Should Hot Water Heaters Sit On The Floor?(Complete Guide)

Should Hot Water Heaters Sit On The Floor?

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Should Hot Water Heaters Sit On The Floor?

Yes. You can install a water heater on the floor, but according to the Uniform Plumbing Code, a water heater tank should be elevated above the ground at a minimum height of 18 inches from the ground. If gas heaters are placed on the ground they are likely to explode due to the contact of the pilot flame on the floor.

The most appropriate way to elevate your tank is by buying a water heater stand.

A water heater stand will do the magic, and they are strong enough to withstand the tank’s weight when at full capacity.

The tank needs to be elevated to at least 18 inches because we might have cases of spilled gasoline or motor oil on the floor, which can be fatal when exposed to a fire spark.

We have those gas and electric water heaters placed in a sealed combustion chamber; they do not have to be elevated as they are safe from external harm.

There are those people who prefer having indoor water heaters; in their case, they do not have to elevate the tank, but it would be advisable to follow your state and local codes.

Another thing to note is that it’s always advisable to have your water heater elevated and have a drip tray placed beneath it to collect any water that leaks from the tank.

Not excluding that from the pressure release valve.  

Do Water Heaters Have To Be Elevated?

No, water heaters do not have to be elevated. For instance, you can have your gas water heaters sit on the floor if it’s flammable vapor ignition-resistant (FVIR).

The same applies to all the electric water heaters; they too can be installed directly on the floor.

People believe that it’s necessary to elevate your water heater because gas water heaters that do not have FVIR are prone to fire accidents when laid directly on the floor.

Well, that is history now because FVIR verified gas water heaters could be placed directly on the floor with the fear of risking a fire outbreak.

Should Hot Water Heaters Sit On The Floor?

Back in the day, gas water heaters would be required by code to be elevated to 18 inches from the ground because people feared that they would explode by themselves.

The truth behind it was that spilled ignitable liquids on the floor would cause a fire because they could get ignited by the tank’s pilot light.

Let’s say you have your water heater installed in the garage; there could be an accident and motor oil spills on the floor beneath the tank; the tank’s pilot light can ignite the motor oil. 

As much as it’s not compulsory to elevate your water heater, it would be advisable for the following reasons;

When inspection time comes, it gets easy to have a full look at the tank compared to when the tank is sitting directly on the floor.

Another reason for you to elevate your tank is to avoid problems caused by flooding.

When the room, garage or basement, in which the water heater is placed gets flooded, it becomes easy to empty the flood water before it causes any damage to the water heater.

Drainage is also another reason for elevating your water heater.

Elevating the tank makes it easy to drain it completely, and it’s that lower water in the tank needs to be removed as they can be contaminants.

Can A Gas Water Heater Sit On Wood?  

Yes, a gas water heater can sit on the wood. but it’s not advisable to sit on it.

Should the tank develop a leak, the water will run down the wood, and if this goes for a prolonged period, it will weaken the wood.

At this moment, you will find your gas water heater tank leaning on one side because of the damaged wood and the tank’s weight becoming too much for the wood to hold.

As much as one can put a drain pan under the wood, the effect on the wood will still be there as the leaking water will flow through it.

So, it’s not advisable to have your water heater sit on the wood, especially your gas water heater. 

Is It Okay To Lay A Water Heater Down?

It’s not okay to lay down your water heater. However, there are situations in which one needs to transport the water heater maybe but on its side.

When the water heater is laid on its side, it needs to be well protected because the metal casing could be damaged, or the glass lining can creak or break.

So, when moving your water heater on its side, here is what you need to do;

Before anything, ensure the water heater is turned off, you should turn off the breaker switch to the water heater.

Next, you will turn off the water supply and then drain the tank afterwards. Now, disconnect the water pipe and the electric supply, then drain the tank completely.

After doing all that, move the tank carefully to the vehicle and transport it to its new location.

Nonetheless, it’s advisable always to have your water heater sited in an upright position instead of laying it on its side to avoid damaging the tank.       

When you lay down a water heater on its side, you should have it padded well not to damage the metal casing or the glass lining.

Having the proper equipment and taking the necessary precaution will help your transport your water heater on its side safely.   

What Should I Put Under My Water Heater?

One must install a drip pan under the tank to accumulate any water that leaks from the water tank.

In most cases, drain pans are usually installed underwater heaters, depending on the location of the water heater.

Most water heaters installed in the attic or the ceiling space require a drain pan placed beneath them.

Whereas those installed in garages do not require a drain pan in several states. To add to it, the drain pan will need a drainpipe installed to drain the water to the house’s exterior.

You require a drain pan installed under your water heater because of the damage that leaking water can cause to the water heater.

Th size of the drain pan should not be less than 1 1/2 inches, an equivalent of 38 mm, in-depth.

The drain pan should also be big enough to receive all the condensed water from the tank and the dripping water from a leak. 

Let’s take this scenario, you have installed your water heater in your attic, and it gets a leak, the water will flow down the walls.

If the leak is major, you will need to ensure that there is no damage to the walls by the water hence the need for a drain pan.

If you do not have a drain pan and the leak continues for a prolonged period, it will affect the wall’s load-bearing and could lead to it getting damaged or, even worse, collapsing.

When choosing a pan to place under your water heater, you should consider the following;

The material of the pan should be made of aluminium for durability, and the size of the pan also matters. 

Should There Be Water In The Pan Under My Water Heater?  

No. There shouldn’t be any water in your drain pan. If you look at your drain pan and find some water in it, it means there is a leak in the water heater.

The work of the water heater pan is to capture the little water leaking from the water heater and drain it safely until repairs are done.

It’s advisable always to make regular checks to see any leakage or moisture from the tank. Most would term the drain pan as insurance against any water damage.

If your water heater is in mint condition, then the drain pan should always remain dry, and if the water heater has an issue, you will always find a wet drain pan.  

Some of the reasons why you could be having water in your drain pan are; 

A broken drain valve. Drain valves are usually located under the water heater tank, where they can work efficiently without any interference.

So, if you check your water heater and notice water leaking from the nozzle at the bottom of your water heater, it could be because of a broken drain valve.

Should you tighten the nozzle but the leak continues, it means that the drain valve is faulty and requires replacement immediately. 

Another reason for water leaking from your water heater tank could be damage to the hot water tank.

After a while of water collection in your tank, some sediments will start forming at the base of your tank, and these can cause internal damage to the water tank.

These sediments might be too concentrated that it corrodes the metal and cracks it, making it develop a leakage.

If this is the cause of the leakage from your water heater tank, you will need to replace the entire water heater. 

Are Short Water Heaters More Efficient?

Yes, short water heaters are more efficient. Compared to tall water heaters, they are energy efficiency.

Using a short water heater helps you reduce the cost of energy used and consume less water.

Another thing with short water heaters is that they give you the fastest GPM count compared to tall water heaters.

Usually, short water heaters can hold up to 50 gallons of water and are usually between 30 to 49 inches tall.

Fifty gallons of water is enough water to serve at most four people in a household, which is quite enough water.

Short water heaters also deliver a huge amount of hot water on the first draw because of the wider vessel.

They allow more draw of hot water before the incoming cold water stratifies the whole hot water tank. 

Can A Water Heater Sit Directly On The Floor?

Yes, you can place a water heater directly on the floor. A gas water heater can sit directly on the floor if it is flammable vapor ignition resistant (FVIR).

Well, not all water heaters will function efficiently when placed directly on the floor.

For instance, a GE Gas water heater cannot be installed directly on the floor because of the pilot flame installed beneath the water tank.

The pilot flame can be a source of fire ignition when it comes into contact with flammable liquid like spilled motor oil.

Should Hot Water Heaters Sit On The Floor?

So, it’s advisable to have your GE Gas water heater raised because of the ignition mechanism installed under the tank.

Water heaters are only required to be raised if they use an ignitable source of fuel to function; if not, you can place them directly on the floor.

If you have an electric water heater, you do not have to raise it; the water heater can sit directly on the floor as long as the area is always dry and clean off the dust. 


A water heater is an essential household appliance in any given home. A standard water heater tank will take a lifespan of 8 to 12 years of efficient functionality.

There are three types of water heaters; a heat pump water heater, a tankless water heater, and a standard tank water heater.

The most commonly used water heater is the standard tank water heater for its storage ability to provide water for the bathroom showers and faucet.

It’s usually recommended to have your water heater elevated from the ground to at least 18 inches for various reasons and mostly for safety concerns.

Another thing your water heater should always have is a drain pan installed under them to drain any leakage from the tank in the drain pan and to the building’s exterior.

Drain pans help avoid accidents caused by the accumulated water under the leaking water heater tank.

All in all, water heaters are vital to our day-to-day household activities, keeping the water warm at all times.  


Hi! I I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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