Is Your Water Heater Earthquake Safe
Water heater earthquake strapping is critical in California, where earthquakes happen on a regular basis. From San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles to San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento, damage from earthquakes in homes and businesses can happen without warning. Most of us never think about our water heater’s safety before an earthquake takes place.
The law in California requires that your electric or gas water heater must be properly secured to a wall. These laws are in place so that water heaters will not tilt or fall during an earthquake episode and lead to a flood or fire in your home. All apartments, offices, homes, multi-family properties, and public buildings are required to have their water heater strapped securely.
Your water heater also holds available cooking and drinking water in the event of an extended power outage. New laws regarding strapping help to keep water heater tanks in place. Strapping types and attachment hardware rules have been upgraded for safety since the Northridge earthquake of 1994 and the Loma Prieta quake of 1989.
If your water heater is older, you might want to have it inspected by a water heater professional installer. They will ensure that you have the safe and correct strapping that is necessary. They will also make sure the correct connectors and lines are installed and strapping and wall attachments can be upgraded.
Water Heater Strapping Things to Know
- 30, 40 & 50-gallon water heaters require 2 straps
- 75 & 80-gallon water heaters require 3 straps
- 100-gallon water heaters require 4 straps
- Strapping must be placed properly- the top 1/3 and the lower 1/3 of the water heater must be strapped to prevent rocking and tipping.
If you personally would like to determine if your water heater earthquake strapping is correct and find out if it is current to California law. Earthquakecountry.org offers some good tips for proper attachment. https://www.earthquakecountry.org/step1/waterheater/
Signature Home Inspection has inspected thousands of water heaters in California to determine if they meet earthquake code standards. We would be happy to help you determine if your water heater, for the safety of your family and your neighborhood is properly strapped.
After an earthquake, you should check your water heater strapping to make sure that there are no gas lines leaking that can start a fire and cause a fire in your home. You should also be checking that your water heater has not fallen over and leaking water lines have not flooded your home, resulting in expensive repairs. If proper earthquake strapping is present, your home will be much less likely to be devastated by an unfortunate water heater issue due to earthquake tilting.