How Close Can Things Be To A Water Heater?

If you own a water heater, you may be wondering how close other items should be to it. Fortunately, we have done the legwork for you, and here is what we found.

It is recommended to leave about 6 - 18 inches of space between a water heater and other items in your home. This is because positioning things too close to the heater, especially those that are combustible, can lead to fire outbreaks.

A water heater shouldn't be located in certain places due to safety hazards. Continue reading to get detailed information about water heater clearance requirements.

interior design of clean modern white and black kitchen with stainless steel equipment. - How Close Can Things Be To A Water Heater?

How Close Can Things Be To A Water Heater?

Water heater is among the important appliances in your home. Therefore, it should be positioned properly so it can carry out its function effectively. Avoid keeping things like furniture too close to the heater; they should be kept about 6 - 18 inches away.

The boiler room with a lot of different equipment as a boiler, heater,pipes, expansion tank and other

However, some users, especially those that live in condos, may find it difficult to follow this rule because of the lack of storage space. But still, you can find other places to keep your items. This is better than exposing the entire building to fire.

Here are helpful tips to note when positioning household equipment near your water heater:

  • Ensure there is space around your heater for proper ventilation since it runs on electricity or fuel.
  • Get a shelve to keep your household items, so they don't get near the heater.
  • Flammable items should be at least 18 inches away from the water heater.
  • Always check the clearance distance regularly. 

Why You Should Check The Clearance Distance Often

If you are keeping items close to a water heater, it is recommended to check the clearance distances often.

After some time, the items may shift from the initial position, especially if the area you are staying in is prone to minor earthquakes. Apart from quakes, any of your family members can move the item unknowingly.

For you to check the distance easier and faster, consider leaving colored tape where the item should be during the arrangement. Inspect the area monthly to see if the item has moved from where the tape was pasted.

Click here to view this colored tape on Amazon.

Can You Place A Refrigerator Next To A Water Heater?

water heater in modern boiler room

It is not advisable to keep your refrigerator next to a water heater. This is because water heaters produce heat, and having another source of heat can potentially cause a fire outbreak. If you don't have enough space, leave at least 8 inches between the water heater and the fridge.

However, there are some factors that need to be considered before placing a fridge next to a water heater. They include:

Location Of The Condensing Coil

The water heater should not be on the same side as the coil. To know the location of the coil, allow the fridge to cool down, then check the temperature of the entire part, as the coil will still be hot. 

Direction The Fridge Door Swings

The direction in which the fridge door swings when open is another factor. You have to ensure that the fridge is not placed at a location where its door comes in contact with the heater when open.

To prevent fire hazards, ensure significant space between the fridge and the water heater. 

Can You Place A Dryer Next To A Water Heater?

Hand adjusting the temperature setting of a clothes dryer by turning a knob

No, you can't place a dryer next to a water heater. This is because:

Poor Disposal Of Exhaust Gases

There may be problems when releasing exhaust gases, which can cause the dryer or heater to malfunction. So, if the water heater and the dryer are not ducted correctly, hot air will build up around them.

When this occurs, the two appliances may start drawing back the air, meaning that the exhaust gases will enter the heater or dryer again, leading to carbon monoxide issues.

Insufficient Supply Of Air

If the two appliances are placed next to each other, the water heater will end up suffocating the dryer in order to function properly. 

If the heater is designed to accumulate more air, it will deprive the dryer, which may later shut down. If the dryer takes in more air than the water heater, the heater may shut down.

Manufacturers designed these two appliances to shut down when the need arises to prevent damages and increase the lifespan of these appliances. 

Can You Build A Closet Around A Water Heater?

Female hand puts thermostat of electric water heater (boiler) in low low power consumption mode . Household enegry saving equipment

Yes, you can build a closet around your electric water heater. But if it is a gas water heater, you may need a professional for the installation because adequate air is needed for the heater to function properly. 

When building the closet around the heater, it is important to ensure that there is a space of no less than 12 inches on all sides of the heater for proper combustion. This air circulation is important in preventing fire outbreaks. 

Is It Safe To Install A Water Heater In The Bedroom?

It is not safe to have a gas water heater in your bedroom. This is because carbon monoxide can be produced when the water heater malfunction, and you may start suffocating slowly as it is colorless, tasteless, and does not smell. 

However, you should consider getting a carbon monoxide detector for your home if it has any fuel-burning appliance.

According to the international residential code, you can have a water heater in your bedroom only if it is installed in a sealed closet so that combustion air will be received from the outside and not the living space.

Alternatively, you can get a direct vent type or sealed combustion unit since it can draw air from the outside. It is also safe to install an electric water heater in your bedroom.

Click here to view this carbon monoxide detector on Amazon

Can I Wrap A Blanket Around My Water Heater?

This depends on the age of your water heater. According to the United States Department of Energy, wrapping an insulation blanket around a heater can help reduce your annual heating cost. However, some water heater doesn't require wrapping. 

If you have a modern water heater, wrapping it with a blanket can cause overheating. The blanket is more helpful when used on an older heater.

To determine the R-value of your water heater, check the label. The R-value helps you know if you can use an insulation blanket for your heater. If a heater has an R-value below 24, it is okay to warp it with the blanket.

However, you can still reduce your annual heating cost on a modern water heater by installing a timer. This will help keep track of the heater, thereby saving energy and extending its lifespan. Furthermore, you should not set the temperature of a heater wrapped in an insulation blanket over 130°F.

Click here to see this insulation blanket on Amazon.

Can A Water Heater Be Placed Directly On The Floor?

water heater in modern boiler room

As per the National Fuel Gas Code [NFGC] that sets the requirements for the installation of water heaters, they should be at least 18 inches off the ground, but this is not compulsory for some anymore. 

You are required to place the heater 18 inches above the ground level because the ones with no FVIR can pose a serious fire hazard. But this is no longer a must for heaters that have been FVIR certified. But some still prefer their water heater installed above the ground level.

The easiest way to know if your water heater is FVIR certified is by checking the user's manual. However, some manufacturers want their products to be placed off the ground for inspection purposes. 

To Wrap Up

A water heater is safe and easy to use as long as you follow the user's manual. However, it is important to leave enough space around to avoid fire outbreaks.

It is required to leave a clearance distance of about 6 - 18 inches between a water heater and other items in your home. Remember, always check this space monthly, as the items can move over time.

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