Building Codes and Inspections/gas water heater


I live in SC and have to replace my gas water heater. I have been told that it has to be raised off the floor 18". With the heaters that help prevent accidental ignition of fumes is this still needed?

Unsealed flame producing appliances must be elevated in locations where the flame from the water heater has the possibility of igniting combustible vapors like gasoline, solvents, or propane, like in garages, for example. You need to check with your local municipal Code Official to determine what is required where you are. 18"-24" is usually the case.  Also, if the heater is in an unprotected location where it could be struck by a vehicle, then in a residence it many times has to be mounted 6 ft above the floor. Commercial regulations differ.

There are many placement and venting configurations that can be used.  In any case, the unit must be installed in accordance with it's listing, which will give very complete information on placement and venting requirements. The fuel source, natural gas or propane, also may have different regulations.

Good luck with your project!

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Keith Fuller


I'm an ICC Certified Master Code Professional fielding general building code questions. My experience has been heavy in fire related issues.


I've been employed since 1985 as an inspector and plan reviewer, and am a municipal Assistant Building Official and Deputy fire Marshal. I've had fire service experience since 1972, having served as a three time Fire Chief and Fire Marshal in years past. The increasing workload, mandatory certifications, and continuing education requirements in recent years have caused me to concentrate my efforts on code related issues. I hold national fire service certifications as well.

ICC Master Code Professional

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