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

Currently, Sonoma 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, Sonoma 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 Sonoma installer can answer any specific questions you have.

Local Water Heater & Plumbing Permits – Sonoma, CA

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in Sonoma

Approved Location – CA Plumbing regulations prevent most water heaters from being located in bedrooms, bathrooms, or closets (unless sole use). This avoids human contact with the small amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO) that spill from gas water heater vents. It also prevents the possibility of accidents. Sonoma currently enforces this.

Earthquake Straps – Sonoma is located in an earthquake zone and some regulations are required for everyone’s safety. Water heaters must have certified earthquake straps – one on the top third of the tank and one on the bottom third. Most inspectors in Sonoma enforce this regulation.

Venting – Most water heaters in Sonoma are gas combustion and give off carbon monoxide (CO). You will be required to vent the water heater. The size of your venting will be dependent on the volume of your water heater. You must also ensure there is sufficient clearance from combustible/flammable exteriors if the vent material tends to heat up. This is actively enforced by Sonoma.

Pans and Drains – The concern of water leakage increases if water heaters are placed on a built-in platform or in an inside location. The CA Plumbing Code requires a pan under the tank with a drain line running to the exterior as a preventive measure for the possibility of leaking water. Sonoma requires the drain line to the exterior.

Pressure and Temperature Relief Drain (“P&T Drain”) to the Exterior – The P&T relief is required to be run to the outside in order to prevent accidental scalding while the P&T relief is discharging. This requirement is enforced by Sonoma.

Dedicated Water Shutoff –You can turn off the water to the water heater while it is being serviced with a dedicated water shutoff, and still have water in the rest of the house. Sonoma 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 currently enforced in Sonoma.

Bonding – Your water and gas pipes are required to be grounded by the CA Electric Code. This is necessary because plumbing and wiring are often located near each other. If your wires were to become worn, then there is danger of the pipes being energized. To avoid this dangerous situation, the pipes should be bonded with 6 awg wire and clamps. Sonoma is currently enforcing this.

Sediment Traps – Sediment traps ensnare moisture and debris found in the gas line that runs to your water heater and prevents it from getting through to the water heater’s combustion chamber. The city of Sonoma actively enforces this requirement.