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what are the requirements for
You might live in a location of the country where the majority of water heaters are placed in the
garage. It is okay to have water heaters in the garage but there are some things that you should
understand. The authority on determining what the requirements are for residential water heater
installment as well as safety is the ICC (International Code Council). The following material is
taken from the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) section P2801.6 and P2803.6.1
Water heaters using an ignition source will be elevated to ensure that the source of ignition is not
lower than 18" above the garage floor. An ignition source may be many things, including an open
flame, electrical switch, open resistance heating coils, or an electrical igniter unit. Household
garages have a substantial potential for volatile liquids, such as gasoline and also paint thinners
which can spill or maybe leak from their containers. Considering the vapors coming from these
types of liquids are heavier than air, they concentrate right above floor level, posing an explosion
threat within garages with a water heater.
Numerous electric water heater thermostats have enclosed contacts, but they are just not sealed
gas tight. Therefore, in the event that an electric water heater with an ignition source located less
than 18" from the bottom of the unit, it is mandated that the unit be elevated so that the ignition
source (thermostat) is at least 18" above the garage floor. Electric water heaters having every
switching controls located above 18" from the bottom of the water heater are not mandated to be
Gas-fired appliances have to comply with the elevation requirement for elevation above the
garage floor, but have an exception so as to allow gas-fired appliances using flammable vapor
ignition resistant (FVIR) design to be installed without elevating the unit.
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