How to Secure your Residential Water Heater

How to Secure your Residential Water Heater

Securing our water heater during earthquakes is significant motivation to protect life and property. During earthquakes, water heater can tilt, move, or tip over if not secured. This event can result several problems like water or gas leaks and wiring damage. This will not only cause property damage but also can pose health and fire hazard. This is the reason why a plumbing code exist.

Today, any new or replacement water heater must be braced, anchored or strapped when installed to avoid this problem. The bracing requirements and guidelines have been set the Division of the State Architect (DSA) to be met to secure the residential water heaters. The following are some ideas:

  • Two sets of bracing straps should be used. In building and plumbing codes, it is required a minimum of two sets of bracing straps for a water heater with a capacity up to 52 gallons. Seventy five (75) gallons requires an additional set of bracing at the mid-height of the water heater. Water heaters with greater capacity should be approved by the local building department before installation.
  • Water Heaters should be on a raised platform. Generally, water heaters should be on a raised platform at least 18” above the floor level. The platform should be braced and secured in the floor or the adjacent wall. Also as plumbing code requires, a gas water heater located in a garage must have the pilots, burners or heating elements, and switches located at least 18” above the floor level.
  • A heavy metal strapping, a Plumber’s Tape Bracing or a EMT Conduit Bracing may be used. A strapping kit that contains a heavy metal or a plumber’s tape bracing or EMT conduit bracing are the options. When you choose the tape bracing, it should be at least 3/4” perforated 24 gauge steel strapping to brace the water heater to the adjacent wall. If EMT Conduit is used, it should be at least 1/2” diameter EMT conduit, in conjunction with 3/4” perforated 24 gauge steel plumber’s tape, to brace the water heater to an adjacent wall.
  • Bracing should be attached to a concrete or concrete masonry wall. In water heater bracing, a mechanical (expansion-type) anchor bolts or chemical (epoxy adhesive) anchor bolts may be used to strap in a concrete or concrete masonry walls. It should be a minimum of 3/8” diameter, with 2” minimum embedment at the concrete or masonry. Also, bracing or strapping must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The concrete or masonry concrete should be strong and able to hold the water heater.
  • Insulation blanket should be removed upon bracing. In case your water heater has an insulation blanket, it should be removed and reinstall after the bracing.

How to strap your water heater?
Here are the guidelines on how to attach the strap in your water heater:

  • First, prepare your tools like drill, screws, cutter and others. Then mark the location of the strap. The upper strap should be 9 inches below the water heater top and the lower strap should be 4 inches above the water heater control.
  • Then do your measurement to strap the water heater in the wall.
  • Secure the water heater using drill

If you have trouble strapping your water heater, call us today!