How To Strap A Water Heater In A Closet

How To Safely Strap A Water Heater In A Closet To Get It Up To Code

Posted by bellbrosblog on the internet Water heaters are devices that heat water. While on a recent family vacation in Ireland, I discovered that the rolling hills and large trees that they have there are quite similar to those that we have here in Northern California. While traveling across the country, there were times when I felt I was going from Sacramento to the Bay—if it weren’t for all of the sheep, old stone walls, and incredibly green countryside that kept me from thinking I was in California.

Hot water heaters are critical, and I want to make certain that everyone of you have one that is in good working condition as a result of our experience.

The majority of locations do.

And that’s why, today, I’d want to talk about how to properly strap an electric water heater into a closet so that it meets the requirements of our community, the City of Trees.

Do Your Homework on How to Strap a Water Heater in a Closet

Getting a water heater up to code and installing it properly is difficult, but the single most critical step occurs before you’ve ever begun working on the project in the first place. It may seem self-evident, yet it is correct. Doing your homework ahead of time is the most critical move you can do. You should be completely knowledgeable about the following topics:

  • This is your home
  • This is your new hot water heater
  • This is the local municipal building codes

To be completely honest with you, the fact that you’re installing a water heater in a closet at all makes things a little more complicated. Most homeowners prefer to store their water heaters in basements or garages, where they are out of sight, but this is not always the case. In certain instances, you’ll need to secure it in a closet, thus there are codes specifically for your condition. If you live inside the boundaries of the City of Sacramento, this means abiding to the regular California State Building Codes, which you may find by clicking here.

To avoid this from happening again, I recommend that most people use a professional water heater repair and installation business that specializes in this type of service on a regular basis.

Know the Risks of Strapping a Water Heater in a Closet

The second element of your coursework entails being familiar with the hazards. Working with your water heater isn’t as unsafe as something like doing your own electrical wiring, but it is still potentially hazardous. However, because water heaters rely on electricity, there is some risk involved with them, whether you’re thinking out how to place a water heater in a closet or simply attempting to fix a water heater that is leaking from the bottom of the unit itself. The single most critical piece of safety advise is to make sure that the water heater you’re trying to cram into a closet is not powered by gas before you start working on it.

Making a gas water heater inside a closet is quite unsafe.

Water heaters that employ fuel combustion are not authorized to be put in closets under any circumstances whatsoever.

Let the Professionals Strap Your Water Heater in Your Closet

Simple reality is that dealing with a professional water heater specialist is always going to be the finest option. Working with a professional assures that your task will be completed in accordance with the law—and that it will be completed safely. Additionally, a professional will have knowledge on how to ensure that your project complies with local municipal building codes, as well as other important information. I’m primarily referring to guidance on how to take advantage of local energy efficiency incentive programs.

  1. All you need is a little bit of professional coaching to get started.
  2. A good hot shower is something that almost everyone, everywhere, from here to Dublin, appreciates.
  3. We’re a local firm with years of expertise in completing tasks that meet code standards in our community, and we’d be delighted to assist you as well!
  4. Make a phone call to the plumbing and repair pros in your area.
  5. Our highly educated professionals can also assist you in identifying any additional problems that may arise.
  6. Are you looking for alternative financing options for your new HVAC system, windows, or plumbing?
  7. For further information, get in touch with Bell Brothers, a HERO authorized contractor.
  8. Image courtesy of Minerva Studio.

Codes for a Water Heater in the Closet

Because most residences do not have a basement or garage, it is important to put the water heater somewhere inside the structure of the house. It is frequently preferable to do it in a closet where it will not be seen. Nonetheless, this is only permitted in limited circumstances, and a permit is necessary when installing, replacing, or repairing a water heater.

Water Heater Types

Water heaters should be built in areas where they can be conveniently connected to gas or electric service, as well as where water supply and distribution lines can be simply erected. If the unit is positioned on an external wall, it will be easier to provide proper ventilation. In the event that a water heater is required or desired, it can be put in a bedroom or bathroom closet, but only if it is an electric, direct vent, or sealed combustion chamber type.

Other types of water heaters that employ fuel combustion are not authorized to be put in bedrooms, bathrooms, or closets that have doors that open into these areas.

Closet Doors

When a water heater is put in a closet, the doors must be closed; the doors cannot be left open at any time. If the doors are left unattended, they must open and close smoothly and freely, and they must close and lock on their own. It is not permissible to include features that allow the closet door to be held open. Under the closet doors, there must be a threshold and a seal installed.

Air Circulation

When a water heater is put in a closet, the doors must be closed, and the doors must not be kept open at all times. Door opening and closing must be effortless, and if left unattended, they must close and lock automatically. It is not permissible to use features that allow the closet door to be held open. Under the closet doors, there must be a threshold and a seal.

Seismic Straps

It is possible for a water heater to shift during an earthquake, resulting in water leaks, gas leaks, and electrical damage. Water heater bracing straps must be fitted on water heaters in earthquake-prone locations in order to avoid this. Both the top and bottom thirds of the water heater must be secured with two straps, with one strap situated on the top third and the other located on the bottom third of the water heater. There must be at least 4 inches of space between these straps and the water heater’s controls.

See also:  How Do I Light My Water Heater

Specs for a Gas Water Heater in a Closet

Placing a gas-fired water heater in a closet is one of the alternatives available when installing the equipment in a mobile home or a residence that does not have a basement or an attached garage, among other situations. Generally speaking, it is an excellent and safe alternative, provided that all applicable building code requirements are satisfied when the appliance is installed. Despite the fact that the criteria outlined in this article are based on national building standards, you should consult your local building code department since requirements may fluctuate significantly from one region to the next depending on where you live.

The Closet

  1. National Building Code and all municipal building standards are quite detailed about the restrictions that must be followed when installing a gas-fired water heater in a closet, and this is no exception. In the first place, as specified in the California Plumbing Code, sections CPC 510.6.1.1, 510.7.4.1, and 510.10, the closet cannot be utilized for any other purpose and must be equipped with a self-closing gasketed door that prevents carbon monoxide or other combustion products from entering the dwelling. It is also mandated by the National Building Code that the closet be lined with a fire resistant wallboard

The Vent

  1. It is not permitted to install a residential gas-fired water heater in a closet
  2. However, the combustion gases from the heater must be vented to the outside of the residence, and the fresh air required for combustion must be drawn in from outside the home using double wall metal pipe
  3. Single wall metal pipe is not permitted.

The Spacing

  1. The minimum space required between an electric fire water heater and any flammable material, such as wall frame or wall finish, is one inch when the water heater is located in a closet. This clearance has been established in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines. In all situations, the manufacturer’s minimum clearance instructions for your appliance must be adhered to to the greatest extent possible. If you live in an earthquake-prone location, you will also need to install seismic straps to keep your water heater in its proper position.

The Floor

  1. If the floor of the closet is carpeted, you must put a metal plate between the bottom of the water heater and the carpet to prevent water from leaking into the closet. At the very least, the metal plate must reach 6 inches beyond the base of the water heater. This plate should be supplemented by the installation of a drip pan between it and the water heater, with a drain that connects to the house drain or extends outside the residence. The drain must be deeper than 2 inches to avoid interfering with the air flow of the burner, and it should reach between 1 and 2 inches beyond the walls of the water heater’s tank to avoid clogging the drain. The drip pan drain should have a diameter of at least 3/4 inch to function properly.

Water Heater

A common occurrence is when unsecured water heaters fall over, rupturing inflexible water and natural gas connections. If your water heater does not have two straps that wrap fully around it and are screwed into the studs or masonry of the wall, it is not adequately braced, and this should be addressed immediately. One way of bracing a water heater is seen in the figure below. There are bracing kits available to make this operation as simple as possible. A plumber should also be called in to install flexible (corrugated) copper water connectors if they haven’t previously been done.

Protected source of water – or a puddle

Fresh water after a crisis may be as near as your water heater – assuming, of course, that it remains upright during the event. A standard water heater has a capacity of 30 to 50 gallons of water.

This water supply, on the other hand, is very sensitive to the ground undulation (swells and rolls) and ground acceleration caused by earthquakes, which can cause them to topple over and spill. Water heaters should be secured to the wall studs to ensure that this important resource is protected.

Changes to strapping recommendations

Your tank may have been strapped, but it may have been done wrongly, as earlier procedures are no longer advised by the military. Due to the fact that many water heaters ruptured through their strapping in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco and the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, experts have adjusted the suggested process for strapping water heaters to prevent this from happening in the future. The following are the two most significant modifications recommended by experts:

  1. Make sure the hot water tank is securely fastened from top to bottom instead of merely at its highest point or at its lowest point. Instead of plumber’s tape, heavy-gauge metal strapping should be used. Many water heaters were damaged or destroyed in the earthquakes of 1989 and 1994, despite the fact that the plumber’s tape intended to keep them safe was broken through. It has been discovered that the thin metal used in plumber’s tape is too fragile to be effective

Securing your hot water tank

Make sure your water heater is secure.

  • The distance between the water heater and the wall should be kept to a bare minimum. If there is more than 1 or 2 inches of space between the wall studs, connect a wooden block to the studs using long lag screws (see illustration on page 20). The objective of this feature is to keep the heater from toppling over backwards. Wrap the heavy-gauge metal strapping around the tank a total of 112 times. Begin by securing the strapping at the back of the tank using tape. It should be brought to the front and then pushed back against the wall (as seen below)
  • Several 1/4′′ x 3′′ or longer lag screws with large washers are used to attach the strapping to the wall studs or the wood block to keep it in place. The screws can be replaced with 1/4-inch expansion bolts if the structure is being secured directly into concrete
  • Replacement of all copper and metal pipes with flexible natural gas and water line connections is recommended.

Commercially available kits, such as this one, include all of the necessary hardware, including strapping, lag screws, washers, spacers, and tension bolts. These kits, which are available at a variety of local hardware stores, are highly recommended. Inspect to see that the strap has been wrapped around the water heater 1 1/2 times. Water heaters are a good source of backup water in an emergency. This is made easier by attaching a garden hose to the drain spout, which allows you to easily get water from the drain spout.

Before opening the drain, make sure that the electricity or natural gas has been turned off.

Another Solution for Water Heaters

When water heaters are not correctly braced, they can tumble over during an earthquake, resulting in the following consequences:

  • Gas lines that have ruptured and gas leaks
  • Fires that have caused significant damage to residences
  • Water pipes that have burst and flooded
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During an earthquake, the unbraced water heater in this residence collapsed, causing a fire that completely consumed the house. California Seismic Safety Commission is the source of this information.

How to Identify

  • The water heater is freestanding, isn’t it? Exist belts or other sorts of constraints to keep the water heater from moving around? Whether or not straps or other restraints have been fastened to the studs If the water heater has been secured, was the job done correctly and in accordance with the most recent recommendations? Is the water heater linked to flexible water and gas lines
  • If so, where are they located?

During the Morgan Hill Earthquake of 1984, this water heater that was not properly secured tipped over. Fortunately, no gas or water pipes were broken during the incident. California Seismic Safety Commission is the source of this information.


  • It can cost more than $500 to replace a water heater after an earthquake
  • However, there are certain exceptions. It is possible to spend several thousand dollars to repair fire and flood damage, not to mention the cost of your property as an investment. Check with your local Building Department for specifics on the standards in your community. Make a note of the location of your main water valve so that you can cut it off in the event of a leak. Keep track of the location of your main gas valve so that you can switch it off if you hear or smell a gas leak.

Water heaters must be braced (that is, firmly fastened) to the wall studs in order to function properly. Water heaters in California must be braced at the time of sale or when a new water heater is installed, according to state regulations.

The Solution

There are a number of recommended remedies, all of which are reasonably affordable.

  • Purchase and assemble a strap kit or bracing kit from your local hardware shop and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make certain that the kit has been approved by the State Architect.

Other choices are as follows:

  • Hire a certified plumber to properly install your water heater in accordance with local requirements. For wall studs, use metal tubing or strong metal strapping, as well as lag screws and washers, to secure the water heater to the wall.

Flexible pipes should be used in the gas and water lines, as well. During an earthquake, they are far more secure than rigid pipes. Make care to inspect the straps at least once a year. They may get dislodged as a result of vibrations or other factors.

How-to Resources

  • Your local home improvement store
  • How to Brace Your Water Heater, City of Los Angeles, Department of Building Safety, Information BulletinP/PC 2002-003, June 14, 1999
  • How to Brace Your Water Heater August 11, 2004
  • Guidelines for Earthquake Bracing of Residential Water Heaters, Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect
  • How to Secure Your Water Heater, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, 2003
  • How to Secure Your Water Heater, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, 2003

r/HomeImprovement – Installing water heater safety straps. Tanks is in a small closet. No usable studs in the back to anchor it.

I’ve discovered the internet! There is a little closet with a tank on the first floor of the house. The only studs that appear to be functional are the ones that form the door frame. Are you able to provide us any advice on how to get them up to code (in Washington state) so that we can close on a property we’re purchasing? The deadline for submissions is in two days. We didn’t even find out about it until yesterday, and it’s the only thing keeping us from closing our doors for good. Please accept my thanks in advance.

  • 1st grade You will not be able to fasten them to the aperture.
  • I’d be surprised if there weren’t any available at all.
  • In a little closet, there is a heater.
  • I’m only trying to assist him in figuring things out.
  • 2Yes, we were taking a look at it.
  • I’m only trying to be of assistance to him.

A community committed to assisting people with personal home improvement projects by providing them with advice. If you are new to this site, please read the posting and commenting standards listed below. Reddit Inc. is scheduled to go public in 2022. All intellectual property rights are retained.

Confusion About Water Heater Straps

Why is there such a muddled public perception about seismic straps for water heaters? No one appears to be in agreement on what is necessary. As Realtors, we must ensure that we comply with existing regulations while also satisfying the requirements of our customers. However, we receive a variety of responses from plumbers, house inspectors, and building officials. Some believe that two straps are required, while others believe that one is adequate. Some people believe plumber’s tape is sufficient, while others believe it is insufficient.

  • Some people even believe that electric water heaters do not require any straps at all.
  • Since 1982, the Uniform Plumbing Code has required seismic safety straps to be installed on the majority of water heaters.
  • Originally, the regulation only specified that water heaters “must be anchored or strapped to prevent horizontal displacement owing to seismic motion,” and that this was the only requirement.
  • The types of hardware used and the techniques of attachment were entirely up to the installer’s choice.
  • Specifically, the updated code states that “strapping should be located at positions within the top one-third and lower one-third” of the water heater.
  • It is necessary to use two straps, however there are currently no guidelines on the procedures and materials that should be used.
  • Following are the health and safety regulations that were adopted by the state legislature in 1989: (1) Bracing is required on all water heaters sold in the state of California.

The office of the state architect is responsible for developing generic installation instructions with standard specifications that demonstrate the very minimum requirements for seismic strapping.

Essentially, the effective standards are as follows: (1) All water heaters, whether gas or electric, must be secured with straps.

(3) Straps may be made of plumber’s tape (at least 24 gauge) or metal conduit with a diameter of half an inch.

It is important to note that many of the strapping kits available at hardware stores do not meet this standard.

(3) Straps should be fastened to the wall studs with lag bolts that are a quarter inch in diameter and 3 inches in length, as shown in the illustration.

Request a copy of “Earthquake Bracing of Water Heaters for Residential Use,” which is available on request.

See also:  How To Refill Hot Water Heater

Q: The apartment I recently acquired has undergone a thorough professional inspection, and one of my primary concerns has been the stink of cigarette smoke in the building.

There were no holes in the walls that my home inspector could see when he checked for them.

Do you have any recommendations?

Air passing from one unit to another is, as a result, extremely rare.

First and foremost, try to close up any possible openings that may exist in the shared walls that separate your home from your neighbor’s.

Most hardware stores sell them at a reasonable price, and they are readily available.

You will need to roll back the carpet in order to complete this properly.

There is a possibility that smoke will enter the building through the chimney terminations above the structure.

It is possible that cigarette smoke from your neighbor’s chimney might be blown down your chimney on windy days if the chimney tops are too close together.

The attic is a third site where smoke might potentially be transmitted.

In the first instance, there was a failure to construct partitions between the attic spaces of the separate housing units.

When both problems exist in the same structure, the attic serves as a conduit for air circulation between the residences, with the potential for smoke from one residence to seep into the next one.

Have a question about any area of the house inspection process?

Contact us. Write to Barry Stone, Los Angeles Times, 540 Atascadero Road, Morro Bay, CA 93442, or send it to him at the address above. Alternatively, you may visit Stone’s website: All queries will be taken into consideration for inclusion, but they will not be answered individually.

Water Heater Installation Codes in California

Your water heater is a critical component of your home’s infrastructure. Although a water heater explosion or other failure might have significant implications, California and the rest of the United States have rigorous water heater installation rules, which are in place to protect consumers. So, if you’re thinking of installing a water heater yourself, it’s crucial to be aware of the safety precautions that must be taken in order to comply with regulatory requirements as well as to keep your house and family safe.

Water Heater Installation Codes

It is critical to the functioning of your home that you have a water heater. However, an explosion or other failure in a water heater might have catastrophic repercussions, which is why water heater installation rules are strictly enforced in California and throughout the United States of America. It’s essential to be aware of the safety precautions that must be taken when installing a water heater on your own, both to comply with legal requirements and to ensure the safety of your family and house.

Earthquake Straps

California, like much of the West Coast, is particularly prone to earthquakes, as is the state of Washington. As a result, earthquake straps must be installed on water heaters in order to ensure that the appliance remains in place in the case of a seismic earthquake. Water heater straps should be installed in the top third and bottom third of the water heater to protect it against earthquakes.

Expansion Tanks

Expansion tanks are used to avoid pressure spikes and leaks in water heaters by absorbing excess pressure that can accumulate within the heater itself. Because of the expansion of water when it is heated, there is an increase in the pressure inside the tank. A Thermal Expansion Tank is needed by code if you have a Pressure Regulator or a Backflow Preventer installed in your system.

Water Pressure Regulator

It is suggested that water heaters with pressures more than 80 PSI be equipped with a water pressure regulator. An increase in water pressure can occur as a result of population growth, and if the problem is not handled immediately, it could result in a broken water heater.

Water Shutoff

If you need to turn off the water or gas to your water heater for any reason, such as a leak, a lack of hot water, or for maintenance, you must have a functional shut-off valve on both the incoming cold water line and the gas line to your water heater. If your water heater’s shut-off valves are in good operating order, you’ll be able to turn it off without impacting the rest of your house.

Drip Pans for Draining

An overflowing water heater can cause flooding, but installing a drip pan and drain beneath your unit will assist reduce water damage in the case of a water heater overflowing.

P T Valve

A P T valve (pressure and temperature relief valve) should be installed outside of your home and routed to the outside. If the temperature or pressure of your water heater hits 210°F or 150 PSI, the valve will discharge water, which might be a warning that something is really wrong with your water heater.

In addition, by connecting your heater to this release, you may avoid potentially hazardous situations that could arise if the extremely high pressure in the home were to be released.

Where to Put Your Water Heater

It is important to consider the position of your water heater. Many people choose to store their water heaters in the basement, garage, or in an outside enclosure to decrease the danger of CO poisoning, which may be deadly if not treated promptly. It should be put in a secure location that is distant from potentially dangerous or explosive items. It is also crucial to have easy access to your water heater in order to ensure that you can get to it in the case of a malfunction.

Do You Need a Permit to Replace a Water Heater in California?

In order to install a water heater in California, you must first get a water heater permit from your local building and safety planning office. In essence, the permit serves as a request for inspection, and it may be used to provide you with advise on the proper codes for your location, as well as on the installation itself. These permits can range in price from $50 to $400 depending on the state. In the case of large work, such as a remodeling, it is possible that additional permissions may be necessary.

Benefits of Professional Installation

When it comes to installing your water heater, the most crucial thing to remember is your own safety. A water heater that has not been built properly might be quite harmful for your property. Installation of a water heater by a qualified expert may be completed swiftly and safely, while also ensuring that all safety features comply with California water heater requirements. In addition to ensuring that your water heater installation is done correctly, hiring an expert will provide you the opportunity to ask questions regarding maintenance and any issues to look out for.

We provide expert water heater installation and maintenance services that are carried out in accordance with California water heater code requirements.

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