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

Currently, San Jose 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, San Jose 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 – San Jose, CA

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in San Jose

Approved Location – The majority of water heaters cannot be located in a bathroom, bedroom, or closet (unless the closet is used only for storage of the water heater). This requirement prevents accidents and averts contact by humans of carbon monoxide (CO), small amounts of which spill from gas water heater vents. This is currently enforced in San Jose.

Earthquake Straps – The CA Plumbing Code requires that water heaters have two earthquake straps (located on the top and bottom thirds of the tank). As California is classified as an earthquake zone, the majority of inspectors enforce this for your safety.

Venting – As most water heaters in San Jose use a gas combustion process, they generate carbon monoxide. Therefore, the heater must be properly vented. The size of the vent must correspond to the size of the water heater. If the vent becomes hot while operating, there must be adequate clearance from flammable/combustible surfaces. This is actively enforced in San Jose.

Pans and Drains – If the water heater is located in the interior or on a built-in platform with a possibility for damage from leaking water, the city requires a pan be placed under the heater. There is also a CA Plumbing Code requiring a drain line running from the pan to the exterior. San Jose requires the drain line to the exterior.

Pressure and Temperature Relief Drain (“P&T Drain”) to the Exterior – The California Plumbing Code requires that a P&T Drain run to the exterior to prevent scalding of someone walking nearby while the P&T relief is discharging. San Jose enforces this requirement. In most cases, San Jose does not allow a Watts 210 valve to be used as a substitute for piping the P&T to the exterior. The city may allow piping to the garage floor if there is a pre-existing drain. CPVC piping material is deemed acceptable (and less expensive) for use as drain lines by the California Plumbing Code, yet San Jose does not allow its use.

Sediment Traps – Sediment traps are located on gas lines running to the hot water heater. They are used to catch moisture and debris in the gas line and stop it from getting into the combustion chamber of the heater. San Jose enforces this requirement.

Dedicated Water Shutoff – This shutoff is required for use with a water heater. The shutoff enables you to turn off the water to the water tank, if necessary while maintaining water in the rest of the house. This is enforced by San Jose.

Pipe Insulation – The insulation of pipes is required if they are exposed to unconditioned space. This is presently enforced by San Jose.