How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why is a leaning water heater a safety problem?
Sunday, December 13, 2020
As a water heater begins to lean out-of-plumb, it tugs on the two pipes connected to it at the top, along with the flue connector if it is a gas water heater (like the one shown above). A full 40-gallon water heater weights a top-heavy 500 lbs. And the more it leans, the more sideways pressure on those connections. Eventually the pipes will be stressed too much and fracture, causing a flood.
Water heaters usually lean because they are on a plywood or OSB platform. Any leakage from the water heater soaks the wood below it, and the weakened wood sags over time. The wet base can also be caused by condensate leakage spreading from an adjacent air handler on the same platform. The problem can often be fixed, after the leakage is repaired, with an additional sheet of plywood under the water heater. Although easier than replacing the whole platform, this fix is not actually all that simple. The water heater must be drained and disconnected from the piping, then reinstalled and reconnected after the platform repair is done. If the water heater is older and corroded, it may be more cost effective to replace it rather than reinstalling it.
There may also be mold on the interior surface of the drywall sides of the platform that needs to be remediated. And it’s a good idea to add a catch pan, with a drain to the floor of the garage or outside, when you reinstall the water heater. This will keep the same problem from happening again if there is any new leakage.
Also see our blog post Are water heaters required to be raised off the floor?
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Here’s links to a collection of more blog posts about WATER HEATERS:
of Blog Posts
Top 5 results given instantly.
Click on magnifying glass
for all search results.
Buying a home in North/Central Florida? for a team inspection by two FL-licensed contractors and inspectors. Over 8,500 inspections completed in 20+ years. In a hurry? We will get it done for you.