Over Half of Bay Area Homes at Risk of Catastrophic Damage in Next Strong Quake

How to Strap a Water Heater by GGASHI: This video shows how to properly install seismic water heater strapping. It was written and filmed by home inspectors who are certified members of The Golden Gate Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (GGASHI).Golden Gate ASHI is a non-profit organization. Chapter members work collectively to establish high professional standards and provide continuing education, outreach, and contact information to one another and those interested in the inspection profession. For more information please visit: www.ggashi.org — by GoldenGateASHI on June 8, 2011 to Howto & Style (303 seconds)

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — A recent survey performed by the Golden Gate Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors® (Golden Gate ASHI®) found that over 52% of water heaters aren’t adequately strapped. This commonly overlooked hazard can cause major damage, property destruction and potential loss of life.

According to Golden Gate ASHI President John Fryer, “Most Bay Area homeowners have not taken the simple and inexpensive steps needed to protect their homes and neighborhoods from needless disaster. That’s why the home inspectors with Golden Gate ASHI have produced and released an instructional video. We strongly encourage Bay Area residents to view it, and inspect their own water heaters for strapping deficiencies.”

The most common defect, found in 38% of installations, was the presence of too much space between the water heater tank and adjacent walls. This ‘lack of blocking’ allows a water heater to rock backward and forward during an earthquake, potentially resulting in failure of the straps and allowing the tank to fall. A fallen tank is likely to cause water damage, and is also a fire hazard in the event that the gas connection is damaged or broken.

To test existing straps and braces, grab the tank near the top and give it a gentle shove. If the tank moves at all, it is not properly braced. To see if the straps are adequately secured, grasp the strap near the connection to the wall and pull strongly. Bolts will often pull free, indicating they are secured only to drywall and not into the wall studs.

If strapping improvement is needed, the simple solution is to purchase and install a strapping or bracing kit certified by the State Architect, following the installation instructions precisely. This will be a DIY project for many, or a licensed plumber or other licensed contractor can strap the water heater according to requirements of the local building jurisdiction. Golden Gate ASHI also recommends replacing rigid pipe connections with appropriate flexible gas and water connectors to prevent breakage during seismic activity.

About Golden Gate ASHI

Golden Gate ASHI is comprised of the most experienced home inspection professionals who serve the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Members are committed to providing buyers, owners, sellers, property managers, and real-estate investors with comprehensive and unbiased reporting on the condition of single-family and multi-family homes, apartment buildings, and commercial structures.

Golden Gate ASHI is a non-profit organization. Chapter members work collectively to establish high professional standards and provide continuing education, outreach, and contact information to the public it serves.

For further information about home inspections or to view the instructional video, visit http://www.ggashi.com. To find a home inspector in your area, visit http://www.ggashi.com/inspector_index.php.

Contacts

Paul Rude
Golden Gate ASHI
510-644-3725

John Fryer
Golden Gate ASHI
510-682-4908