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Securing the water heater


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Hello everybody,

I just replaced our 7 year old Suburban SW6DE water heater with a new unit (same model).  The old unit was mounted on a cradle of plywood with 2 short lengths of 2x2 screwed onto the plywood as chocks that press on each side of the bottom edge of the water heater. 

The new unit - also a SW6DE - is slightly smaller in diameter than the original unit.  It's the same 6 gallon capacity tank so I'm thinking the foam insulation must be a bit thinner on the new unit.

So, there is gap - about 3/8 inch total - between the chocks and side of the new water header which I have shimmed with some scrap wood and the fit is now snug in the cradle.

I was surprised that the old heater was not strapped down; it just sat in this cradle.  The only structural connection between the heater and the travel trailer were three long screws that passed through brackets on the heater door frame and screwed into the face of the heater's control housing.  I was not impressed with the heater just being secured by the three screws but that's the way it has ridden since we've had the trailer.

Are everyone's water heaters installed like this or are there some strapping or stronger brackets used? 



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I would agree with you on the surprise as it is fairly heavy when full of water too. Even so, it seems to be what all manufacturers have been doing for a long time and appears to work. When I did what you are now I considered tieing mine down but to do so might have crushed the foam under any strap and mine had been riding that way for nearly 10 years with most of that fulltime travel so I didn't modify it. 

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9 hours ago, chirakawa said:

My water heater weighs 100 lbs and is connected to rigid piping, not to mention the screws in the front.  The wedges keep it from sliding fore or aft.  I can't imagine it moving much.

I agree, and if one were to experience a roll-over or crash that did move the heater, it is the least of the resulting problems.

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