Contact Us
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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

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

Every few years, Oakland 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 local installer will be able to answer any specific question you may have.

Local Water Heater & Plumbing Permits

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in Oakland

Approved Location – To prevent accidents, water heaters cannot be located in a closet (unless it is reserved for only the water heater). As well, water heaters cannot be located in bedrooms or bathrooms. As tiny amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) are released from gas water heater vents, this regulation prevents human contact and accidents. Oakland enforces this requirement.

Earthquake Straps – Certified earthquake straps are required on water heaters for your safety. They should be located at the bottom and top thirds of the heater. The majority of Oakland inspectors enforce this for your safety.

Venting – Gas combustion water heaters must be correctly vented because part of the combustion process is the generation of small amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). The vent size must be satisfactory for the water heater size. If the vent material gets hot, there must be adequate clearance from combustible or flammable surfaces. Oakland actively enforces this.

Pans and Drains – A water heater which is located on a built-in platform OR in an interior location where damage may occur from water leakage is usually required by Oakland to have a pan with a drain line to the exterior positioned under the water heater. The CA Plumbing Code requires this and our experience shows that Oakland will enforce it.

Pressure and Temperature Relief Drain (“P&T Drain”) to the Exterior – Your P&T relief drain must be run to the exterior as required by the California Plumbing Code. The purpose of this requirement is to prevent scalding if a person walks close to the water heater during pressure and temperature relief discharge. Oakland currently enforces this. In some cases, if piping to the exterior isn’t possible, Oakland may allow a Watts 210 valve to be used as a substitute.

Dedicated Water Shutoff – If you need to turn off the water line running to the heater for any reason, a dedicated water shutoff on your water heater will allow water to continue being used in the rest of the house. Oakland actively enforces this requirement.

Pipe Insulation – Any pipes that are exposed in unfinished space must be insulated. This requirement is enforced in Oakland.

Bonding – Water and gas pipes must be grounded to avoid the hazard of energized pipes. Bonding the pipes with 6 awg wire and clamps will ground all the pipes and prevent danger from degraded wires in areas where the plumbing has been built adjacent to the electrical wiring. This is currently required by Oakland Inspectors.

Expansion TanksExpansion tanks are required if you have a closed plumbing system. This is a system that has a backflow preventer between the house and a water main. In 2008, the California Plumbing Code began requiring the use of expansion tanks if you have a “closed system”. As your water heats, it expands by approximately 2%. This could provoke a pressure build-up in your system with a rapid drop when a faucet is turned on, causing wear on the plumbing and fixtures which could lead to early failure of the water heater.

Manufacturers recommend expansion tanks for closed systems and the CA Plumbing Code requires them. We recommend you install one for protection of your plumbing system if it is a closed system. We have removed a number of failed tanks in Oakland that should have lasted another 5 or 6 years. Oakland is currently enforcing this code.