Finally, you should also be aware of the following retrofitting requirement: no matter how old your home is, California state law mandates that your water heater be braced or strapped to prevent it from falling over during a quake. See our Water Heater Bracing article for details. For further information, contact the Seismic Safety Division of the Department of Building Inspection at (415) 558-6196. Compliance with this law is checked during the sale of your home.
- What can you do to make your home more seismically sound?
There are a variety of different seismic strengthening measures you can take. The most effective one for your home depends on different factors, such as the age of the structure, its shape, height, material, location and age. A licensed engineer or architect experienced in retrofitting design will be able to craft the proper solution to your needs.
Bear in mind that structural retrofits can be extremely expensive. Make sure you’ve done your research and have explored the scope of any proposed project. It would be beneficial to read through the following resources before calling in the professionals:
- The Homeowner’s Guide to Earthquake Safety contains practical retrofit information, including descriptions of problem areas and average project costs. You should read through this guide even if you’re not currently selling your home.
- Strengthening Wood Frame Houses for Earthquake Safety is a convenient and accessible resource based on the Earthquakes: Be Prepared CD-ROM produced by the California Department of Commerce, Office of Strategic Technologies. Unfortunately, this product is not available online, but you may order it by mail by calling (510) 286-0895.
- Is Your Home Protected From Earthquake Disaster? A Homeowner’s Guide to Earthquake Retrofit, prepared by the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). This comprehensive online booklet contains detailed diagrams and methods for identifying and remedying seismic weaknesses.