The age of a water heater can impact its efficiency and lifespan. An older unit may be less energy-efficient and more prone to issues, potentially necessitating replacement.

3. Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve)

A critical safety component of a water heater is the TPR valve. Inspectors will check if the TPR valve is properly installed, has a discharge pipe that extends to the floor or outside, and is in good working condition. This valve is designed to release excess pressure and prevent tank ruptures.

4. Water Temperature

The water temperature should be within safe limits. Inspectors will test the water temperature at faucets and fixtures to ensure it’s not scalding or dangerously hot. They may recommend adjusting the thermostat if necessary.

5. Corrosion and Rust

Inspectors will closely examine the water heater’s tank for signs of corrosion or rust. Corrosion can weaken the tank and lead to leaks. Addressing rust issues promptly is crucial to extend the water heater’s lifespan.

6. Leaks and Drips

Any visible leaks or drips around the water heater are cause for concern. Inspectors will check for signs of moisture, water stains, or puddles near the tank, as leaks can lead to damage and increased energy consumption.

7. Venting and Combustion Air

For gas water heaters, proper venting and combustion air supply are essential for safe operation. Inspectors will verify that the venting is correctly installed, with no blockages or obstructions, and that there is an adequate air supply for combustion.

8. Gas Lines and Connections

Inspectors will examine the gas lines and connections to ensure they are secure, free from leaks, and in good condition. Gas leaks can be dangerous and require immediate attention.

9. Electrical and Wiring (if applicable)

For electric water heaters, inspectors will check the electrical connections and wiring for safety and proper functioning. Any damaged or exposed wires will be noted.


A thorough inspection of your home’s water heater is essential to ensure it operates safely and efficiently. Home inspectors assess its location, age, TPR valve, water temperature, corrosion, leaks, venting, combustion air, gas lines, electrical components (if applicable), and maintenance records. By addressing any issues discovered during the inspection, you can enjoy reliable hot water and prevent costly repairs or safety hazards. Investing in a comprehensive water heater inspection is a wise step in maintaining the comfort and safety of your home.

Your Home Inspector
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