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Question DetailsAsked on 6/16/2015

What is the cost to install a new 50 gal water heater to meet the newer earthquake codes in castro valley, ca?

Need to build a wall with 2x4's and fasten the water heater to prevent it from falling during an earthquake.

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2 Answers


Depends on your exact situation - but generally, because the wall will have to be close behind the heater to be able to tie into it, it will also have to be fire rated - so not just studs, but also drywall encapsulated, and tied into the overhead and underlying framing or slab, so a lot of variations are possible. Then of course, the seismic straps need to be installed, which is a small portion of the job. Other possibility is using steel studs, which generally (may depend on your specific county so check with local building official) would be considered OK as support posts without drywall for this purpose, presuming the wall is not also acting as a firewall between utility room/garage/etc and the living space. I have also seen 3" pipe with end adapter flanges bolted to the ceiling joists and the floor used for this - takes 2 as the strapping is required to splay out from the heater at the back, cannot go to just one post.

Wall/support cost could run from probably (considering a trip for mounting plates and materials once the job is under way and he sees what is needed to tie into ceiling and floor) about $400-500 on the low side to possibly as much as $1000, but not likely that much. If plumber can do it with pipe posts (some would not do that type of work) during water heater install, probably less additional cost.

Plus normal heater and install cost, of course - for the normal plumbing work - typically around $1000 range these days, though some run closer to $600 for 50 gallon heater, and some over 2000 for very high efficiency heaters, ones with heat pumps on them (not required for your size),

Handyman could probably handle the job, but check again with building official - if it requires a Water Heater Installation Certificate (some areas use that in lieu of the building inspector coming out) then as I recall in California only a Plumber can do them.

Also, if in garage and not on a platform (and fireproof-surfaced if fuel-fired in some counties and definitely needed if not rated for combustible floor installation), will need that built too - all ignition sources in garages have to be up off the floor to reduce the chance of gas fumes igniting. Normal platform height is 18" from floor, which obviopusly means modifications to the exhaust ducting too if heater has to be put up on a platform. And yes, electric water heaters are considered potential ignition sources since one was found responsible for igniting stored gas in a basement in the midwest many years ago.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


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Answered 5 years ago by garrettk

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