Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Why is there a naked water heater in my crawl space?

     Necessity is the Mother of Invention----Frank Zappa knew that.

     In a recent crawl space I came across one of the most BIZARRE examples of where someone took the concept WAY too far.

     The house was a very small house.  In small houses I often see the heating systems and water heaters installed in the attic and/or crawl space in order to not take up space in the house.  In this case they decided to put the water heater in the crawl space---unfortunately it would not fit----at least it wouldn’t fit the way it came from the factory.

     Someone figured out that if they took the metal covering and insulation off the inner tank they could get the thing in the crawl space (Wonder what that did to the warranty?).  When I found the heater it was sitting there naked as a shaved squirrel.

     The interesting thing is there was evidence that they had created a chicken wire enclosure around the heater and stuffed insulation between the chicken wire and the tank.  Most of the wire and insulation was long gone---carted away by the long standing rodent infestation in the crawl space.  In this first picture you can see the white insulation and the chicken wire still wrapped around the bottom of the tank.

Naked water heater

     The most positive aspect of the “installation” is that it was not functional at the time of inspection.  The white rectangular box to the right side of the tank is the cover for the electrical connections and heating element thermostats.  This next picture shows the thermostats and some of the wiring. 

Naked as a shaved squirrel

     One can only marvel at what the completed installation must have looked like.  Perhaps it doubled as a rodent control device with all that exposed wiring.

     People will do amazing things to keep themselves in hot water. 


Charles Buell


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Comment balloon 38 commentsCharles Buell • December 28 2009 07:28PM
Why is there a naked water heater in my crawl space?
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