Water heater in garage

If a gas water heater in a garage is required to be raised because of the potential for flash-ignition, should a gas dryer also be raised? (I don’t have the answer, but know that it was once mandated in one jurisdiction in CA, and may still be for all I know).

What about wall outlets? Should they be raised 18"?

Don’t have the answer to that one either.

Why should wall receptacles be raised to 18"

I didn’t say they should. However, they are an ignition source when you plug something into them. A slight spark or arc can occur any time an electrical connection is made. Even static electricity is sufficient to ignite flammable vapors. It just seems to me that if the code makers are trying to make a garage explosion proof, they should not focus on water heaters alone.

Notice the electrical systems the next time you’re at a gas station, or inside any building that stores flammable liquids (paint storage buildings, for example). All the electrical systems there are classified as “intrinsically safe” for use with flammable vapors. For example, the conduit joints are specially designed to contain any sparking or arcing–the joints contain a “torturous path” that would allow hot gases to cool before they are released into the environment, thereby preventing a general explosion.

Would I cite such a thing as outlets too low in a garage in my reports? No way. Would I consider their location when building my own garage? Yes.

“intrinsically safe” would not be what you encounter in a gas station environment.

Is the most restrictive “Classification” and very difficult and expensive to attain as it deals with power limited circuits that are incapable of producing enough energy to produce ignition in a specified gas or gases even in a “fault” condition. It is a very specialized area of expertise.

There are various Classifications with relation to explosive atmospheres and they are all well beyond the “need to know” for a home inspector. We do need to be aware of the correct mounting height for igntion sources.

Yes, we are getting beyond the need to know for home inspectors. My point was, again, that the code makers did not consider all sources of ignition. You are incorrect in your interpretation of and the installation of “intrinsically safe” electrically systems, at least in regard to OSHA regulations (my former employer for 4 years). Below is a quote from OSHA, emphasis added, specifically **29 CFR 1910.307(b).

**“Electrical installations. Equipment, wiring methods, and installations of equipment in hazardous (classified) locations shall be intrinsically safe, approved for the hazardous (classified) location, or safe or for the hazardous (classified) location.”

Well yes “intrisically safe” is one of the options for Classified locations but it’s not one used often in garage type installations.

wall outlets in this area. have to be above the water line of any past flood, no matter how long ago the flood was. i have seen outlets 3’ off the floor

Yes, but what about my gas water heater question? Enquiring minds want to know.

According to 2003 IRC G2408.2 the answer is Yes, gas dryers should be elevated. That reference says “Equipment & appliances having an ignition source shall be elevated…18" above the floor….in private garages” That reference is not limited to just water heaters.

Joe, typically, they’re mounted at the 4 foot height in the garage anyway. :wink:

And the gas dryer has a source of ignition so it should be raised, IMO.

What is the height of the ignition source in a gas dryer. I bet it is above 18 inches.

Dryer burner heights are pretty low:



I think you mean gas dryer and yes it is safe to assume that it should be treated the same as the water heater because of its ignition components. We don’t put dryers or water heaters in garages here. It’s just too dang cold in the winter

Very interesting. Only one jurisdiction that I know of in Southern California mandates raisng gas dryers in garages, and I haven’t heard anyone call it out in years. My laundry is in my garage, and the gas dryer isn’t raised. In addition, my classic car reeks of gas after it has been driven. Must remember to keep my insurance current.


Are you asking because you are merely curious, or from a liability standpoint? My PIA specifically disclaims free-standing appliances. A water heater is permanently installed, so it is considered part of the home.

Very few washers and dryers are left behind by the sellers here anyway.

I’m naturally curious, because I know for a fact that raising a gas dryer in a garage is or was mandated a few years back in one So. Cal. jurisdiction. I don’t call it out, but often think about it. I disclaim washers and dryers also. PS I’m always concerned about liability living in La-la-land.

I hear ya. I think La-La-land includes ALL of California :slight_smile:

*It might be wise to make this a standard part of verbiage when
commenting about the house… in the fire safety section.

“Equipment & appliances having an ignition source shall be
elevated…18” above the floor… in private garages".*