The best time to install safety devices on a water heater is at the same time the appliance is being put into your home. This way you can be assured that your new water heater won't pose a hazard to your home or family.
1. Proper Venting
Ventilation is one of the more important safety concerns with a new water heater. Gas water heaters in particular require a full ventilation system so that the hazardous fumes produced during combustion don't collect inside the home. Depending on the water heater and the installation location, a fan-assisted vent system may be necessary. Electric heaters don't require venting, but they should be provided with good air circulation around the unit.
2. Seismic Strapping
If there is any risk of earthquake or movement, then seismic strapping should be installed on the water heater. Seismic straps secure the water heater to the wall framing and the floor. The idea is to prevent the hot water heater from tipping over and bursting open, which can cause major damage to the home and also be a danger. Another risk of water heater movement is a gas leak that caused gas connections to come loose.
3. Pressure Management
A malfunction that causes the water to overheat can cause pressure to build in the appliance, which can lead to it violently bursting open. Your new water heater should ideally be equipped with a pressure relief tank, which is a small top-mounted device that the over-pressure can vent into. There should also be a relief valve, which is designed to open and allow any further excess pressurized water to escape the tank safely.
4. Flood Protection
Although a tank shouldn't crack if it's maintained, there is always a risk that a leak may occur. You can prevent the chances of future water damage by installing a decent drip pan beneath the water heater when the appliance is first put in. Choose a pan that is deep enough and wide enough to hold the contents of the tank. Better yet, opt for a pan with an integrated drain so any leaking water can be routed harmlessly away.
5. Gas Leak Safety
Every gas water heater should have a carbon monoxide detector installed nearby so that you can instantly be notified in the event that fumes begin to accumulate. Carbon monoxide is a deadly, odorless gas that can go unnoticed until it is too late unless you have the proper alarm installed.
Contact a water heater installation service, such as PK Songer Plumbing, if you have more questions about safety considerations.