If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place to secure your hot water heaters. Hot water heaters that have earthquake straps will be less susceptible to any damage or tipping caused by earthquakes. Having these earthquake braces in place will help prevent against fire and water damage. Water heater bracing is a necessary step when considering earthquake preparedness.
Water heaters that aren’t secure during an earthquake can easily fall over and rupture water and gas connectors. A properly braced water heater will have two straps wrapped entirely around the body of the water heater. These straps should be screwed into the masonry or studs of the wall in order to be properly braced. If your water heater isn’t properly braced, read on for your best options.
In cities where earthquakes are very common, building codes often have a bracing requirement for water heater installations. These straps are usually laterally bracing the water heaters, which allows the straps to resist most seismic forces. If you are installing the braces yourself, you can find retrofitted kits as well as adjustable straps for your water heater bracing needs. Additionally, one can find a variety of water heater restraint systems as well.
Before picking straps or a restraining system for your water heater, be sure to check with the local building department to ensure your chosen method is approved for your area. If not, be sure to choose a restraining method that is in line with what your local building codes require.
Using Flexible Connectors
In addition to having strong restraints, it is helpful to use flexible connectors for the gas and water supply on your hot water heater. These connectors will help to prevent anything from being dislodged during an earthquake, thus preventing any further damage from the water or gas supply. If these connectors break, the risk for fire or water damage increases greatly.
You can modify these connectors by yourself with the right materials from a local hardware store or you can use the assistance of a professional plumber.
Shutting of the Gas
It is important all members of the household understand how to turn off the gas in the home. The gas shut off valve on the water heater can be used to shut of the flow of gas and water, hopefully preventing any potential problems in the case of an earthquake.