Did you know that October is designated as National Fire Prevention Month? It was initially established as National Fire Prevention Week in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and over time, it has extended to cover the entire month. This is because, on average, there are approximately 358,500 house fires each year, with about 5,400 of them attributed to water heaters. Now, we want to stress that this does mean water heaters are inherently hazardous, but we want to make it a point that improper practices and neglect of your water heater can result in significant issues if not addressed promptly.  

Join your Pickerington Plumbing & Drain family as we provide expert guidance on essential water heater fire prevention measures. 

Do You Know the Difference Between Gas and Electric Water Heaters? 

Before exploring safety tips, let’s examine the differences between gas and electric water heaters. While their energy sources vary, their operational mechanisms and internal workings are remarkably similar. Now, let’s focus on understanding their energy sources and functionality. 

Gas Water Heaters: These appliances utilize natural or propane gas for heating water, thus making gas leaks a potential source of flammable vapor. If a gas leak occurs and the flammable vapor comes into contact with an ignition flame, the likelihood of a vapor-induced explosion is heightened. Fortunately, most contemporary water heater models are sealed at the base, safeguarding the ignition flame against flammable vapors. To exercise prudence, it is advisable to install a Carbon Monoxide & Explosive Gas Detector in your residence, regardless of the age of your water heater. These hybrid alarms are capable of detecting carbon monoxide as well as natural gases like methane and propane. 

Electric Water Heaters: Electric water heaters depend on electricity, necessitating careful attention to detect signs of overheating or electrical fires. (For further information on this specific topic, please click here.) Various factors can contribute to water heaters overheating, but if the temperature surpasses 140ºF, consider lowering it. If the issue persists, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. Typically, water heaters should be set between 120ºF and 140ºF. 

Do You Know the Safety Measures for Water Heater Fire Prevention? 

  • Keep Flammable Materials Away: It is crucial to ensure the proper storage of flammable materials away from your water heater and its immediate surroundings. Considering that many water heaters are located in garages, it is common for flammable items, such as paint cans, empty gasoline containers, oily rags, household chemicals, cleaning products, cardboard boxes, stacks of paper, wood furniture, and plastic bottles, to be stored nearby. Moreover, exercising caution when storing items like lawnmowers that require gasoline if your water heater is in the garage is essential to mitigate the significant fire hazard that it poses. 
  • Know How to Shut Off the Water Heater: You should acquaint yourself with how to turn off your water heater. Although you may not foresee the need for this knowledge at the moment, it becomes crucial in critical situations that demand swift action. 
  • Clear the Area: Maintain a clutter-free space around your water heater to allow for proper airflow. Consider it as providing sufficient “breathing room” for your water heater. Placing items around or in front of the water heater can obstruct airflow and create a fire hazard.  
  • Schedule an Annual Plumbing Inspection: Arrange for a yearly plumbing inspection conducted by a certified plumber every year. Thorough plumbing inspections encompass a range of components within your system, such as pipes, drainage systems, sinks, toilets, showers, water heaters, and other related appliances. This proactive measure aids in upholding the optimal operation of your plumbing system, identifying potential concerns, and averting their progression into more severe and hazardous issues down the line. 

Ensuring the safety and responsible maintenance of your water heater is of utmost importance to us. We prioritize the well-being of you and your family above all else. Give us a call to learn more about our Whole Home Protection Plan. We’ve got you covered when it comes to keeping your home and HVAC system in tip-top shape! 

Stay safe and call Pickerington Plumbing & Drain for all your plumbing needs today at (614) 350-1955, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here! 

Pickerington Plumbing & Drain

(614) 350-1955

Whole Home Protect