When we think of our hot water heaters, we often don’t think of them as potentially being dangerous. While heaters normally do not pose any threats, there are certain measures every homeowner should employ to protect the home and families. Here are a few of the most important residential water heater safety tips for homeowners.
First, you should prepare for natural disasters. This is especially important if you are in an earthquake zone. It is important to strap your water heater down so that it is secure and stable. If anything were to cause the heater to tip over, it could be potentially catastrophic and could even cause an explosion should it sever the gas line.
You may also consider installing an automatic gas shut off valve. This valve would stop the flow of gas in an emergency o if the flow of gas increases drastically or at an unusual level. The valve usually costs a few hundred dollars and can prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage in the case of a gas leak due to a flood, earthquake or other serious, large scale disaster.
Monitor the temperature of your water heater. The settings of a heater are usually, vague such as very hot, hot or warm and these setting vary drastically from one heater to the next. Therefore, use specific results. You can use a thermometer to measure the temperature, which should stay at about 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too low, below 120, bacteria may develop. If it is too hot, sediment may build up which could waste energy and cost you lots of extra money.
Make sure the heater is well vented. If the heater has a poor draft, you risk the development of fumes building up such as carbon monoxide. These can then go back into the room instead of being sent outside. To avoid problems, the vent should go straight up without dips. Also, vents should be double-walled and screwed into the wall properly.
Another great tip is to insulate the first 6 feet of piping from the hot water heater as well as the first 3 feet of the cold water pipe. Insulating the hot water piping properly will reduce heat loss so that the system can work efficiently. Insulating the cold water pipe will help to prevent “sweating that primarily occurs in the warm summer month. You can find this insulation wrap at any local hardware or home and garden store. While insulation is good in some places, it can be dangerous in others. Keep insulation away from the draft hood or the flue exhaust vent at the top of a natural gas heater.
Keeping these safety tips in mind will not only keep your heater working efficiently for a long time, but it will also protect your home, your family, and even save you money and protect your wallet! Safety is always important whether you have a gas or an electric on-demand water heater. It is better to play it safe so that you don’t have to worry and so that you can have peace of mind while living in your home.