Water Heater Installation Code Requirements Explained

Water Heater Installation Code Requirements Explained

Is it possible to install a water heater without professional help? The short answer is yes. After all, installation kits are easily available. If you are confident about your skills, then you should go for it. However, be sure to follow the important installation codes for water heaters.

Meeting codes is not easy as requirements vary from state to state. Still, it is imperative to keep your water heater to code, otherwise, you will be paying penalties, voiding warranties, dealing with leaks and floods, as well as putting yourself at serious safety risks. The following are water heater installation code requirements that you should know.

Install a Catch Pan For Your Water Heater

Placing the catch pan underneath your water heater can minimize the risk of damage to your drywall subfloor and wooden floors in case of a flood or leak. This is necessary unless your water heater's location is your garage or outdoors.

Use a Catch Pan Made of the Correct Material

Be sure that your catch pan is made of materials that the manufacturer recommends. These include galvanized steel and plastic with a minimum thickness of 0.9mm. If you have a gas water heater and you are using a plastic catch pan, see to it that it has a less than 25 flame spread rating. 

Don’t Install Water Heaters in Prohibited Areas

Examples of areas where water heaters must not be installed are bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage closets.

Protect Water Heaters From Getting Damaged

Water heaters can be sensitive. Hence, they need protection from anything that may cause damage. Consider placing barriers for your water heater in the garage to avoid cars accidentally hitting it.

Raise Water Heater That Has Open Flame or Ignition Sources

If your water heater has an open flame, it should not be directly hitting the floor. You need to raise it 18 inches or more above with a platform. This is necessary to prevent accidents such as fires.  

Protect Water Heaters From Earthquakes With Straps

Seismic zones are earthquake-prone areas. If you are living in these areas, you need to strap your water heaters so that they will stay in place during an earthquake.

Prevent Explosions with TPR Valve

Your water heaters need TPR valves for safety reasons. These valves release water or steam when the temperature and pressure in the tanks are too high, preventing an explosion.

Install Discharge Pipes for Water Heaters

It is also required to install discharge pipe on your water heater’s TPR valve for safety purposes.

Follow Code Requirements for Discharge Piping

For one, it should not be connected to the drainage system. There are three ways to terminate your discharge pipe: to the floor drain, the catch pan, and outside. It must be positioned in such a way that it drains by gravity. Also, your discharge pipe must terminate six inches at most and twice the pipe's diameter at least.

Don’t Use Shutoff and Check Valves

These two are prohibited. Thus, you should not install them between the termination and the TPR valve.