Water Heater up to Code

Water Heater up to Code

Have you considered the plumbing codes before the installation of the water heater? Is your water heater up to code? Plumbing codes exist for your safety. The installation guidelines should be followed, a permit should be sought, and an inspection should be permitted to avoid plumbing problems in the future. The possible accidents and injuries can occur if we do not comply to the latest and relevant safety codes. Earthquakes, fire, and other calamities may also damage our water heater if plumbing codes is taken for granted. Also, it may affect the future sale of the house. If there is a problem during the installation and it was not caught, it could affect the inspection and sale of the house.

The following are the safety codes that homeowners must follow:

For both electric and gas:

Safety Pan and Drain. Water heaters that are located to areas that leak can cause damage like a second floor, must have a safety pan and drain underneath. A galvanized steel pan with 24 gauge thickness, 1.5 inches deep or other pan that is approved for this purpose is required. The pan should be piped out to the ground surface or to any approved location. This will keep the tank from leaking and cause property damage.

Pressure and Temperature Relief Valve. Operating water heaters should have approved pressure and temperature relief valve. Temperature valve should be placed in the top 6 inches of the tank. There should no other valve installed between the tank and water heater than the temperature valve. Temperature setting should be up to 210 degrees F and the pressure setting should be set according to the water heater manufacturer’s rated working pressure.

P&T Discharge Piping. P&T relief line should not be piped directly to the drainage system. It should be discharge to the floor or ground surface. Piping to an approved location should be required to avoid personal injury or structural damage.

Seismic support. In an earthquake zone areas, water heaters should be designed and installed in accordance with the International Building Code. Water heaters shall be braced, anchored, or strapped to prevent it from falling or tilting due to earthquake motion.

Shutdown valve. A separate valve must be provided in accordance to the International Code Council Electrical Code – Administrative Provision to disconnect water heater system to the energy fuel supply.

For Gas only:
Venting – Adequate venting is required for a gas water heater. It should be vented safely to prevent Carbon Monoxide from leaking in your household. Carbon Monoxide poses a health danger to the family. So for safety, make sure your venting is installed properly. A one inch clearance between the vent pipe and combustible materials is required.

Stand – A stand to elevate the water heater is a must. Especially if it is located in the garage and any area that is exposed to combustible gases. Typically, it is elevated to 18 inches above the ground. Though most water heater have sealed combustion, some cities still required a stand to elevate the tank.

Sediment trap/Drip leg – It is a capped off section to protect the firing chamber from possible moisture and debris. A drip leg is placed on the gas line of a water heater close to the inlet. This is to ensure the safe operation of the water heater.

Union. A Union must be installed in the fuel supply line unless flexible pipe is used. An On/off valve must be installed near the water heater in the fuel line.

Bollard or barrier – This barrier is required if a water heater is in the direct way of a car. This is to protect the water heater from a possible knocking of the car or damage the gas line.


For Electric only:

Insulation. The bottom board is required to provide insulation and help to prevent heat loss out of the bottom of an electric tank. The heat loss must be limited to 15 Btu/hr.

It is best for the water heater to be checked and monitored periodically. This process should not be taken lightly because a possible life and death situation may occur out of our negligence. For our household safety, make sure your water heater is up to code.

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