Gas Engineering Guide

Appliance - Water Heaters

WATER HEATERS IN RESIDENTIAL GARAGESWater heaters generating a glow, spark, or flame capable of igniting flammable vapors may be installed in a garage, provided the pilots, burners, heating elements, and switches are at least 18 inches above the floor level in residential garages or 8 feet above the floor in commercial garages.


A. Water heaters may be installed at floor level in carports having 100% openings on one side and 50% net opening on another side or the equivalent of such openings on two or more sides, provided the adjacent ground level is at or below the floor level of the carport.

B. Fuel burning water heaters having sealed combustion chambers (i.e. direct-vent models) need not be elevated.

C. Water heaters installed within a garage that is enclosed in a separate, approved compartment having access only from the outside of the garage, may be installed at floor level provided the required combustion air is taken from the outside of the garage.

All water heaters installed in areas where they may be subjected to mechanical damage shall be suitably guarded against such damage by being installed behind adequate barriers or by being elevated or located out of the normal path of the vehicle.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) water heaters shall be prohibited from being installed in a pit, or basement where heavier-than-air gas might collect to form a flammable mixture (UPC 1213.6).

In seismic zone 3 and 4, water heaters shall be anchored or strapped to resist horizontal displacement due to earthquake motion.

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