How to Raise a Water Heater off the Floor

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on March 31, 2023

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how to raise your water heater off the floor

Are you wondering how to raise your water heater off the floor? Both electric and gas water heaters benefit when raised off the floor.

And in most cases, gas water heaters must be lifted to meet certain building code requirements (Make sure that it is raised not less than 18 inches above the garage floor).

In this PlumbingNav guide, you will learn how to raise a water heater off the floor yourself (or with the help of some handy muscle).

What's In This Guide?

      Should a Water Heater Be Lifted Off the Floor?

      Keeping your water heater raised off the floor will minimize damage caused by flooding, or excessive moisture on the floor. Water damage will cause rust and other corrosion which will reduce the lifespan of the tank.

      More importantly, it makes your home safer. Gas water heaters have an open flame for the pilot light. This can potentially start a fire if flammable materials get too close. Lifting a gas water heater will minimize potentially serious hazards. 

      Learn Building Codes For Your Area

      Your town will have building codes detailing how your water heater must be installed. These codes vary depending on where you live. You can find these by calling your local building department.

      You can also check out the Uniform Plumbing Code for additional information. These requirements for lifting a water heater are for your safety so please follow them.

      The location of the water heater in your home also matters. Places with a high likelihood of containing combustible materials or those that experience regular flooding, such as the garage or basement, will have stricter requirements. 

      The requirements will also vary depending on whether you have a gas or electric water heater. 

      Which leads us to…

      Before You Lift: Examine Your Current Water Heater 

      As long as you’re going to get up close and personal with your water heater, it’s a good idea to examine whether you have a water heater issue.  Here are a few things to check for:

      • Type of water heater (gas or electric)?
      • Excessive rust or other corrosion?
      • Any visible leaks?
      • Pressure relief valve functional?
      • Learn the code requirements in your area (you can find these by calling your local building department).

      In short, if your water heater is not looking good, it might require a water heater repair before going to the trouble. And it might be time to consider a new water heater. If everything looks ok, read on.

      Here’s a video walkthrough you might find helpful if you’re lifting a water heater by yourself. 

      Lifting a Water Heater

      Here is a step-by-step guide to help you raise your water heater off the floor and onto an appropriate platform. 

      Step 1: Turn Off Heating Mechanism 

      Whether it’s a gas water heater or electric water heater, make sure you find the ignition source and turn it off. If electric, find the breaker in the main service panel and turn off. Always think safety.

      This includes turning off the cold water supply.

      Step 2: Gather Supplies

      You will need several items to get the job done. Get the following items ready before getting started:

      Platform

      You need an approved water heater stand for a hot water tank. It must be able to hold the weight of the water heater (when filled with water they weigh a lot)!

      If you cannot find a prefabricated one, or you want a better option, we recommend a concrete platform which is corrosion proof. This is a low cost way for lifting a water heater off the floor.

      You can either buy a platform or create your own. If you make your platform, make sure to use approved materials and make sure the platform is perfectly level. A tilted water heater can create a hazard in your home. 

      Your building codes might allow concrete blocks or bricks for you to build the platform. Metal platforms might also be available. But don’t use wood.

      And don’t forget a drain pan.

      You will need various hand tools for this job. Plumbing wrenches, pliers, channel locks, and screwdrivers.

      Don’t forget an extra pair of hands (or two)!

      Step 3: Drain Water Heater 

      Draining your water heater will make it lighter and easier to lift. In fact, this is necessary.

      To drain a water heater, attach a water hose to the tank drain outlet at the bottom of the unit. Secure the connection and put the other end of the hose by the floor drain.

      Next, turn on a hot water faucet in your home. This allows air to enter the hot water pipes. 

      Finally, open the drain valve slowly and allow the tank to drain completely. 

      Step 4: Disconnect Water Heater

      Disconnect any pipes connected to the hot water heater, including the water supply and natural gas. Also remove any obstructions in the area. You want plenty of room when you lift the water heater. Safety first!

      If a gas water heater, you will have to disconnect the natural gas line. This line is under pressure. If you don’t have experience with this, please leave it to a plumber or HVAC professional.

      Step 5: Lift Water Heater Onto Platform 

      Now you’re ready to lift the water heater onto the new platform. While tools are available to allow one person to lift the water heater, it is highly recommended you recruit the help of another person. 

      There are three ways to lift your water heater: using a strap, a water heater lift, or manually. Two popular methods are using a strap system or using a ramp method. 

      Water Heater Strap

      You can buy water heater straps at just about any hardware store. First, attach the magnetic handles to the water tank. You will place the strap on the handle. Tighten the strap, and the strap will allow you to lift a 200 lb. water heater by yourself. 

      Caution: This is dangerous, and could cause injury to your back and/or your water heater if you drop it.

      Water Heater Lift

      If you have access to a water heater lift rig, this provides the simplest solution. You will simply place the lift under the water heater and mechanically lift it. Most lifts also come with straps to keep the water heater secure. 

      Manual Lift

      If you choose to lift the water heater manually, you will need to enlist help. Water heaters are heavy, even when empty. You need to be careful where you place your hands to protect the water heater and yourself. 

      Please be careful. You should not use this option unless it’s absolutely necessary. 

      did you know_how to raise your water heater off the floor

      Pro Tip: While you’re moving it, add a drip pan. You place a drain Pan under the water heater. If the tank leaks, it will protect the platform, your floor, and the base of the unit.

      Step 6 : Reconnect Water Heater 

      Now that the water heater sits on the platform you need to reconnect it. Basically you will reverse the procedure you used to disconnect it.

      Now Reinstate Power and Test Water!

      Turn on the heating mechanism of the water heater again. Wait a couple of hours and check the water to make sure it’s hot. 

      Final Thoughts for Lifting a Water Heater the Right Way

      Always be careful when lifting a water heater. Make sure you have the proper knowledge and experience. There’s more to it than it might seem, and there are various safety issues, as we’ve discussed.

      If the idea of essentially uninstalling and reinstalling your hot water heater seems a bit much, you can always contact your local plumber to provide this service for you. 

      And when it’s time for replacing your water heater, make sure the installation is up to code in your local area. 

      How to Lift a Water Heater: FAQ’s

      Should a water heater be off the floor?

      Yes, a water heater should be off the floor. It’s required by code in many places. It also helps to maintain the heater tank.

      How to lift a water heater into a pan?

      You lift a water heater onto a drip pan just like lifting a water heater. Follow the steps in the above article for more details. Or hire a professional to do it for you.

      How much does a water heater weigh?

      A water heater weighs “a lot!” Depending on the size and model, between 90 lbs and 200 lbs. So be prepared for some heavy lifting when raising it. There are tools specifically designed to help you accomplish this task. 

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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