How to Keep Your Water Heater Safe
Water Heater Safety (For Electric And Gas Tanks)
A water heater is an essential household appliance. But remember it deals in electricity, gas, flames and pressure. All these are highly dangerous if not properly handled. The safety of your water heater and your home is solely your responsibility, as there is no jurisdiction pertaining to it. All the same, certain guidelines, directives and safety codes are imposed by the local authorities. Make sure that you obey these rules.
Strap your water heater to the walls – Water heaters are installed in garages and bathrooms. The whole house water heaters are really heavy and voluminous contraptions. So these need to be stabilized well. If you live in an earthquake prone area it is imperative that you should strap your water heater on top and bottom. It will render the water heater stable and avoid any toppling of the same.
Remove combustible objects from near the water heaters – The water heaters are devices which generate heat. So it is very prudent to keep the immediate surroundings of these equipments clean of any combustible objects like paper, debris etc. Avoid storing gasoline near the water heater if it is installed in your garage. This is, especially important in the case of gas water heaters, since most of them possess standing pilot flames. Leave at least 18 inches between the floor and the pilot flame of the water heater. Be careful when you use aerosol pesticides in your garage. Make sure that the pilot flames are extinguished before you spray the pesticide guns.
Avoid carbon monoxide hazards – If the venting of the gas water heater is not done well, there is a possibility of the carbon monoxide from the combustion pervading your garage and living space. Carbon monoxide being a colorless odorless gas cannot be detected easily but it is the silent killer gas. So ensure that the vent flue has the same diameter as the tank’s vent exit. The vent should be installed so that it goes straight out without any bends or distortions. See that all the sections of the vent are screwed firmly. Better still, install a carbon monoxide detector in your garage.
Check the pressure and temperature relief valve at least quarterly – This valve is the main safety mechanism of your water heater. This is a valve which opens automatically when temperature or pressure inside your water heater increases more than it should be. Proper functioning of this valve protects the water heater from exploding. Lift the leaver to see if water flows freely out of it and shuts off completely when it is released. If the flow is slow or it drips incessantly, it is time to replace the valve.
The maximum operating temperature should be set at 120oF – 120 is the most suitable temperature for a water heater. Anything below it may set off the breeding of certain bacteria in your water heater. Anything above will scald you.
Check your sacrificial anode periodically – The magnesium rod that is suspended in your water heater is there to serve as the anode, so that the steel parts of your water heater is saved. When this rod has expended itself, the steel parts of your water heater will be affected and corrosion takes place. This will lead to leaks and damage to the tank. So replace the anode rod if it is used up.
Be careful while using the insulation kits – When you insulate your water heater tank and pipes to combat heat loss, make sure that you do not cover any of the control panels or the P&T and drainage valves. The pilot flame access, vent, and dampers should be free of any kind of obstruction. The top of the gas water heater also should be bare.
As the adage goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’. So make sure that you take all the safety precautions to avoid any mishaps.