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Gas Shut-off Valve Clearance

Brian G

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I looked at one yesterday where the gas shut-off was around the far side by the wall, with no more than 2 - 3 inches of room to reach around and try to operate it. You would practically have to hug the water heater to reach it. I assume there are code issues covering this; can someone tell me what they say?

Brian G.

Hug Your Kids, Not Your Water Heater [:-propeller]

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Bad News, It's a judgment call

If the tpr valve draining could hurt you while turning off the gas you could call it out as a safety issue. The 2000 IRC is pretty silent in the issue. it states

G2419.5 (409.5) Equipment shutoff valve.

Each appliance shall be provided with a shutoff valve separate from the appliance. The shutoff valve shall be located in the same room as the appliance, not further than 6 feet from the appliance, and shall be installed upstream from the union, connector or quick disconnect device it serves. Such shutoff valves shall be provided with ready access.

The Fuel gas section of the code describes "Ready Access" as

READY ACCESS (TO) That which enables a device, appliance or equipment to be directly reached, without requiring the removal or movement of any panel, door or similar obstruction.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

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Ellen darling, I knew you couldn't stay away. It's my animal magnetism, isn't it?

Thanks for the tip, that'll help. I doubt if they will move it anyway, but that's not my concern. If it ain't right, say it ain't right.

Brian G.

The Camel in Carmel [:D]

P.S. Possible alternatives

The Female in Fusia

The Mistress in Magenta

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Originally posted by hausdok

Careful Brian,

I hear Frank is as big as Shaq and twice as mean. [:-mischievous]

Big & mean...bah! Unless he can beat my time in the 40 and hit a fast zig-zagging target, I have nothing to fear but being cornered. [:-sour] [:-gnasher]

Besides, Ellen adores me...I'm sure she'll plead him to a stop by the fourth or fifth broken bone. [:-fight]

Right Ellen? [-crzwom]

Brian G.

Once Known as "Crazy Legs" [:-bonc01]

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Originally posted by E. Burns


You sure are confident.

If by "confident" you mean "totally full of it", you are correct. And just think, my wife has lived with this every day for 10 years....lucky girl! I remind her when she forgets. [:D]

I wish more of our ladies would participate. Mike says they're wandering around in here somewhere, but they don't speak. [:-taped] Hey I promise not to flirt with anyone who so desires, just put (NF) in your first post someplace.

Flirting is considered a natural part of the art of conversation here, nobody reads anything into it unless they have reason to. Little ole' ladies are my favorite, they get such a bang out of it. Put your arm around a little 'ole lady you know and tell her you're gonna leave your wife and run off with her, watch her light up. [:-bulb]

Brian G.

Live Till You Die, Don't Exist Until You Expire [:-party]

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally posted by E. Burns

Hi Brian:

From all the water heater installation manuals I have seen:

The manual gas shut-off valve should be at least 5 feet above the floor and readily accessible for turning on or off.

All show a typical installation diagram as well.

The lady in red.


I'm not sure that what your saying is correct. If so, then just about ALL of the 5000+ gas water heaters I've seen are wrong.

I just went through several installation manuals (AO Smith, Rheem, Ruud, etc..), and NONE of them specify that the gas shut off should be 5' off the ground. The diagrams all show them (give or take) about 3' of the ground. I attached an example.

If you have a reference that you can upload, please do so. I would hate to see a bunch of inspectors calling out a defect that doesen't exist.

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif AO Smith Instruction Manual.pdf

551.42 KB

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Chris, my water heater is also a Ruud. It's an old one from 1989 (installed in '90).

Mike's comments are good ones. I asked one of my mechanical engineers about it yesterday and he too replied that if the valve leaked, then it was at least a LITTLE ways away from the burner in the water heater.

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I don't know if it's a rule. AO Smith and Rheem, don't require it from the manuals I've seen, Ruud is now part of Rheem (not sure when that happened)so I don't know if they still even require it.

Out here in AZ, virtually every house is the same (form say, 90' on) the WH is in the Garage. The gas stub is at around two feet off the floor. The valve is attached to the stub, the flex to the valve, and the controls to the flex. I've NEVER seen the gas at 5'! Could it be a regional thing?

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As a firefighter and inspector here in the NW, I don't readily see a reason for the 5' rule, nor have I ever actually seen one that high, except for a few in a basement with the gas line coming in from the ceiling.

As far as worring about a gas fume cloud 5' off the ground, if you have that much gas in a room or a house, you better know what you are doing before you go into that room and turn off the gas!

My new GE gas water heater doesn't say anything about 5' either. Good comparison about the other gas appliances, why single out water heaters?

Any more thoughts?

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Here is the response I got from A.O. Smith.

Please refer to the DISCUSSION THREAD section below for a summary of your recent request for assistance from A.O. Smith Water Products Company Technical E-Support.


[===> To respond:Click reply, then enter your response below this line. <===]

[===> Please enter your response above this line <===]

If your issue remains unresolved, please update this question here.


Question on Gas Heater.


Response (CHIP) 02/09/2004 05:45 AM

Th elocation of the main gas cutoff is primarily a local code issue as it has no affect on the operation of the heater.

If I get a response from Ruud I will post it.

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I spoke with a contractor today and mentioned the Ruud gas valve shut off 5 feet off the floor and asked him why he thought that was so.

He answered, with a corrosive atmosphere the valve may leak and therefor being 5 feet off the floor would keep it at a safer location then near the burn chamber.

What do you think? Had one yesterday a 1991 with the same instructions on site, Ruud manufacturer.

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