Emergency Preparedness: Secure Your Water Heater
September is recognized as National Preparedness Month which serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and while we commute. Today we’ll talk about a common problem in the home during an earthquake – your water heater and gas lines.
Secure Your Water Heater
Unsecured water heaters often fall over during an earthquake, rupturing rigid water and gas connections and electrical lines becoming an explosion or fire hazard.
If your water heater does not have two straps around it that are screwed into the studs or masonry of the wall, then it is not properly braced. Water heater restraint kits are available at your neighborhood Ace Hardware store for around $20 and are easy to install.
If you have an insulation blanket on your water heater you will need to remove it and place the restraints directly on the water heater, and then reinstall your blanket.
Check your gas and water line connections to the water heater to ensure they are flexible or corrugated connectors. These flexible lines are now available with an automatic gas safety valve in the event of a disconnection.
Know where your gas and water shut-off valves are and be sure you have the proper tool or shut-off wrench at the location of the valves so that you don’t have to search for it during the chaos of an emergency.