Water Heater Risks: Tips To Improve Safety For You And Your Family

Thanks to modern plumbing, you no longer have to heat water over a fire just to enjoy a hot bath or shower. Your water heater provides you with the luxury of hot water to bathe and wash your dishes. Of course, that same beneficial water heater also poses certain hazards. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the safety of your water heater so you can avoid potential injuries.

Addressing the Risk of Fire

Do you own a gas powered water heater? The pilot light heats your water to optimal temperatures for bathing and washing dishes. Unfortunately, that same pilot light also poses significant risks to you and your family. Your water heater comes equipped with a protective door known as a cover plate. The cover plate protects the combustion chamber, which reduces the risk of fire hazards within your home.

Make sure the cover plate is securely in place before operating your water heater. If you have to relight the pilot for any reason, make sure you place the cover plate back on your water heater. If the cover plate is missing, turn the pilot light off and contact a professional near you for repair and assistance. A professional can provide you with a new cover plate to prevent the risk of fire.

Another overlooked fire risk associated with your water heater is placing laundry too close to the unit. If your water heater is located in the laundry room, make sure you keep your laundry organized. Place the unit off the ground to prevent a pile up of clothes. Make sure you place your clothing in laundry baskets and keep them away from the water heater.

Heat emanating off the water heater can cause a fire, particularly if you have clothes sitting too close to the unit. If the clothes come in contact with the pilot light, it can lead to a potential fire. Make sure you have fire alarms installed throughout your home. A fire alarm can alert you and your family to the possible outbreak of fires, which will allow you enough time to exit your home.

Reducing the Risk of Burns

Hot water feels good after a long day at work, or a day spent outdoors gardening. You often enjoy the feel of the water as it washes away the day's stress and grime, but what about water that feels too hot? Water that feels uncomfortably hot can pose significant risks. The recommended temperature setting for a water heater is no more than 120 degrees. Hot water accounts for 20% of all burn occurrences. Burns frequently occur in either the kitchen or bathroom.

Keep in mind that a hot water heater has a temperature range between 100 and 145 degrees. At 120 degrees, water can cause an adult third-degree burns in 9.5 minutes and within 4.5 minutes for a child under the age of 5. At just 130 degrees, an adult can experience third-degree burns in 30 seconds, whereas a child can suffer burns within 10 seconds. Check the temperature on your water heater to prevent the risk of injury and third-degree burns.

Preventing the Risk of Explosion

The installation of a water heater may seem fairly easy, especially after you read a few articles and watch a couple of DIY videos. However, it is highly recommended that you have a professional install your water heater for you. Water heaters produce carbon monoxide, and carbon monoxide can pose significant risks to you and your family.

The inhalation of carbon monoxide can lead to illness and even death. Furthermore, carbon monoxide is often referred to as a silent killer because it can cause explosions. Improper venting of the water heater could mean you have carbon monoxide leaking into your home. Approximately 150 people die each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the improper venting of:

  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Furnaces
  • Water Heaters

For your safety and the safety of others, make sure you vent your water heater properly. The best way to ensure proper venting is to hire a water heater repair professional to install the water heater for you. Additionally, it is highly recommended that you install a carbon monoxide detector within your home. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in the air.

Whether you are looking to improve the safety of your water heater or repair problems that prevent your water heater from working properly, contact a professional is your best bet. A professional can offer you a wide range of services such as installation, repair, maintenance and safety recommendations.