Best Water Heater Straps – 2021 Guide To Securing Your Tank

| Last Updated: June 29, 2021

A water heater is an essential appliance in our homes, but it can become a lethal projectile if you live in a seismic, hurricane, or tornado zone. 

These tanks weigh a considerable amount and having it fly around, not to mention the ruptured gas lines and electricity cables, is a horror too evil to contemplate. 

It is a simple DIY task to strap your water heater to a wall securely. In this article, we will look at how to do it and recommend some excellent kits for you to use.

Comparison of the Best Water Heater Straps

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Includes strap as well as all installation hardware
  • Supports large 80 gallon water heaters
  • Compliant with UPC, IAPMO, and IPC requirements
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  • Best for the Money
  • Comes with all necessary installation hardware
  • Wide variety of residential and commercial uses
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  • Best Water Heater Earthquake Strap
  • Soft straps will not cause cuts or injuries during installation
  • Reusable, heat and fire resistant, and long-lasting
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  • Adjustable to fit heaters up to 55 gallons
  • Includes a a full kit for installation
  • Durable galvanized steel make
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What to Consider Before Buying Water Heater Straps

Water heater straps are a commodity not often considered by the homeowner, but they are an important part of your home’s safety equipment. 

Material

Water heater straps are made of different materials, with fabric and galvanized steel being the two most common. Both materials are solid and will hold the water heater firmly in place. If you are using fabric straps, ensure that they are fire, water, and rot-resistant. 

Galvanized steel belts are rust and water-resistant. Try to avoid drilling any extra holes in galvanized straps as this destroys the protective coating, and they may start to rust.

Check your local municipal requirements to ensure there are no specific requirements you must adhere to before buying your straps.

Length

Ensure that you check the size of your water heater before purchasing straps. The most common size of water heater is 55 gallons.  However, there are both larger and smaller models on the market, so ensure that you purchase the correct size to fit your heater snugly.

Check local requirements to ensure that you do not need to install the wrap-around type of strap. If you do, make sure you purchase straps that are long enough to wrap around your water heater.

Photo credit: martekrealestate.com

Installation

All straps are suitable for DIY installation but there are some things that the DIYer must consider. These include:

Compliance with UPC/IAPMO & IPC Requirements

These straps must comply with the requirements of:

  • The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is a set of requirements to ensure plumbing is correctly and safely installed.

  • The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) is a set of standards created and developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). This set of standards is accepted as the American National Standard.  

Fittings

Most straps come with all the necessary fittings to install the straps, but most assume that the straps will be installed into wooden studs. If you are fitting the straps into a brick or cement wall, check the fittings to ensure they are correct for a different type of construction.

You should also make sure that when the water heater is as far back as it can go there is no gap behind the heater. If you can rock the water heater back and forth, it will come loose in a weather event and tip over. In these circumstances, blocks of 2X4 must be fixed behind the water heater to stop the rocking. 

Plumber’s Tape is not suitable to strap a water heater securely.

Review of the Best Water Heater Straps 

Many water heater straps are available in the market, but we have selected some of the best straps in various categories.

Best Overall

John Guest QS-50-D

John Guest QS-50-D QS 50-D water heater strap, 80 gallon, Aluminum

Specifications

UPC/IAPMO & IPC Compliance: Yes

Length: 80 gallon tank

Material: Steel

Fire Resistance: Yes

DIY Installation: Yes

Warranty: Lifetime

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Review

This strap will meet the requirements for all insurance companies and the law. This certification means you can trust that the belt will hold your water heater securely through most incidents.

The kit comes complete with two belts and all the fasteners required to attach it to the wall. 

The clear diagrams accompanying the belts are easy to follow, and any DIY handyman will be able to follow the clear step-by-step instructions on how to fit the straps securely. The straps adjust at the front, so it is easy to ensure a tight fit to hold the water heater securely in place.

Bottom Line

This is a  tough set of straps that will secure your water heater through seismic or weather incidents. They are a quality product that meets all the legal codes and are simply for any handyman to fit.

Pros

Lifetime warranty

Straps fit an 80-gallon tank

Adjustment is at the front to ensure a snug fit

These straps comply with the IPC and UPC codes

Manufactured from steel to support the weight of an 80-gallon tank

DIY installation with clear diagrams for installation and no sharp edges to cause injury

Cons

Not a wrap-around strap

Best for the Money

Holdrite QB-50-F

Holdrite QB-50-F QuickStrap Water Heater Strap, Soft Belt, Gray

Specifications

UPC/IAPMO & IPC Compliance: Yes

Length: 80 gallon tank

Material: Fabric with steel clasps

Fire Resistance: Yes

DIY Installation: Yes

Warranty: Lifetime

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Review

This strap comes from a trusted source and will meet all insurance companies’ requirements and the law. The manufacturer guarantees the belt will support the water heater through seismic and weather incidents. There are two belts and all the anchor bolts required to ensure a safe installation. 

There are instructions included in the kit showing where the anchor should be placed and how to install the straps. The straps adjust at the front, so it is easy to ensure a tight fit. Users must ensure that the locking device is put in place, otherwise, the belt can come loose.

Bottom Line

This is a  high-quality set of straps that are certified to hold an 80-gallon tank secure through most incidents. They meet all the legal codes and are simple for any handyman to fit.

Pros

Lifetime warranty

Straps wrap around an 80-gallon tank

Belts close with a metal clasp at the front

It will support the weight of an 80-gallon tank

These straps comply with the IPC and UPC codes

DIY installation with instructions included in the pack

Manufactured from material similar to that found in seat belts

Cons

Buckle edges are sharp and can cause scratches to the unwary

The clasp at the front must be bent over to secure the strap or  it will come loose

Best Water Heater Earthquake Strap

Firefighter FR80

Firefighter FR80 Soft Belt Style Water Heater Earthquake Strap Up to 80 Gal

Specifications

SUPC/IAPMO & IPC Complianc: Yes

Length: 80 gallon tank

Material: Fabric with steel clasps

Fire Resistance: Yes

DIY Installation: Yes

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Review

This strap comes from a company that produces a line of products by firefighters so that the quality will be unquestioned. The fabric is water, rot, and fire-resistant, so the strap will stay in place through most household accidents and incidents. The belts meet all the legal and insurance company requirements. 

There are two belts and all the anchor bolts required to ensure a safe installation. There are instructions included in the kit showing where the anchor should be placed and how to install the straps.    

The straps adjust at the front, so it is easy to ensure a tight fit.  However, several users said they were confused by the buckles, which have two loose metal bars that can be hidden. The instructions do help, and there are videos to help with the installation.

Bottom Line

This is a  high-quality set of straps from a company producing equipment for firefighters. They will hold an 80-gallon tank secure and have all their installation hardware provided. They meet all the legal codes and are simple for any handyman to fit.

Pros

Lifetime warranty

Water, rust, and rot proof

Manufactured from soft material

Straps wrap around an 80-gallon tank

Belts close with a metal clasp at the front

DIY installation with instructions included in the pack

These straps comply with the IPC and UPC codes as well as the California and Los Angeles Architect Certification

Cons

The two metal bars in the buckle may confuse some users as they can be difficult to find

Editor’s Pick

Everflow GWHSE55

Everflow GWHSE55 Seismic Water Heater Restraining Strap, Galvanized Steel, 55 gallon

Specifications

SUPC/IAPMO & IPC Complianc: Yes

Length: 55 gallon tank

Material: Galvanised Steel

Fire Resistance: Yes

DIY Installation: Yes

Warranty: Lifetime

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Review

These metal straps will hold your water heater tightly to the wall in the event of an earthquake or any other weather incident. They meet all the legal and insurance requirements, and their quality is apparent. 

The kit contains two belts and all the anchor hardware required to ensure a safe installation. If you are installing into a concrete or brick wall, you may need additional hardware. The pack contains all the instructions in diagram form to ensure the straps are correctly installed.     

The straps adjust at the front, making it easy to ensure a tight fit. As these are not made of fabric, the front fasteners require a nut and bolt to pull them tight against the water heater’s drum. 

Bottom Line 

This is a high-quality set of metal straps that will not rust or rot. There is plenty of straps provided to secure a 55-gallon tank properly. They meet all the legal codes and are simple for any handyman to fit.

Pros

Lifetime warranty

Water, rust, and fireproof

Manufactured from galvanized steel

These straps comply with the IPC and UPC codes

DIY installation with instructions included in the pack

Cons

More expensive

Watts E-25

Watts E-25 Water Heater Earthquake Straps, 80-Gallon, Wrap Around

Specifications

5

SUPC/IAPMO & IPC Complianc: Yes

Length: 80 gallon tank

Material: Steel

Fire Resistance: Yes

DIY Installation: Yes

Warranty: 1 Year

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Review

This high-quality product will hold your 80-gallon tank very securely through most hazardous circumstances. It meets all the legal and insurance requirements. There are four belts within the kit, along with pre-assembled self-tapping lag bolts that screw directly into the wall studs. 

Fitting these wrap-around straps is a task that any DIY handyman can accomplish with household tools, and the clear step-by-step instructions make the job simple to complete 

The straps connect with an easy-to-use buckle that ensures the straps can be tightly fitted, resulting in the water heater being held tightly in place. 

Bottom Line

A very high-quality set of steel straps, that if fitted correctly, will ensure a water heater is held tightly in place. These straps meet all the legal codes and are a quick fix for any DIY handyman.

Pros

Manufactured from steel

Backspacer included in the kit

Rust, mildew, and rot-resistant

Wrap around straps fit an 80-gallon tank

Adjustment is at the front to ensure a snug fit

These straps comply with the IPC and UPC codes

DIY installation with clear diagrams for installation

Cons

The strap is coiled tightly for packing and may spring open if not handled carefully

What Are Water Heater Straps? 

In simple terms, water heater straps are two metal or fabric bands installed to hold the water heater firmly in place in the event of an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or explosion. 

Water heaters weigh around 500 pounds and can do considerable damage if they fly around. Rupturing their gas lines or breaking the electrical connections can easily lead to fire, so the tank must be firmly anchored to prevent this from happening.

Do I Really Need Water Heater Straps?

If your home lies within Uniform Codes’ seismic zones 3 and 4, then it is a legal requirement that you install water heater straps. There may be no federal or other legal requirements in those states that fall outside of these zones, but check any local state and municipal regulations.

Apart from any legal requirement, installing these straps is a good safety measure for any home. Property damage and injuries are often caused by heavy objects falling, and this includes the water heater. 

Your heater is full of water, weighs a considerable amount, and being narrow and tall; it will topple over easily. Its sheer weight will cause damage, but in falling over, the gas and electrical connections will be broken, leading to fire risk.

In an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado zone, making sure the water heater tank remains upright and secure will also give the household access to fresh water after the incident, when the supply could be compromised.

Photo credit: activerain.com

What Are Water Heater Straps Made Of? 

As with any consumer product, water heater straps are made from different materials. 

Fabric

Many manufacturers use fabric similar to that used for motor vehicle safety belts. This fabric is extremely strong. In many cases, it is fire, water, and rot-resistant. Check the package to ensure that the material has these qualities to be sure the strap will not deteriorate over time.

These straps are also usually easy to install and don’t have sharp edges that can cause injury.

Steel

Steel straps are extremely strong and, if installed correctly, will not deteriorate in the lifetime of the house. Most belts are galvanized steel, and some have been painted to give a more attractive appearance. Care should be taken when unpacking this type of strap as it is often wound tightly for packaging and can spring open, potentially causing injury.

Are Water Heater Straps Universal? 

Water heater straps are not universal, and the package should be consulted to ensure that the correct length of the strap is purchased. Straps intended for an 80-gallon tank will easily fit a 55-gallon tank, but the reverse is not true.

Photo credit: eweb.org

States Requiring Strapped Water Heaters

Any state that falls within the Uniform Codes’ seismic zones 3 and 4 must install these straps, by law. These states include Alaska, California, and parts of Oregon, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming.

Some parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, British Columbia, Utah, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Missouri fall within the high-risk zone for earthquakes.

In addition to these states, if you have a Federal Housing Administration loan, you must strap your water heater irrespective of where you live.  

Conclusion

It makes sense from a safety point of view to install these straps, irrespective of whether it is a legal requirement or not. The choice to use fabric or steel straps is personal but ensure that the kit you chose fits your water heater and complies with UPC/IAPMO & IPC regulations.   

People Also Ask

Installation of these straps is a simple DIY task, but here are some frequently asked questions.

Do Water Heaters Need to Be Double Strapped?

Yes, water heaters must be double strapped. One strap should be positioned within the top third of the water heater and the second strap in the bottom third of the tank. Ensure the straps do not foul and lines for the gas burners.

How Do You Strap a Free-Standing Water Heater?

If there is no wall nearby in which you can drill, you will have to build a strong brace anchored to the floor.

A sturdy frame can be built up from the floor to the required height, and the water heater strapping is secured to this frame. If you live in a seismic zone, this installation will have to be approved. Alternatively, you can move the water heater closer to a wall. 

What Tools Do I Need to Install Water Heater Straps?

To install a fabric or steel set of straps, you will require:

The kit containing the straps

A tape measure

A hammer

An electric drill with a bit to fit the size of the wall screws

A screwdriver or wrench to fit the screws that go into the wall

Bracing blocks if the rear of the water heater is more than 2″ from the wall

Some means of locating the studs in the wall, if they cannot be seen

Gloves

Eye Protection



My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.