Water Heaters: When the Earth Shakes it’s a 600 lb Missile Sitting in Your Garage

Water heater sm

Water heater sm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may sound dramatic which I am at times (just ask my husband about my infamous hyperbole over the years) but we are all sitting on a potential 600 pound “Missile” in our homes. A full size water heater can be extremely dangerous if it’s not anchored when a megathrust earthquake hits.

In fact, according to the State of Oregon Building Codes Division: “The water heater seismic strapping requirements and applicableseismic zones have changed with the adoption of the new codes. Now all water heaters under the 2005 Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code statewide must be strapped. Water heaters installed in buildings within the scope of the 2005 Oregon Residential Specialty Code are required to be strapped in all counties in the state except the following: Wasco, Jefferson, Deschutes, Crook, Sherman, Wheeler, Gilliam, Marrow, Grant, Harney, Umatilla, Union, Baker, Malheur and Wallowa.”

Sample Product (this is not an endorsement, I just pulled the top ranking site that popped up on Google):

http://reviews.homedepot.com/1999/100067210/10-3-in-w-x-13-2-in-d-x-2-in-h-galvanized-steel-water-heater-earthquake-restraining-straps-reviews/reviews.htm

I urge everyone to anchor their water heaters before the big one hits, however, I have to add this story that I happen to find very interesting, ironic, sad, whatever… you decide.  We had our water heater replaced and I was informed by the plumber that I need to anchor it down. Not a problem. I went to… now I dislike using store names but I am going to do it this once since I know this large company (like the company I work for) has a listening tool and Google Alerts set to notify their Marketing team back at their headquarters when their brand is referenced online and I want them to see their “logic” at work. OK, so I went to Lowes in Tigard and I asked for an earthquake restraining strap. The clerk on the West side of Portland told me that they don’t have any in this particular store. I was puzzled. She then proceeded to tell me that earthquake straps are available on the East side of the Willamettte River. Huh? I countered that the subduction zone is off the Oregon coast and last time I checked the Pacific is to the west of the Willamette. In fact, the west side of Portland is probably a bit more vulnerable due to the additional proximity to the fault. The clerk nodded and agreed but then she said “try explaining this to our distribution center in North Carolina. In their mind the only thing threatening our area in Mt. Saint Helens.” Really?!? That’s just so…. 1980. So Lowes Companies, Inc. (I am really trying to hit their alerts now) will you please advise your distribution center that seismic straps need to be distributed to ALL of your Portland stores?!?

And, since Home Depot being another large corporation has alerts set up for their competitors (I know this because our company does this) as well, Hi Home Depot, can you please check to ensure that all of your Oregon & Washington stores carry this strap vs. only having it in one store for a silly reason like Lowes… Thanks.

Reference Link:

Click to access Int100.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s