The simple answer is the permit is required so that an inspection can be done to make sure the water heater is installed properly, and that it does not create a hazard to the building occupants. … The answer is most likely, “Yes, a permit is required.”
This is as easy as heading down to the local planning or building department to ask for one. How much does a water heater permit cost? You’re only looking at $20 to $100 out of pocket, as opposed to several hundred dollars to call in a plumber.
If you prefer to apply for a permit on your own, you will be required to apply in person, or online at the Building Inspection Division of your local city. Once the permit has been pulled, it is valid for 180 days, after which you will be required to apply for a new permit.
A plumbing permit is required for the replacement of an existing water heater. Permits are required prior to installation or replacement of water heaters. The following are general requirements for water heater replacements based on the 2016 California Plumbing Code.
BUILDING INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS
A plumbing permit is required for the replacement of an existing water heater. Permits are required prior to installation or replacement of water heaters. The following are general requirements for water heater replacements based on the 2016 California Plumbing Code. This brochure is intended to provide general information, contact the Building Inspection Division for any questions or additional information.
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. (CPC 507.2) Several seismic strap kits are available commercially. Any platform supporting the water heater must be secured to the structure or the slab. Additional blocking at the water heater may be required to resist horizontal displacement.
Venting (CPC 509.6, 509.8, 509.10) – All vent piping that runs through ceilings, floors, or walls shall be double-wall metal pipe, unless specified otherwise in manufacturer’s installation instructions. 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’ 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 45o, except one 60o offset is permitted. Vents may require additional supports depending on the material and design.
Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve (CPC 608.5) – All water heaters have temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valves that are galvanized steel, hard-drawn copper, or CPVC. Each valve shall be drained to the exterior, terminate toward the ground maintaining between 6” and 24” of clearance from the ground, and point downward. The diameter of the valve opening (generally ¾”) must be maintained to the termination of the drain. Relief valve drains shall not terminate in a crawl space or an over-flow pan. No part of such drainpipe shall be trapped or subject to freezing, and the terminal end of the drain shall not be threaded. When approved by the Chief Building Official, such drain may terminate at other locations (i.e. laundry tub, floor sink, or floor drain).
Located in a Garage (CPC 507.13) – Water heaters located in a garage must 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). If subject to vehicular damage, adequate barriers must be installed (e.g. 4” diameter steel pipe filled with concrete installed in a footing measuring 12” in diameter and 3’ deep and extending a minimum of 2’9” above the finished floor).
Combustion Air (CPC 506) – Combustion air must be maintained per the California Plumbing Code. 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.
Sediment Trap (CPC 1211.8) – 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.
Tankless Water Heater – 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. NOTE: PG&E requires a minimum horizontal clearance of 36” between the gas meter and a tankless water heater when located on the same wall.
Building Permit Review
1. Building permit applications are available on-line at https://epermits.cccounty.us/citizenaccess or by fax or email www.cccounty.us/apc a permit can be obtained at the Application and Permit Center. Inspections
2. One final inspection is required after all work has been completed.