Make your own free website on

MGA Construction Company

Unbraced Water Heater

The Problem

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 detail)

Back to the MGA Construction Page