Water Heater Pros | Water Heater Installation Code Information in Sacramento, California

Code Requirements 
Water Heaters

THE PLUMBING CODE IS QUITE EXTENSIVE, PARTS OF THE CODE THAT MOSTLY APPLIES TO EXISTING WATER HEATER REPLACEMENTS IN THE SACRAMENTO,

YOLO & PLACER COUNTIES ARE SHOWN BELOW:

 

 

CALIFORNIA PLUMBING CODE (CPC)

CHAPTER 5 (501.0, REV 2016)

PERMIT REQUIREMENT (502.1)

It shall be unlawful for a person to install, remove, or replace or cause to be installed, removed, or replaced a water heater without obtaining a permit from the Authority Having Jurisdiction to do so. Some areas of California do not require a permit.

WATER HEATER LOCATION (504.1)

Gas atmospheric water heaters are not approved to be installed in bedrooms, bathrooms, or closets except direct vent type water heaters. This plumbing code regulation prevents the potential harm or death of humans and animals that may breath trace amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO) released from the gas water heater exhaust vents.

SEISMIC - EARTHQUAKE PROTECTION (507.2)

California is in an earthquake zone there are specific safety requirements for how water heaters must be protected from possible seismic activity. Storage type tank units are required to have a certified restraint at the top and bottom thirds of the tank. Inspectors in California enforce this regulation.

 

FLUE VENT SYSTEM (507.16)

Every gas water heater has a flue vent system. Some gas water heaters have a power vent but the most traditional tank water heaters have a metal vent that attaches to the top of the unit to disperse the carbon monoxide created by the gas being burned to heat the water. Vents must be installed a minimum length of 5'-0" from top of water heater to rooftop termination cap, and in a specific manner per the CPC (California Plumbing Code) for your safety. Depending on the type of vent there must be a certain amount of clearance from the vent to any flammable or combustible surfaces (usually 1"). Vents must also terminate in an approved mannor. During our onsite assessment we will inspect the venting system and alert you to any pre-existing issues that must be addressed.

 

FRESH AIR FOR COMBUSTION (506.2)

The CPC has specific requirements for air combustion, ventilation and dilution of flue gases. A sufficient amount of fresh air is required for a gas water heater to function properly. Depending on the location of the water heater there are a variety of approved remedies for a lack of combustion air, fresh air vents may be required, louvered doors and/or other means of providing fresh air will be recommended if it is noted there is a lack of fresh air for your water heater.

 

DRIP PANS & DRAIN PIPES (507.5)

For water heaters located in an area where water damage can occur, or an inside location, in an attic or 2nd floor where water leakage could cause damage to your home, a drip pan with a drain pipe running to an approved location (usually the exterior) is required.

 

TEMPERATURE & PRESSURE (T&P) SAFETY VALVE (505.2)

The CPC requires the T&P valve (temperature & pressure) safety relief valve to have a full size drain that is piped to an approved location (usually the exterior) or to an approved floor drain or fixture. This is to prevent accidental scalding and damage when the T/P relief valve opens and releases hot scalding water due to high temperatures or excessive pressures. This code requirement is being enforced in all counties.

 

ELECTRIC QUICK DISCONNECT (508.2.2)

Required for all electric water heaters, usually a 30 amp quick disconnect. A readily accessible electrical disconnecting means must be within sight of the electric water heater, that will completely de-energize the electric water heater.

 

WATER HEATER WATER SHUT OFF VALVE: 

A water shut off valve is required at the hot water heater. The shut off valve allows the water to be turned off on the cold water supply to the tank when necessary, while allowing the rest of the home to maintain normal water usage. We recommend and install a brass ball valve shut off.

 

GAS SHUT OFF VALVE REPLACEMENT:

All existing flared gas valves (valve with a gas flex attached) must be replaced with an inline type gas valve, the CPC does not approve this old style configuration any longer.

 

GAS SEDIMENT TRAP:

The gas sediment trap must be replaced and the new sediment trap reconfigured to meet current CPC regulations. A gas sediment trap is generally required by the water heater manufacturers. Water heater pros installs all water heaters to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, and the CPC plumbing code.

 

EXPANSION TANK: 

The CPC now requires an expansion tank on all closed loop plumbing systems. A closed loop plumbing system is a system that has a back-flow preventer and or a backflow devise (check valve) installed between the house and water meter. Note: newer water meters now come equipped with a check valve (a closed loop system is then established). When water is heated it can increase in volume up to 4% causing pressure to build up within the plumbing system, effecting common plastic solenoid valves and other plumbing components.  The pressure build up can also lead to the T&P valve on the water heater to open and releasing hot water. Expansion tanks are designed to absorb the excess pressure and extend the life of your water heater and plumbing system. 

 

WATER PIPE INSULATION:

The first 5 feet of hot & cold water pipes are required to be insulated if they are exposed in a unconditioned space. We install insulation on piping as required by the California Plumbing Code and also to help with energy efficiency.

 

ELECTRIC BONDING: 

Bonding of the hot cold water piping and gas piping with 6 AWG wire gauge, wire and grounding clamps will successfully ground all the pipes. This will prevent degraded wires from energizing your pipes which could lead to electrical issues.

 

REDUCED PRESSURE REGULATORS:

Water pressure exceeding 80 PSI will void most water heater manufacturer’s warranties. When we replace your water heater, we test your water pressure and let you know what your PSI is. If your PSI exceeds 80 PSI a working reduced pressure regulator is required. If you have a regulator that is failing it must be replaced with a new working regulator. Very high water pressure can damage your pipes, fixtures, faucets and solenoid valves, such valves are located in washing machines and refridgerators.

APPLICABLE BUILDING CODES:

All work shall comply with the following codes:

2019 California Fire Code

2019 California Building Code
2019 California Existing Building Code

2019 California Electrical Code

2019 California Plumbing Code

2019 California Mechanical Code
2019 California Green Building Code
2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

GENERAL CODE REQUIREMENTS: (CPC 507.24)
Installer shall leave the manufacturer’s installation, operating, and maintenance instructions in a location on the premises, readily available for reference and guidance to the inspector, service personnel, and the owner or operator. All pipe, pipe fittings, traps, fixtures, material, and devices used in a plumbing system shall be listed or labeled by an approved listing agency. Listed water heaters shall be installed in accordance with their listings and the manufacturer’s instructions.

INSTALL LOCATION REQUIREMENTS:
GARAGE: Water heaters in a garage shall be elevated so the pilot light and controls are at least 18" above the garage floor surface (unless the unit is listed as flammable vapor ignition resistant).

Note: (CPC 507.13) When installed in residential garages, appliances shall be located or protected so they are not subject to physical damage by a moving vehicle.

 

BEDROOM, BATHROOM, BEDROOM CLOSET: The water heater shall be located in a closet provided with a listed self-closing, gasketed door and all combustion air shall be obtained from outdoors. The water heater closet shall not be used for any other purpose.

 

OUTDOORS: (CPC 507.25) Water heaters installed outdoors shall be listed for outdoor installation or provided with protection to the degree the environment requires and shall be installed in accordance with its listing.

 

ATTICS: (CPC 507.5) Water heaters installed in attics, attic-ceiling assembly, floor-ceiling assembly, or floor-subfloor assembly where damage results from a leaking water heater, a water-tight pan of corrosion-resistant materials shall be installed beneath the heater with not less than a 3⁄4 inch drain to an approved location. The end of the drain should be in a location that will draw attention to the need for determining the cause of the leak.

 

GAS CONNECTORS: (CPC 1212.0)

□ Listed flexible gas connectors in compliance with CSA Z21.24, Standard for Connectors for Gas Appliances may be used if installed in accordance with their listing. Connectors must be located completely in the same room as the appliance.

 

GROUNDING AND BONDING: (CEC 250.104)

□ Metal water (hot and cold) and gas piping systems installed in or attached to a building or structure shall be bonded to the service equipment enclosure, the grounded conductor at the service, the grounding electrode conductor where of sufficient size, or to the one or more grounding electrodes used in accordance with the CEC.

 

COMBUSTION AIR: (CPC 506)

□ Combustion air must be maintained per the CPC. When the appliance is located in an unconfined space (e.g. garage) the combustion air can be used from that area. When located in a closet, combustion air must be provided at a minimum of two openings (one within 12” of the top of the water heater and one within 12” of the bottom) sized at 100 square inches each.

 

PRESSURE REGULATOR: (CPC 608.2)

□ Where the water pressure is in excess of 80 psi, an approved type pressure regulator preceded by an adequate strainer shall be installed. The regulator and strainer shall be accessible, protected from freezing, and shall have the strainer readily accessible for cleaning without removing the regulator or strainer body or disconnecting the supply piping.

BSD-226 Submittal Req. - Residential Gas Water Heaters Updated: 05/14/2020 (hluu) Page 2

      

RELIEF VALVES: (CPC 505.1, 504.6, 608.3)

  • □  All storage water heaters shall have an approved, listed, adequately sized combination pressure and temperature relief valve.

  • □  The installation of temperature, pressure, and vacuum relief devices or combinations thereof, and automatic gas shutoff devices, shall be installed in accordance with their listings and the manufacturer’s instructions. A shutoff valve shall not be placed between the relief valve and the water heater or on discharge pipes between such valves and the atmosphere.

  • □  Discharge from a relief valve into a water heater pan shall be prohibited.

 

SEISMIC STRAPS: (CPC 507.2)

□ Water heaters require two seismic straps; one located within the top 1/3 of the water heater unit and one at the bottom 1/3. The bottom strap must be located at least 4" away from the water heater controls.

 

VENTING: (CPC 509, 510)

□ All vent piping that runs through ceilings, floors, or walls shall be double-wall metal pipe. The vent and the water heater must maintain clearance from combustible materials (such as wall framing or roofing) as required by the manufacturer, which is typically 1" minimum. The vent shall terminate a minimum 1’ (12”) above the roof, be installed with flashing through the roof, and terminate in a listed and approved vent cap. Vents shall also terminate a minimum of 3’ above any building opening (door, operable window, etc.) within 3’ of the termination. Venting shall extend in a generally vertical direction with offsets not exceeding 45 degrees, except one 60 degree offset is permitted. Vents may require additional supports depending on the material and design.

 

SEDIMENT TRAP: (CPC 1210.6.2, 1212.9)

□ A sediment trap shall be installed on the gas line downstream of the appliance shut-off valve and as close to inlet of the equipment as practical.

  

BSD-226 Submittal Req. - Residential Gas Water Heaters Updated: 05/14/2020 

 

TANKLESS WATER HEATERS:

  • □  Tankless water heaters shall be listed by an approved testing agency (UL, UPC, etc.) and be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements. Category II stainless venting material and larger gas supply lines may be required based on the manufacturer’s specifications/recommendations.

  • □  Additional information/permits may be required. Check with Plans and Permits division for more information.

INSPECTIONS:
Final inspection is required after all the work has been completed. PROPERTY OWNER shall complete and give to the inspector at final, the “Affidavit Self-Certification for Compliance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors” form, verifying that they have installed the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their home/property.

WATER-

 HEATERS