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Water Heater Installation Codes in California

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Your water heater is an important element of your home. But a water heater explosion or other malfunction could have serious consequences, which is why there are strict water heater installation codes in California and across the United States. So if you’re considering installing a water heater yourself, it’s important to be aware of the safety measures required, both to follow the legal procedures and to keep your home and family safe. 

Water Heater Installation Codes

There are several California water heater installation codes that you’ll want to take note of to help you maintain a safe water heater in your home. Some of the requirements are as follow (keep in mind, there could be more depending on your specific area):

Earthquake Straps

California, like much of the West Coast, is vulnerable to earthquakes. For this reason, water heaters must be fitted with earthquake straps to keep the appliance safely in place in the event of an earthquake. Earthquake straps should be fitted to both the top third and the bottom third of the water heater.

Expansion Tanks

Expansion tanks help prevent pressure spikes and leaks by absorbing excess pressure that can get built up within a water heater. When water is heated, it expands, therefore increasing the pressure inside the tank. If you have a Pressure Regulator or a Backflow Preventer, a Thermal Expansion Tank is required by code.

Water Pressure Regulator

Having a water pressure regulator is recommended for water heaters with pressure above 80 PSI. An increase in water pressure can happen as a result of population increases and could lead to a damaged water heater if it isn’t addressed.

Water Shutoff

If, for any reason you need to turn off the water or gas to your water heater, such as in the event of a leak, no hot water, or for maintenance, you need to have a working shut-off valve on both the incoming cold water line, as well as the gas line. By having working shut-off valves for your water heater, you’ll be able to shut it down without affecting the rest of your home. 

Drip Pans for Draining

A leaking water heater is a flood risk, but having a drip pan and drain underneath your unit can help prevent water damage in the event of a water heater leak.

P&T Valve

A P&T valve (pressure and temperature relief) should be piped to the outside of your home. The valve will release water if your water heater reaches either a temperature of 210°F or 150 PSI, which can be a signal that something is majorly wrong with your water heater. By connecting your heater to this release, you can prevent dangerous accidents that could happen if the extremely hot pressure were to be released in the home.

Where to Put Your Water Heater

The location of your water heater matters. Many people put their water heaters in the basement, garage, or in an outdoor enclosure, as this helps reduce the risk of potentially lethal CO poisoning. It should be installed somewhere safe and away from hazardous or explosive materials. Having easy access to your water heater is also important to make sure you can get to it in the event of a problem.

Do You Need a Permit to Replace a Water Heater in California?

Getting a water heater permit is essential, required by California law, and can be obtained from your local building and safety planning office. The permit acts as a request for inspection and can help to give you guidance on the appropriate codes for your area, as well as the installation itself. These permits can cost anywhere between $50 and $400. Secondary permits could be required in the event of some major work such as a renovation.

An inspector will come to check on the installation and make sure it has been done safely and correctly. 

Benefits of Professional Installation

Safety is the most important consideration when it comes to installing your water heater. A water heater that isn’t installed correctly could be extremely dangerous for your home. An experienced professional can install your water heater quickly and safely while ensuring that all safety features adhere to California water heater codes. 

Hiring a professional to make sure your water heater installation is done properly is a small price to pay for the safety of your home, and it also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about maintenance and potential problems to look out for. 

For all of your water heater needs in the San Fernando Valley area, contact The Water Heating Company at (877) 274-1485. We provide professional water heater installation as well as maintenance services carried out to California water heater code.

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