A simple task for the monthly checklist is testing the TPR (Temperature Pressure Relief) valve on the water heater. If the controls on the unit fail, the heater may not shut off and reach dangerously high temperatures. The pressure is directly related to temperature and will reach very high levels, too. If it works correctly, the valve will open and drain water from the tank into the drain. It is possible to burst the tank if the TPR valve fails.
To test the TPR valve activate the small lever on the top of the water heater labeled “test.” Doing this monthly will keep it from “freezing up” because of corrosion. Water should rush out of the pipe running down the side of the tank to the drain. If it is a slow trickle or there is no flow, have the TPR valve replaced.
Test GFCI Outlets
In the kitchen, bathroom, garage, and outdoor spaces there should be a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. There only needs to be one per circuit. It will trigger if there is a short circuit and shut off the connection to prevent the wire from overheating. It also works to prevent a shock to a person if a device (e.g. a hairdryer) is dropped into water. This is one of the most important safety components of a home and needs to be in good shape at all times.
To test GFCI outlets start by plugging in a lamp and turning it on. Press the “test” button and the light should shut off. Press the “reset” button and the light should turn on again. If this test fails, replace the outlet.
Check Water Filters
Common places to find water filters are in the refrigerator or under sinks with a drinking water faucet. Filters do a good job of keeping particulate out of drinking water. However, they will become dirty over time and need to be replaced.
Aside from standard particulate filters, it is common for homeowners to use carbon filters (a.k.a. charcoal filters). The carbon reacts with organic matter in the water to neutralize odors. Since this is a chemical reaction it will eventually use all of the carbon and need to be replaced.