When the TPR Discharge has no where to go

I was just talking to an agent about a house he has listed.

He showed me how the water heater is located in a utility closet in the middle of the house. The TPR discharge pipe just ends at the floor of the closet.

Obviously, that isn’t right.

The issue faced is there is no where to run it to.

The foundation is slab, so running it under the house is out.

The utility closet is in the middle of the house, so getting a pipe to the outside isn’t possible without running it through the middle of a room.

There seemed to be no logical way to run a discharge pipe that would be acceptable.

House was built in the late 1950’s, well before TPR valves were required, so it’s not a builders defect (yes, the water heater itself was newer).

We were both perplexed as to what would be the proper thing to do (short of relocating the water heater).

Any recommendations?

(Sorry, no pictures).

How about a 2 gallon receptacle hooked to a condensate pump .
Remember you need an air gap and send the water if any to a laundry tub?

Recommend setting water heater on drain pan, if it’s not already. That would help minimize damage. One could connect a garden hose to it for drainage.

not unusual in older slabs

solution: install air gaped tpr to a sealed drain pan with leak sensor

when they don’t have hot water they’ll know there’s a problem that requires their immediate attention

It does not matter when the house was built. If an appliance was replaced, as you say it was newer, it typically is required to be installed to current codes and acceptable standards and installation instructions, for safety, if nothing else.

My suggestion is explain to customer what optimal installation is. Write in report and then let buyer and seller negotiate… Sometimes updating may not be reasonable. Jackhammer up floors or deal with wet floors. I did see a slick new device that has a wireless connection to valve. They installed in several potentially wet areas so whole house waterwould turn off when ice maker leaks, hot water tank fails, or washer overflows. Their insurance company required installation after big event.

Andrew do you know what it is called or have a link to it?

Recommend installation of a Watts 210, gas shut-off valve. A pressure-relief valve is still required to be located on the system, but it doesn’t have to be located on the water heater.

Interesting Thanks … Roy


Hasn’t that been hashed out a few times already? Don’t see how the watts 210 would help being you still have to install Pressure relief valve?

OP here is an old link. Thousands of them on any given topic http://www.nachi.org/forum/f11/hot-water-heater-question-5027/

Sorry Ian, don’t know what state you are located in. But in your state could it just discharge directly above the floor if closet did not have flooring?

What about floor drain?

Georgia has several options…

Watts 210-5


Not allowed in all areas. Los angles does not allow.

Check with your AHJ

Thanks Jeff!

:wha?: Sorry, I thought I made it obvious.

Not picking on you, but that just struck me as funny. :smiley:

Well, that is a problem with slab foundations. Floor drains are difficult to put in after the fact.

But thank you for that link. I’ll read through it.

Yes you are quite correct. I’ve a few threads on other forums discussing the Watts 210 no longer being allowed in Los Angeles, and confirmed this with a plumbing contractor I know.

The pressure relief valve does not have to be on the water heater. It doesn’t even have to be in the same room. In most cases, it will be located outside of the residence/structure.

The plumbing contractor is misinformed.

The Watts 210 gas shutoff valve is not recognized by the CA Plumbing Code (which is different than “not being allowed”), but a variance can be obtained to use them where necessary. That’s assuming you’re trying to get a permit for the installation.

Although the CPC requires a “combination temperature and pressure relief device,” there is no “prohibition” written into the CPC nor for the City of Los Angeles for the use of a Watts 210 gas shutoff valve, which leaves it open for approval with an appropriate variance.


No worries just trying to help. I see you are in CA.

The TPV discharge pipe can drain 6 inches above the unfinished floor. Simply remove the flooring material in the closet. This is the cheapest solution.

We as inspectors, observe and document the defects. I wouldn’t get into giving the customer exact repair fix options. Not saying that’s what you are doing but it appears that was the case from the OP.

There are several ways to address this issue. Some are more expensive than others. The buyer will just have to weigh the risks associated with the defect observed. Either way, I’d never document in the report exactly how to fix the issue, rather recommend repair by licensed plumber. If you want to give a few verbal suggestions at time of inspection for possible repair options, I see nothing wrong with that.

For me personally here in GA we are allowing to take the TPV discharge pipe up and out with some exceptions. Otherwise I’d move the water heater out of this locations. That’s just me personally. The quickest and probably least expensive solution would be to remove the flooring material in the WH closet. Then take the TPV discharge 6 inches from the floor. Not saying it’s the smartest thing, however it would meet likely all US IRC WH plumbing codes…

Right gotcha Jeff. Just did not know if this would address the issue at hand. It would be a costly solution. Probably 500 or more huh?

I don’t see what the issue is for an inspector to write up. What you’ve described is not a defect, it’s a choice of installation with little forethought. The most you can do is simply point out that if the water heater TPRV releases there may be water damage. Is a drainage provision a requirement in your area?

You might say it’s not a defect per se, but it is still a safety issue. If the TPR blew, it would cause quite a bit of damage to the house, and potentially scald anyone walking by.

And while true, finding the solution is beyond the scope of an inspection, it is an interesting point of discussion.

I’ve seen plumbers charge $350 for installation of a pressure relief valve on a residence-system, so in that respect, $500 certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.

There are pumps that can send liquids 10 feet plus up vertically. Its still not cheap (200-300 for pump) but if it goes vertically you can then direct it to a drain pipe or outside via the crawl space.