What do you do when you have a seller who refuses to install seismic zone straps, otherwise known as earthquake straps? Often, a seller will believe their belongings are secured enough. Regardless if a water heater is bolted to the ceiling or set in concrete, without earthquake straps you can trust a home will not pass any type of inspection. Do your clients a favor and find out what is required by homeowners before an inspection is done.
Did you know the state of Nevada is also considered “earthquake country”? Over the last 150 years Nevada has been one of the top three states to have faced the largest earthquake magnitudes! A top common issue found in Nevada homes that have resulted in appraisal conditions is the lack of earthquake straps on the water heater. Any new or replacement water heater in Nevada requires earthquake straps – It is always recommended that a licensed plumber handles the replacement.
According to California law, any new or replaced water heater sold after July 1, 1991 now requires to be braced, anchored, or strapped by earthquake straps. The costs in damages after a water heater has tipped over and ruptured gas or water connections can easily reach over $1000! In both the 1989 and 1994 earthquakes, water heaters broke through their plumber’s tape. Experts found the thin metal in the tape was too brittle to withstand the effects of an earthquake.
WHAT TO DO
- Make sure there is very little space between the heater and the wall so it does not tip backwards.
- A water heater must have two straps secured to the wall’s masonry or studs and have two straps wrapped around completely.
- Place the straps at the back of the tank, bring towards the front, and return to the wall. The wrapped straps should be able to wrap the heater 1 ½ times!
- Secure both the top and bottom of the tank: one to the top third and another to the bottom third.
- Use heavy-gauge steel strapping rather than plumber’s tape.
- Have a licensed plumber install the straps to ensure it is up to code.
- Once a year, check to make sure the straps are still secure. They may become loose due to vibrations and other causes.
Lucky for you bracing kits are available at most hardware stores to help make this process easier! Contact Stanford Mortgage today to get the full rundown of why earthquake straps are not just useful but also necessary in the Appraisal process.