Your water is earthquake ready, you say? You may think it is earthquake ready if it’s strapped to the wall. And yes, that is the main way to prepare it for an earthquake.

The #1 way to ensure your water heater is earthquake ready is to get it securely and correctly strapped to the wall.
Having your water heater securely and correctly strapped to the wall is the major way to prepare it for an earthquake. It can also become a source of emergency drinking water. IF, that is it has been serviced properly.

But is it strapped correctly? And is it ready to be a source of emergency drinking water if necessary?

We Make Sure Your Water Heater is Earthquake Ready

We never know when a catastrophic earthquake may occur. According to the California Earthquake Authority(CEA), there is a 99% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or higher earthquake within the next 30 years in California.

Tipped Over Water Heaters Can Cause Fire or Flood

Whenever we install or service a water heater, we make sure it is earthquake ready. It’s just part of the service. It gives us both peace of mind that your water heater will not tip over during an earthquake.

If a water heater were to tip over and fall of course it could damage your water heater beyond repair. That would be costly in itself. But even more importantly, it could cause a flood or fire. And that, of course, adds even more to your costs and stress.

Earthquake Fault Lines Near Fallbrook, Bonsall, Temecula, Oceanside and Vista

San Diego County is less than 15 miles from an active fault. The Rose Canyon and San Jacinto fault lines are the closest ones to us. The CEA estimates a 75% chance that a magnitude 7 or higher will strike these specific fault lines within the next 30 years. 

The closest active fault line to Fallbrook, Bonsall, Temecula, Oceanside and Vista is the San Jacinto Fault line that runs directly through Murrieta and Temecula. In fact, Murrieta and Temecula are in the center of “liquefaction zone” according to the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). According to Wikipedia, liquefaction means soil substantially loses strength and stiffness in response to an applied stress such as shaking during an earthquake or other sudden change in stress condition, in which material that is ordinarily a solid behaves like a liquid.

2004 Earthquake in Japan liquefaction caused sewer to float upward

Earthquake liquefaction caused this sewer to float upward in 2004 Japan earthquake. (Wikipedia photo). Temecula is a liquefaction center for the San Jacinto fault line.

There is a lot of information out there on how to prepare for an earthquake. We’re not experts on ALL the ways to prepare. But we ARE experts on water heaters.

We’ve been servicing, repairing, replacing and installing water heaters for over 30 years. No other plumbing company knows water heaters as well as we do.

#1 Water Heater Earthquake Ready by Securing it Properly to the Wall

Whenever we install a new water heater, we always secure it to the wall. We follow the latest regulations, using the strongest materials for the job.

Below is a summary of recommendations from the Earthquake Country Alliance:

  • There should be very little space between the water heater and the wall. If there is more than 1 or 2 inches, attach a wooden block to the wall studs with long lag screws (see illustration on page 20). The purpose is to prevent the heater from tipping backwards.
  • Wrap the heavy-gauge metal strapping 1½ times around the tank. Start by placing the strapping at the back of the tank. Bring it to the front and then take it back to the wall (see illustration below).
  • Secure this strapping to the wall studs or the wood block using several 1/4″ x 3″ or longer lag screws with oversized washers. If you are securing it directly into concrete, use 1/4″ expansion bolts in place of the screws.
  • Replace all copper and metal piping with flexible natural gas and water line connectors.

#2 Water Heater Ready to Provide Emergency Drinking Water AFTER an Earthquake

A thirty- or fifty-gallon tank water heater can be an excellent source of back-up emergency drinking water. We never know how long it will take for utilities to resume after a disaster. Of course, we should have drinking water as part of our emergency supplies.

But if we run out, we can use the water in a water heater tank. It will help make that water more palatable if that tank has been routinely drained and flushed properly.

This water heater had been drained by homeowner but not properly flushed.

This water heater had been drained but not FLUSHED properly by the homeowner. In an emergency, the water in the tank of your water heater can be used as drinking water. But would you want to drink this sediment?

Call us for a free phone quote. We will make sure your water heater is earthquake ready as part of any water heater repair, replacement, installation or service.

We recommend servicing your water heater at least once a year. That service goes beyond draining the water heater. It includes properly flushing. Thoroughly flushing the water heater helps it last longer. And, it makes the water more palatable should you need to drink it if your water supply is disrupted. 

Of course, we are not experts on how to prepare for an earthquake in general. One of the best sources of general preparedness information can be found at Earthquake Country Alliance. Here is a summary of their recommendations.

1. Identify hazards and secure moveable items (like water heaters)

2. Create a communications plan with your family

3. Organize and place disaster supplies in  convenient locations

4. Organize insurance and strengthen your property.

For more information on our tank and tankless water heater service, repairs and installations, click here.

For more information on some of our most commonly requested services, click here.

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