MGA Construction Company
Unbraced Water Heater
If the water heater is not securely attached to the wall, it can
topple during an earthquake. If gas or electrical lines are
broken as it falls, this may cause a fire as well as water
damage. This is a common, and serious, problem, but it is
relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.
How to Identify It
Examine your water heater to see if there are metal straps or
braces around it that are bolted to the wall. Make sure the bolts
go into studs or into concrete, not just the drywall or plaster.
Pull on them to make sure they are secure and tight.
What Can Be Done
Using metal tubing, heavy metal strapping, and lag bolts, secure
the water heater to the wall (see figure below). Flexible pipes
for the gas and water lines are better in an earthquake than
rigid pipes like aluminum or copper tubing or solid pipe.
Figure - You will be able to see the straps and bolts if your
water heater is braced. Make sure that the bolts are firmly
anchored to studs or masonry. (Illustration based on BAREPP