If you have carried out a substantial improvement or repair on your home, you likely had to apply for a permit from the city. This meant you had to observe specific guidelines or local plumbing codes. The same case applies to just every renovation and repair in Oxnard, CA, including water heater installation and replacement.
These codes’ ultimate goal is to ensure all installations, repairs, and replacements are effective and safe. Gallegos Plumbing, providing the premier Plumbing Services in Oxnard, CA, ensure our technicians understand and follow these guidelines and other current updates, as we have been doing for over 20 years.
Based on our familiarity with Oxnard, CA local plumbing codes for water heaters, we thought it would be helpful to discuss some of these regulations, so you know what to expect in your next water heater installation. But before we delve into them, let first discuss a critical part of the installation- a water heater permit.
Is a Water Heater Permit Necessary?
In the mind of most homeowners in Oxnard, CA, water heater repair and installation services is a walk in the park. It does not come as a massive surprise that these individuals wonder why they need a permit to perform such a straightforward task. But the essence of a water heater permit is not to obtain permission to install the equipment. It is actually applying to have a plumbing inspector look at the installation and verify its correctness.
Plenty of things can go haywire when installing electric or gas equipment like a water heater, and this can lead to a disaster. Therefore, you cannot afford to compare this task to installing a garbage disposal or fixing a leaking faucet. Common issues that can emanate from poor installation of a water heater include:
- Gas leaks that could cause an explosion and fire
- Carbon monoxide leaks that can quickly kill
- Scalding from extremely hot water
- Water leaks that could damage the surrounding areas
- Microbial growth within the tank and adjacent pipes
A water heater explosion is similar to several dynamite sticks and can reduce an entire house into a pile of debris. The blast and shockwaves can cause incredible damage to the nearby buildings. Similarly, carbon monoxide(CO) is odorless but a lethal killer.
A plumbing inspector can identify any potential issues before they escalate into a hazard and guarantee the installation works have been performed accordingly and safely.
How Do You Obtain a Water Heater Permit in Oxnard, CA?
In most cases, the city of Oxnard requires a permit or two to install a water heater, whether you are upgrading to a larger or more functional model or replacing a broken one. Rarely do water heater replacements require a third permit.
The first permit applies to the heater itself. This is as easy as submitting an application to the local planning or building department. The document should specify the property, the contractor handling the project, and describe the proposed work in detail. Specific details are available on the city’s building permits webpage.
The permit usually cost between $20 and $100 and often comes packed with information to help you install the equipment safely and according to stipulated codes.
Beyond the primary water heater permit, some installations may require either a plumbing or electric permit, depending on the water heater type. For example, traditional electric models often require adjustments to wiring and sometimes, breaker box. In that case, you will need an electrical permit.
A plumbing permit is necessary for changes to water and gas lines. All in all, bear in mind that the California Plumbing Code(CPC) Section 502.1 prohibits installing, replacing, or removing a water heater without a permit.
Can a Homeowner Install a Water Heater?
It is legal for a homeowner to install a water heater by themselves, but there are serious concerns regarding this. Many homeowners lack the electrical and plumbing expertise needed to install a water heater safely. Even a minor mistake can carry a severe consequence.
For instance, the failure to install a temperature and pressure relief valve can cause an explosion. Another scenario is where you misconnect water pipes, leading to a gradual leak that can cause incredible damage over time. Water damage destroys drywall, flooring, and other materials used in your home’s construction, which can cost an arm and leg to repair. Excess moisture also encourages microbial growth, which puts your family’s health at stake.
Another concern is whether a DIY installation will violate the equipment’s warranty. Remember that some water heater manufacturers approve a warranty claim only if a qualified professional installed the equipment.
Rather than risk a DIY water heater installation, have a professional Oxnard, CA plumber by your side.
Water Heater Installation Codes and Regulations in Oxnard, CA
» Expansion Tank
Expansion tank helps minimize water heater and plumbing damage during thermal expansion, especially in homes with a closed-loop plumbing system. In such a system, water and thermal expansion cannot go back to the city’s primary water system.
An expansion tank is basically a small metal tank that alleviates the pressure buildup caused by thermal expansion. When the expansion stops, the excess water that had flowed into the expansion tank flows back to your plumbing.
Generally, the city requires expansion tanks to be installed if there is a backflow preventer, check valve, or other closed gadgets that obstruct the dissipation of accumulating pressure back to the mainline. Physical support is vital for expansion tanks, rather than leaving them hanging by the adjoining pipes.
» P&T Valve
Water heater rules stipulate that plumbing technicians install an expansion tank in conjunction with a P&T (pressure and temperature relief) valve. The P&T valve safeguards your water heater tank against excess pressure, unlike an expansion tank, which protects the piping system from pressure. The valve is designed to shut off when hot water temperature exceeds 210 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 PSI (pounds per inch).
For accidental scalds prevention, the P&T valve should be connected to a discharge pipe with its share of requirements.
» Water Pressure Regulator
According to CPC Section 608.2, whenever water pressure exceeds 80 PSI, it is recommended that homeowners install a pressure regulator.
Normal water pressure levels for homes typically range between 30 and 60 PSI, although it can rise to 75 PSI without any concerns. Whereas high pressure is fantastic for a shower, anything over 80 PSI can cause leakages and damage your water heater.
Water providers usually ensure water pressure in the main lines is high, so water reaches all the intended locations. A pressure regulator serves to reduce this pressure to acceptable levels. The device ordinarily comes out of the box set at 50 PSI and is installed at the water main as it goes into a home.
» Drip Pans and Drains
Drip pans are recommended for a water heater installed in an area where leaks can cause damage. The pan is not meant to prevent damage from massive tank failure; it is designed to catch slow, hidden leaks. Water damage is not necessarily a big concern in a basement with a concrete floor. But the case is different in a finished basement. In modern installations, drip pans also require drain lines running to the exterior.
To mitigate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, the city of Oxnard restricts the installation of propane and gas water heaters in some locations. You can install these fuel-burning water heaters in a closet in a bathroom or bedroom only if the closet has a gasketed or self-closing door. The water heater installed in these areas must be a direct vent model.
In direct venting, the water heater pulls combustion air from outdoors and vents the exhaust via a horizontal pipe running to the exterior. The opposite of direct venting is power venting, where the water heater pulls in combustion from the surrounding space and expels the exhaust through a horizontal pipe.
» Dedicated Water Shut-Off Valve
A dedicated water shut-off valve is essential. It gives you the convenience of turning off water to your heater without interfering with the water supply to your home. This is especially useful during water heater maintenance.
» Sediment Trap and Drip Leg
A sediment trap, often confused with a drip leg, helps catch sediments in natural gas and prevent them from entering a water heater and possibly damaging it. The sediments could be shavings or dirt, which can end up in the line during gas line installation or repairs at home or when utility companies are working on the gas line.
A drip leg is designed to catch condensate and moisture in a gas line. The recommended installation location for a drip leg is a low point in the piping system that allows for easy removal of the condensate. However, a sediment trap should be vertical and near the water heater’s inlet to function correctly.
» Proper Venting
As mentioned earlier, carbon monoxide is deadly. For this reason, California Plumbing Code stipulates proper ventilation for handling the exhaust from a combustion water heater. Otherwise, you increase the possibilities of severe injury or fatalities from CO poisoning.
A qualified and authorized technician should install a listed and approved venting system that offers enough height, size, and draft. It is in your best interest to install a gas fuel and carbon monoxide detector according to the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce the risk of CO poisoning.
Talking of the horizontal flue vent, the horizontal distance should not exceed three-quarters of the entire chimney assembly’s vertical height. Any horizontal run should slope a quarter-inch per foot towards the exhaust terminal. The installer should support the pipe to maintain clearance and prevent joint separation and other damage.
If you intend to use an existing vent, check the vent for corrosion, obstruction, and correct installation. Check whether you need to repair or replace water heater, and for replace or repair, existing vent flue connectors if necessary. The plumbing code requires the existing vent system to be a UL listed, Type B, single or double-wall vent pipe of 3” or 4” diameter and installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Much more goes into venting a fuel-burning water heater, and you will be happy to check out this section for more information.
» Bottom Board
An electric water heater installed in an unheated area should be insulated to minimize heat loss. An easy way to do so is placing the heater on a bottom board- an incompressible, insulated buffer made of R-10 or better thermal resistant material. The bottom board could help reduce standby heat losses by as much as 45%, thus significantly increasing your electric heater’s efficiency. And most importantly, you could save up to 16% on water heating costs.
» Earthquake Straps
Because Oxnard, CA, is highly prone to earthquakes, CPC Section 507.2 requires installers to firmly secure water heaters to prevent falling and horizontal displacement due to seismic movements. Your plumbing contractor in Ventura County, CA should wrap heavy-duty straps around the tank within the upper and lower third of its vertical dimension. Additionally, the lower straps should be at least 10 cm above the controls.
The Bottom Line
At Gallegos Plumbing, we hope the above has been helpful information. And this far, you can probably tell that Oxnard local water heater plumbing codes, permits and regulations can be intimidating to a beginner and are subject to amendments.
We have also discussed the dangers of DIY installation. For your family safety, hire a competent HVAC contractor trained and certified to handle water heater installation and replacement and stays updated with the latest plumbing code.
For more information about water heater plumbing codes in Oxnard, CA, or to schedule a water heater services with one of our technicians, contact us online or more conveniently, call us at 805-750-1830.