Water Heater Safety Tips to Prevent Fires, Explosion and Other Mishaps
Under normal conditions, hot water heaters are quite benign appliances. However, improper installation, handling or maintenance could have explosive results. Keep your home and your family safe with these tips.
Lower the water heater temperature to between 120 and 125 degrees. This safety measure can prevent severe burns in homes with children or elderly residents. It also lowers your water heating bills.
Keep paper and other combustible materials away from the water heater. Never store gasoline, paint thinner or cleaning products near the water heater.
For gas water heaters, extinguish the pilot light before using a flammable liquid nearby.
For a water heater installed in the garage, raise it on a platform so the pilot light is 18 inches off the floor. This water heater safety measure prevents gasoline vapors collecting near the floor from igniting.
Inspect the ventilation flue regularly. The vent should be the same diameter as the tank’s draft diverter. It should also go straight up and out through the wall or roof. Look for gaps or cracks in the flue that could potentially leak deadly carbon monoxide fumes back into your home.
Test the pressure-relief valve. As long as it’s in working order, this valve opens if internal pressure rises, thus preventing an explosion. As part of your annual water heater maintenance, place a bucket beneath the valve and pull up on it. Water should flow freely out and stop when you release the handle. If water merely drips out or does not flow from the valve at all, replace it.
Consider installing an automatic gas-shutoff valve. This stops gas flow in emergency situations, such as if a flood or earthquake breaks a gas line near your home. Some utility companies are willing to install an automatic gas-shutoff valve and let you pay it off monthly.
Strap the water heater down. Even though Peachtree City is outside an earthquake zone, this water heater safety tip prevents an explosion if the water heater were to tip over for any reason.