Certain areas of the West Coast are subject to earthquakes, and these can cause significant damage to your home. A number of states not only recommend that you have earthquake straps installed on your water heater, but this might be required depending on where you live.
An earthquake can cause a water heater to shift its position, tip over completely, or slide off of its platform. If the unit moves too much, cracked or broken water lines can leak, which will result in damage to floors and walls.
There’s are even greater damage possibilities that many don’t consider. It’s been discovered that, where water heaters have been near broken water lines, the resulting drop in water pressure in the surrounding area has hindered a fire department’s ability to sufficiently fight fires.
In addition to these hazards, a shifting or tumbling water heater could cause a gas line to rupture. This creates additional fire concerns. If the water heater is electric, live wires could be exposed if the conduit is separated.