Myth: Older Water Heaters Don’t Meet Safety Standards
“My friend’s son said my water heater doesn’t meet current safety codes.”
Myth #8: If your hot water tank is old, it won’t meet current standards.
This may be part myth and part truth. Here are some important considerations when determining if your water heater meets current standards and codes:
1. Was your water heater installed by a licensed plumber? It can be tempting to cut costs by having a handyman install your water heater, however the majority of unlicensed installers will not be aware of gas and electrical safety codes as they relate to water heater installations.
2. Is your water heater more than 10 years old? The CSA frequently updates their water heater efficiency requirements, which may mean that your old water heater does not meet the efficiency requirement anymore. Municipalities also update their bylaws which often includes requirements for water heater installations, such as the addition of earthquake straps to your hot water heater.
Did you know: Some insurance companies offer discounted home insurance if your water heater has safety straps.
3. Is your water heater level? A water heater that isn’t installed on a level surface (or with a shim underneath) is at risk of falling over in the event of an earthquake or a strongly thrown elbow. Having seismic strapping on your hot water tank will keep your water heater safe and secure.
4. How is your water heater venting? It is unfortunate that we commonly see water heaters that have been installed with incorrect venting. It may be that the vent pipe is too small, has too many bends for what Technical Safety BC (gas code) allows, or the venting may be otherwise altogether dangerous. One of of customers had a water heater that vented to the a blocked chimney. Guess where the gas goes? (It backflows into the home and this is not safe.)
The long and short of it is that if you have had your water heater was installed by a licensed professional and inspected by a municipal representative, then it likely meets the same safety standards as water heater do today, however it may be inefficient. New hot water tanks will be similar to what you have in your home now, assuming it is the same style of tank – storage or tankless. As long as your water heater is installed by a licensed professional plumber and is installed to the BC Plumbing Code and Gas Code (where applicable,) then your water heater meets current safety standards.