California Fire Prevention for Homeowners- Home Water Heater Safety and Wildfire Preparedness
With so many recent fires in California, the need to ensure our homes are as safe as possible is paramount. Most of us rarely think about our hot water heater as being an issue when it comes to a fire- after all, they are for the most part ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ With many families having suffered unimaginable loss during the wildfires, it is important to take a serious look at the appliances in our home to be sure they are safe and do not pose a fire hazard. Whether you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sacramento or San Diego, CA wildfires throughout the state are a summer risk.
A few simple checks on your major appliances can potentially protect your family and neighborhood and help prevent a house fire or wildfire.
Could a hot water heater fire happen here?
In 2015, a catastrophic water heater fire did happen- The Rocky fire in Lake County, CA., which scorched nearly 70,000 acres and destroyed 43 homes near Clear Lake- the result of a problematic gas hot water heater in an outbuilding, according to Cal Fire officials. This is a prime example of why it’s important to perform annual inspections and maintenance for water heaters. This can help ensure the water heater is properly functioning and limit the potential for a problem to occur. It is all part of thinking about the home and family’s safety.
Existing Hot Water Heater Fire Risks
The risks of potential fire from a water heater usually come from a few things that can be easily remedied by the proper installation by licensed plumbing company and an annual inspection by the homeowner.
- Ventilation- Free and proper household air flow matters. Adverse negative air pressure can create a potentially flammable situation with a gas water heater.
- Combustibles- keep flammable items away from your water heater, and leave space around it without any clutter or debris. These can fuel a fire quickly.
- Disaster Proof- California earthquakes happen with some regularity. Be sure to have your water heater properly strapped.
- Covers & Valves- Covers should always be kept in place and fitted properly. Valves should be working correctly and not leaking, cracked or worn. Testing pressure relief valves is important.
- Improper or Damaged Wiring- Wiring needs to be correctly maintained to prevent sparks or ignition in unexpected places. One spark can start a fire in your home.
Existing Homes- Inspections and Proper Water Heater Care to Prevent California Wildfires
INSPECT YOUR WATER HEATER ONCE A YEAR- Most people don’t think about their water heater as a potential fire hazard, or even think of it until it stops working or they discover a leak. It can save you money and even save your home from a fire igniting if you take the time to thoroughly inspect your water heater to make sure there are no problems. When you clean up the yard and clear defensible space, include a check of your appliances to the to-do list for fire prevention.
The steps to check your water heater can be found in this simple and informative video. During this check, something like a small gas leak may be discovered and corrected before it becomes a major fire hazard.
KNOW HOW TO SHUT YOUR WATER HEATER OFF – This is helpful for so many reasons, but it is especially helpful in regards to fire danger and prevention. That’s because if you happen to smell gas or discover a gas leak in your water heater, you will want to get the gas shut off as soon as possible. Learn how to properly shut down your water heater here.
New Home Builds -Proper Installation by a Professional
With all of the new homes being built after the devastating California fires, many people are choosing what type of water heater they will want in their new home, and seeking a trustworthy company to install the hot water heater correctly. It is imperative for safety, that a professionally licensed service provider installs your new water heater.
With many options such as tankless water heaters, gas or electric hot water heaters and high efficiency water heaters, the choices for a new installation are plentiful and speaking with a water heater installation and service company knowledgeable in all the best choices can help you choose just the right water heater for your new home.
Having a trusted water heater company install your water heater, and advise on the maintenance and repairs for you can protect your home from accidental fire. Doing your proper yearly inspection, even on a new water heater, ensures that your home and family are protected from an unexpected fire.