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Hot Water Heater Safety

Your hot water heater is one of the most important appliances in your home.

Although solar water heaters are gaining popularity, natural gas powered water heaters are still the most used water heaters in the country. They are relatively safe but can cause fires, burns, scalding, and water damage to property if not properly installed or used correctly.

There are several important safety tips to follow.

1. Most hot water heaters should be installed with the pilot at least 18 inches above the floor or as determined by local building codes. When installing a hot water heater, you should also read all manufacturers recommendations.

2. All gas appliances have a main burner flame and many also have a pilot flame which means that flammable products such as gasoline, oil, cleaning products, insecticides, paint, paint thinners, cloth or paper products should be stored near them.

3. Water heaters should be properly secured at all times. They should be strapped securely to wall studs using heavy bolts and metal straps. The straps should be placed in the upper and lower one third of the tank. The lower straps should be placed at least four inches above the thermostat controls. A secured hot water heater is especially important in areas that are prone to earthquakes.

4. Temperature settings are very important. Every year, many people are severely injured or killed by scalding's. Scalding accidents often happen when water coming from the tap is too hot. This can be especially tragic for small children, the elderly, and people who are sick or disabled.

5. By lowering temperature settings, you can prevent scalding's while lowering energy costs. Keep thermostat settings below 120 degrees to prevent contact with hot water.

6. Always test the water with your hands before putting a child in a bath tub or shower. Testing the water is also a good idea when washing dishes

7. When purchasing a new or resale home or moving into an apartment or other rental property, make sure that the thermostat is set at proper settings.

Aside from being properly secured, your hot water heater should have insulation padding to save on energy costs. If you are considering buying a new hot water heater, check with your local gas company for available rebates on high efficiency models.

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