New Hot Water Heater? Plan for Safety!

Posted on: 20 April 2020


A new water heater means you can make sure it is installed to meet all safety standards that pertain to your area. Whether you need to be concerned about earthquakes or fire dangers, there are standards that the installation can adhere to that will protect both your home and your new water heater. The following are just a few of these safety standards to consider.

Safety Valve Location

Every hot water heater must have a safety release valve to allow steam or boiling water to escape in the event the water heater overheats. Otherwise, a hot water heater can explode from overheating. The valve is typically on top of the hot water heater, but a pipe should be installed on the valve that routes the pressure release down to the floor so that any escaping steam poses no hazard.

Pilot Light Height

Gas-powered water heaters feature pilot lights, which are typically near the bottom of the water tank. For heaters installed in a garage, install the hot water heater on a raised platform that is a foot or so off the ground. This way vapors from gasoline, the car, or items like paint (which tend to settle toward the ground) won't be ignited by the pilot light.

Earthquake Strapping

You should take extra safety steps if you live in an area with earthquake hazards. Earthquake strapping, which is typically made of flexible metal, must be installed near the top and bottom of the tank. The strapping keeps the tank from falling over. It also prevents swaying, which can damage a tank. The amount of necessary straps depends on the size of the tank as well as local earthquake safety codes.

Gas Shut Off Valve

Another issue with gas-powered hot water heaters is a gas leak. Every gas-powered heater should come with a safety valve that allows you to shut off the gas in the event of a suspected leak. Although most homes have a valve to shut off the gas supply to the whole house, a dedicated valve for the water heater will allow you to continue to use other gas-powered appliances even when you must cut gas to the water heater for safety or repairs.

Pipe Insulation

Water heater pipes can develop condensation due to the temperature difference of the water flowing through the pipes and the outside air. This condensation can collect in the walls, leading to mold problems and water damage over time. Pipe insulation solves the problem. As an additional benefit, the insulation also prevents heat loss, which can lower your energy costs.

Contact a water heater service to learn more.