Why the 18 Inch Rule Matters

The IRC states, “equipment and appliances having an ignition source shall be elevated such that the source of ignition is not less than 18 inches above the floor in hazardous locations… and private garages…” (IRC G2408.2)

The monthly test on your residential fire pump is about to take place. You drop the pressure which starts the pump. The contacts (which are an ignition source) inside the ventilated motor close, spark, and flash! An explosive gas that was congregated near the ground ignites. The motor did its job, starting when the pressure dropped, resembling a fire sprinkler head going off. The contacts sparked which is normal.  But the motor was on the garage floor surrounded by the heap of dust bunnies, dry leaves, other flotsam and jetsam that has been amassing around the fire system for the past year.  It was not elevated 18” off the floor as per the IRC. This would have prevented the fire entirely. 

This scenario has happened and caused house fires. When an ignition source such as a pressure switch, electric motor, electrical contacts, or anything else that can spark when energized, is installed in a garage, it must be elevated 18” off the floor. Talco’s Home Hydrant is the only residential fire pump system that elevates the motor and all other electrical ignition sources 18” off the floor.