If I have an existing electric or gas water heater in or accessible from the garage, must I raise it 18 inches above the floor level when it is replaced?
The codes have changed to prevent accidents. The water heater thermostat energizes the heating element when the water temperature within the tank falls below a certain selected level. At the instant the thermostat activates, a spark results. This spark is a source of ignition for flammable or combustible vapors that may have accumulated along the garage floor. The 18-inch elevation is intended to keep ignition sources above these vapors that are heavier than air and settle to the garage floor.

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12. If I have an existing electric or gas water heater in or accessible from the garage, must I raise it 18 inches above the floor level when it is replaced?