TOP 5 WATER HEATER FIRE SAFETY TIPS DO’S AND DONT’S
As the California Wildfire Season continues to rage, it was just announced by Cal Fire that the Rocky Fire, which was located in Lake County near Clear Lake in Northern California, was caused by a faulty water heater. The Rocky Fire began on July 29th and burned nearly 70,000 acres over a two-week period and it destroyed 43 homes and caused hundreds of residents to evacuate.
Evidently, the water heater was located in an outside structure and was surrounded by flammable liquids, which helped cause the fire to really get moving and growing. Read our top 5 water heater fire safety tips and use the best practices to limit possible fire damage caused by your water heater.
Though it may seem unusual that the fire was caused by a faulty water heater, the fact is that hundreds of homes fires have been caused by water heaters in one way or another. According to the National Fire Protection Association, during the 4-year span between 2007 and 2011, water heaters were responsible for 11 percent of fires started by home heating devices. Now, let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean that water heaters are inherently dangerous or some sort of ticking time bomb waiting to catch fire. These facts just remind us that improper use and neglect of your water heater could lead to problems down the road. So, we here at Water Heaters Only, Inc. thought this would be a good opportunity to share some helpful tips that could make all the difference when it comes to keeping you and your family safe from fire danger.
- GET YOUR WATER HEATER CHECKED ANNUALLY Most people don’t think about their water heater until they have to, meaning until it stops working or they discover a leak. But it pays to have a professional come over to your home once a year and make sure there are no problems with your water heater and check for any potential problems that might occur in the near future. During this check, something like a small gas leak may be discovered and corrected before it becomes a major fire hazard.
- KEEP FLAMMABLE MATERIALS AWAY FROM YOUR WATER HEATER – This cannot be stressed enough, especially in light of the fact that it was reported that the Rocky Fire was caused, in part, by flammable liquids that were kept near the water heater. These were ignited, thus helping to create this huge fire. So, make sure that flammable materials such as oily rags and even paint and gas cans are kept far away from your water heater.
- 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. For complete instructions, go to our main website to watch a very informative video and to get detailed instructions for shutting down your water heater. Just click here. (Insert link here https://www.waterheatersonly.com/emergency-shutdown-instructions
- MAKE SURE THE AREA AROUND YOUR WATER HEATER IS CLEAR FROM DEBRIS – This point is connected to the previous point about flammable materials being stored next to the water heater. In general, the water heater needs “breathing room” so that there is plenty of ventilation available for the pilot assembly to burn properly. If the air flow is cut off by debris and clutter stacked around the water heater, this could cause the heater to not work properly and that could become a fire hazard.
- MAKE SURE THE AREA IS ALSO WELL VENTILATED, ESPECIALLY IF THERE ARE FLAMMABLE MATERIALS – Since many water heaters are located in the garage, there is a greater likelihood that the homeowner may use a flammable material in the vicinity at some point. This could be as a result of painting or using varnish or even filling your lawn mower with gas (we recommend you do all of these activities in a different area than your water heater. No matter what the situation, you always want to make sure that the area is well-ventilated so that there is no danger of the fumes combusting and causing a fire.
We hope these water heater fire safety tips has been informative and helped raise awareness about the potential fire hazards that can be avoided with some common sense, preventative measures. If you have any other questions, you can always call us at 1-866-WHO-QUICK (1-866-946-7842) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and talk to one of our water heater experts. You can even arrange to have one of our technicians come out and inspect your water heater for you. And, of course, for more information about water heater safety and water heaters in general, you can always check out our FAQ’s.