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There was a topic floating around here about a month or two ago about appliances like WH or Furnace being installed in the garage area, and about the code for it, how these appliances should be installed.

I just got a letter from ICC about that specific code requirement, it seems like many contractors been asking that question and everyone was having a different answer, so I will post the response from ICC addressing this issues.

The question was: Is there a code requirement for vehicle protection for a water heater installed in a garage area? and Does the required elevation of the ignition source also provide adequate protection against physical damage?

The answer is: The IRC plumbing provisions do not address physical protection of water heaters. However, Section M1307.3.1 of the IRC mechanical provisions requires physical protection for water heaters installed in locations subject to vehicle damage, which would include garages. Unless the water heater is installed in an alcove or elevated above the height of a vehicle, additional protection such as pipe bollards or curbs must be installed.
An elevation of only 18 inches does not provide adequate protection from vehicle impact even if the elevated platform is concrete. It is typically not practical for maintenance and repair purposes to elevate a water heater above the height of the vehicle, where it would be considered in a location not subject to vehicle damage.Bellow is the Picture for this code.

In addition: P2801.7 Water heater seismic bracing. In Seismic Design Categories D0, D1 and D2 and townhouses in Seismic Design Category C, water heaters shall be anchored or strapped in the upper one-third and in the lower one-third of the appliance to resist a horizontal force equal to one-third of the operating weight of the water heater, acting in any horizontal direction, or in accordance with the appliance manufacturer’s recommendations.
 

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I wondered why all the new houses we looked at at the beach had these massive barriers in front of the water heater. Even some that we're in a recess next to a fireplace had them where a vehicle couldn't even get to unless it was going about 50mph. Wouldn't it be far cheaper to have some kind of break away fitting on the gas line line petrol pumps do so that if it's knocked loose it stops the flow of gas? There was one house that had electric water heater that had the barriers in front of it also :blink:
 
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