Thompson Family Plumbing and Rooter installs water heaters in the home, with all required code items. These code requirements are to ensure we’re safely installing your unit in your home to protect your family, and plumbing. Over the past several years there have been many new uniform plumbing code updates and we ensure our compliance.

 When the installation is taking place, our experienced technicians will evaluate your water heater and confirm that all code requirements are met and thoroughly inspected by city or county inspectors.

Some examples of water heater codes include:

 Expansion Tanks

The tried and true way to deal with thermal expansion is with an thermal expansion tank. Installed on the supply line, these tanks feature a rubber bladder or diaphragm that separates an air chamber from the rest of the tank. Air is pumped in to match the pressure of the water supply. When water expands, instead of building pressure in the confines of the water heater or plumbing, it enters the expansion tank, compressing the air. Once expansion has stopped and there’s room, the compressed air pushes the water back into the supply.


Universal Plumbing Code requires that a thermal expansion device be installed whenever a PRV or backflow prevention is present. This usually comes in the form of an expansion tank that connects to the water heater, accommodating volume increases. Other options include valves with discharge outlets that simply drain whatever the system can’t hold, and special toilet fill valves that drain excess volume into the toilet tank.

The increased pressure must be released somewhere.  If there is nowhere for the pressure to go, it places extra stress and strain on your water heater and your home’s plumbing system. Increased pressure will shorten the life of your water heater. However, expansion tanks provide relief from this excess water pressure and protect your home. Thermal expansion can cause stress and damage to the home’s fixtures and cause other costly plumbing repairs.



Earthquake/ Seismic straps

In all our water heater installations,  earthquake straps are required to ensure your safety in the event of an earthquake.  California plumbing code require all installations include straps on the top- and bottom-third of the water heater due to the common occurrence of earthquakes. Straps are to be secured in a stud with screws. 

Temperature and pressure relief valve or, T & P valve

In most cases a T and P valve is required to be piped and ran to the outside/exterior of the home. The T and P valve will go off when your hot water temperature exceeds 210 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 PSI (pounds of pressure.) The notification or cause when the T and P valve is released/ activated means your water heater has a problem and it’s good to know about it. The disadvantage is that when the the T and P valve does go off, the water comes out at very high temperature and high pressure. This can cause issues if animals, property or any persons are present during the discharge. The expansion tank helps absorb the the temperature and pressure that is created and they need to be installed together to safeguard the system. 

Sediment Trap

 Sediment traps are intentionally installed to help prevent sediment in the gas piping from getting into the gas valve or burner area of an appliance and fouling things up. Sediments traps are required at furnaces, boilers, water heaters, clothes dryers, ovens, space heaters, unit heaters, gas fireplaces, and more. Codes require us to place a sediment trap on the gas line into the water heater as close to the inlet as possible. This is to prevent moisture and debris from entering the firing chamber of the hot water heater.


Drain Pan

In the event of a leak, it is required to install a drain/ drip pan with a 90 ran to drain any excess water into. This helps reduce the causes of secondary damage to the home, water heater platform. 


 Water heaters can only be installed in specified areas of the home, such as exterior closet, garage, laundry/ interior closet. The venting needs to be correctly installed to verify proper seal and connections to eliminate carbon monoxide exposure.  This can be verified by the final inspection by the local building and safety departments. 

Dedicated Water Shutoff

Installing a water shutoff on your water heater will allow you to turn off water to your heater, but not to your entire home. This way, if you ever need to service your water heater, you won’t be inconvenienced with having to turn off the water to the rest of your house.

Location of water heater

Water heaters can only be installed in specified areas of the home, such as exterior closet, garage, laundry/ interior closet. For any water heater installed in the home it requires a Watts 210-5 Shutoff. This is installed right into the Temperature-Pressure-Relief valve tapping on the side of a water heater if the heater was not provided with a conventional temperature/pressure relief valve already installed in that location.

Gas water heaters emit carbon monoxide (CO) when they are running. During 1999–2010, a total of 5,149 deaths from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the United States, an average of 430 deaths per year. The average annual death rate from carbon monoxide poisoning for males (0.22 per 100,000 population) was more than three times higher than that for females. It’s extremely important that the water heater is placed in approved location. For example, in some areas, water heaters are not allowed to be installed in closets, unless they are only used for the water heater.


Why do we need permits for the installation or replacement of a water heater? I have been asked this question on many occasions. 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 if installed improperly. A water heater is one of the most dangerous appliances in a building, and there are many things that can go wrong if a water heater is replaced and there is an error in the installation. Remember, to only hire licensed professionals to install and pull your permits.


By |2017-11-28T16:21:58-07:00November 28th, 2017|Plumbing, Water Heater|

One Comment

  1. Kim December 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    You guys are the best!

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