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ways to properly keep a
You may reside in a location of the country where most of water heaters are placed in the garage.
It is okay to have water heaters in the garage but there are a few important things that you need
to understand. The authority on determining what the requirements are concerning residential
water heater installment as well as safety is the ICC (International Code Council). The following
information is taken from the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) section P2801.6 and
Water heaters using an ignition source shall be elevated so that the source of ignition is not lower
than 18" above the garage floor. An ignition source may be numerous things, including an open
flame, electrical switch, open resistance heating coils, or an electrical igniter unit. Domestic
garages have a higher potential for volatile liquids, for instance gasoline and paint thinners which
could spill or maybe leak from their containers. Because the vapors from these types of liquids
are heavier than air, they concentrate just above floor level, posing an explosion hazard in
garages having a water heater.
Many electric water heater thermostats have enclosed contacts, however they are just not sealed
gas tight. That is why, if ever an electric water heater with an ignition source located less than 18"
from the bottom of the unit, it is required that the unit be elevated so the ignition source
(thermostat) is at least 18" above the garage floor. Electric water heaters having all switching
controls located above 18" from the bottom of the water heater are not required to be elevated.
Gas-fired appliances must comply with the elevation requirement for elevation above the garage
floor, but have an exception to enable gas-fired appliances using flammable vapor ignition
resistant (FVIR) design to be installed without elevating the unit.
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