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AGE of WATER HEATERS
ALTERNATIVE HOT WATER SOURCES
ANODES & DIP TUBES on WATER HEATERS
ANTI SCALD VALVES
APPLIANCE DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
AQUASTAT CONTROL Functions
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
BACKFLOW PREVENTER, HEATER WATER FEEDER
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CHECK VALVES, WATER SUPPLY
CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPING
CROSS CONNECTIONS, PLUMBING
DEBRIS in WATER SUPPLY, Water Heater
DRAIN a WATER HEATER TANK
ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
FLOODED WATER HEATER REPAIR
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GAS BURNER Flame & Noise Defects
GAS FIRED WATER HEATERS
GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
HEATING COST SAVINGS METHODS
HOT WATER EXPANSION TANKS
HOT WATER SUPPLY
HOT WATER IMPROVEMENTS
HOT WATER DELIVERY SPEED UP
HOT WATER EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT
HOT WATER PRESSURE EXPANSION RATE
HOT WATER PRESSURE LOSS
HOT WATER PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
HOT WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENT
HYDROGEN SULFIDE GAS
INDIRECT FIRED WATER HEATERS
MANUALS & PARTS GUIDES - HVAC
MIXING / ANTI-SCALD VALVES
NO HEAT - NO HOT WATER: HEATER DIAGNOSIS
NOISE, WATER HEATER
ODORS IN WATER
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
RELIEF VALVES - Water Heaters
SCALE REMOVAL, WATER HEATERS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SOLAR HOT WATER HEATERS
TANKLESS WATER HEATERS
THERMAL EXPANSION of HOT WATER
THERMOSTATS, WATER HEATER
TIMERS for ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
WATER HEATER ALTERNATIVES
WATER HEATER ANODES, DIP TUBES
WATER HEATER AIR INLET
WATER HEATER DEBRIS FLUSH
WATER HEATER DRAIN PROCEDURE
WATER HEATER EFFICIENCY
WATER HEATER FLUSH PROCEDURE
WATER HEATER NOISES
WATER HEATER PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
WATER HEATER COMPARISONS, PROPERTIES
WATER HEATER SCALE
WATER HEATER SAFETY
WATER HEATERS for HOME HEATING USE?
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PIPES, Clogs Leaks Types
WATER PRESSURE TOO HIGH: DANGERS
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENT
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article discusses the need and procedure for regular safety inspections of water heating equipment. We list authoritative citations supporting the need for water heater safety checks. Included are 31 water heater safety checklist items.
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Authorities recommend a periodic safety inspection of all water heating equipment, including all types of water heaters. (We list and compare different types of water heating systems at WATER HEATER COMPARISONS, PROPERTIES.)
Thanks to Carson Dunlop Associates, a Toronto Home Inspection Firm and Home Inspection Educator, for permission to use sketches shown in this article. Our photo (left) shows the results of a fire at an LP gas fired water heater installed outdoors in Gogorron, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Potential Water Heater Safety Hazards and Other Water Heater Inspection Points That Should be Inspected or Checked
Except for our having placed two very common water heater safety concerns - scalding and relief valve problems - at the top of this list, the rest of our water heater safety inspection list is arranged alphabetically and includes links to more details about each item.
Building Authorities & Other Sources Recommending Water Heater Safety Inspections
Thanks to reader D.B. for discussing the need for water heater safety inspections, suggesting some of the water heater inspection requirement code sources above, and for suggesting the need for documenting sources of authority, building codes, water heater manufacturers, water heater operating and installation manuals, and other sources recommending inspection and safety practices involving water heaters (as well as other tanks and pressurized containers in buildings).
In the LP gas fired water heater shown in our photo, the installer had trouble fitting the draft hood atop the heater since there was then not enough overhead clearance to route the flue out of the building. The installer has thoughtfully left the draft hood he removed, an important safety device, sitting atop the water heater as a reminder that this is an improper installation.
There is just too much subjectivity to make a sensible answer to this question. Some people are frightened by the prospect of a natural or LP gas explosion in a building.
But while it's difficult to set heating oil on fire and so explosions based on the fuel character may be less likely than with an LP or natural gas system, an oil-fired water heater runs at much higher burner and exhaust flue temperatures and so can prevent other types of fire risk.
Most critical with any water heater are that the heater is properly installed and includes the required safety controls such as those responsible for limiting temperature and pressure. Any water heater should include a temperature and pressure relief valve installed of the proper type and at the correct location. Gas-fired devices also should include flue-gas spillage detectors. Oil-fired devices should also include a fire-safety valve that shuts off fuel to the appliance in case of fire.
We guess that proper installation, inspection, and maintenance make more difference in the safety of a water heater than the innate differences among heater types, fuels, etc.
List of Hot Water Heater Safety Devices and Features
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.