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Why Does a Water Heater Need to Be Elevated?

A water heater is an essential appliance in any home, providing hot water for various daily tasks, from showering to washing dishes. While many homeowners are familiar with the basic maintenance tasks for their water heaters, such as flushing the tank or checking the pressure relief valve, one often overlooked aspect is the need for proper elevation.

If you’ve ever wondered why your water heater is seated a few feet in the air, or if it currently isn’t, we’ll explain everything you need to know. Let’s take a closer look at this topic below.

Elevating a Water Heater Addresses Safety Concerns

Elevating a water heater is primarily a safety measure. By raising the appliance above the floor level, the risk of potential hazards is significantly reduced. In areas prone to flooding, such as basements or utility rooms, a water heater sitting directly on the floor can be vulnerable to damage from rising water levels.

Elevating the water heater helps protect it from water damage and minimizes the risk of electrical malfunctions or gas leaks that could result from flooding.

Preventing Corrosion & Rust

Water heaters are typically made of metal, which can corrode over time when exposed to moisture. Placing the water heater directly on the floor increases the likelihood of moisture buildup due to condensation or minor leaks.

This moisture can lead to rust and corrosion, compromising the structural integrity of the water heater and potentially causing leaks or other problems. Elevating the water heater allows air to circulate underneath, reducing the buildup of moisture and preventing corrosion.

Compliance with Building Codes

In many jurisdictions, building codes require water heaters to be elevated at least 18 inches above floor level. These codes are designed to ensure the safety and proper installation of appliances in residential and commercial buildings.

By adhering to building codes, homeowners can avoid potential fines or penalties and ensure that their water heater meets the necessary safety standards.

Facilitating Maintenance & Inspection

Elevating a water heater also makes it easier to access for maintenance and inspection purposes. Plumbers or homeowners performing routine maintenance tasks, such as flushing the tank or checking for leaks, will find it more convenient to work on a water heater that is raised off the floor.

This accessibility facilitates regular maintenance, which is essential for extending the lifespan of the water heater and ensuring optimal performance.

What Should a Water Heater Be Elevated On?

There are various methods for elevating a water heater, depending on the specific requirements and available space. Newer homes with gas-fueled water heaters may have a raised concrete platform or a similar feature. More commonly, however, water heaters are situated atop a small metal stand.

Do All Water Heaters Need to Be Elevated?

Not all water heaters are required to be elevated, particularly electric water heaters and those with a sealed combustion chamber. The requirement was established to prevent ignition sources within the water heater from coming into contact with flammable liquids and gases that may be on or just above the garage floor (such as gasoline fumes or motor oil).

That said, homeowners should rely on the personalized advice of an experienced plumber to determine if they should elevate their water heater or not. In most cases, there is no harm in doing so, even if it may not be necessary.

Contact Us for Plumbing Assistance

Meyer's Companies, Inc. is an experienced home service provider, offering any kind of plumbing service your home may require. If you’re looking to install a new water heater or replace an old one, we can assess your needs and match you with the right appliance for your home.

Learn more about our plumbing services by contacting us today.