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You may be wondering, “Do I need a permit to replace my water heater in San Francisco?”

Currently, San Francisco does require a permit for water heater installations. The good news is we can pull it for you, and it will not slow down any work on our end.

Every few years, San Francisco water heater codes change to adopt new installation and safety measures. While intended to increase your overall home safety, these code requirements can result in extra installation charges.

Some customers scoff at the idea of paying for a permit for a water heater replacement, but the fact of the matter is water heaters can be dangerous if not installed correctly. In fact, water heaters cause more property damage than any other home appliance. And if the unit is not installed to code by a licensed professional and causes damage, your home insurance could reject any claims. That’s why we put a premium on safety and doing everything by the book.

Your expert technician will go over an item-by-item checklist of all applicable safety codes needed for your installation prior to any work being completed, or cost to you.

We try to keep this information as up-to-date as possible, but your San Francisco installer will be able to answer any specific question you may have.

Local Water Heater & Plumbing Codes – San Francisco, CA

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in San Francisco

Approved Location – The CA Plumbing Code regulates where certain water heaters can be located. Gas water heaters cannot be located in closets (unless for sole use only). They are also not permitted in bathrooms or bedrooms. This regulation helps avoid accidents and prevents human contact with the small quantities of Carbon Monoxide (CO) that is released into the air from the water heater vents. San Francisco enforces this regulation.

Earthquake Straps – As California is in an earthquake zone, earthquake straps are required on your water heater by The California Plumbing Code. The straps must be placed on the top one-third of the tank and the bottom one-third. The city of San Francisco enforces this code for your safety.

Venting – Most water heaters in San Francisco are gas combustion. Part of the combustion process necessitates the release of carbon monoxide (CO). These water heaters will need to be correctly vented. The vent size will be determined by the size of the water heater. There must also be adequate clearance from combustible and flammable surfaces if the vent material is likely to get hot. San Francisco currently enforces this requirement.

Pans and Drains – To prevent damage through water leakage the CA Plumbing Code requires a pan under the water heater if it is positioned on a platform or in an interior location. A drain line must run from the pan to the exterior. San Francisco enforces this requirement.

Pressure and Temperature Relief Drain (“P&T Drain”) to the Exterior – To prevent scalding while the pressure and temperature relief is discharging, The California Plumbing code requires the P&T relief drain be run to the outside. This is enforced by San Francisco.

Dedicated Water Shutoff – Water heaters require a dedicated water shutoff which allows water to the water tank to be turned off while the tank is being serviced. At the same time, the rest of your home still has water available. San Francisco actively enforces this code item.

Pipe Insulation – The CA Plumbing Code requires un-insulated pipes to be insulated if they are exposed to unconditioned space. This is enforced in San Francisco.

Bonding – Your gas and water pipes are required to be grounded. The pipes can be effectively grounded with the use of 6 awg wire and clamps. This is a requirement of the California Electric Code because plumbing is regularly built near electrical wiring. Your pipes could be energized if the wiring were to deteriorate. Inspectors in San Francisco are presently enforcing this.

Sediment Traps – Moisture and debris in the gas line is prevented from entering the combustion chamber of your water heater by a sediment trap. This trap is located on the gas line running to your water heater. This requirement is not enforced in San Francisco.