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

Currently, Mercer Island requires 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, Mercer Island 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 cringe 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 Code – Mercer Island, WA

Water Heater Codes Currently Enforced in Mercer Island

Approved Location: It’s illegal and very dangerous to put a gas water heater in a bedroom or bathroom, or even a closet inside these rooms. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of heating your hot water with natural gas. As this is a deadly, noxious gas, we must be sure that the install of your new water heater is in an approved location. The only exception to this code is to install a direct vent style (or power-direct vent) water heater. Mercer Island inspectors are very strict in enforcing this rule.

Earthquake Straps: Washington State is in an earthquake zone. Therefore, Mercer Island recognizes the importance of enforcing the code requirement of having earthquake straps installed. Uniform plumbing code calls for a strap on the upper and lower 1/3 of the tank. Again, this is largely driven by a concern for the safety of Mercer Island residents.

Venting: Natural gas combustion, which creates carbon monoxide, is one of the most critical components to ensure the installation is done properly. You certainly do not want any carbon monoxide to reach you or your family members, so you must ensure that your water heater has a suitable venting system. These vents should be made of the proper material and keep specific clearances from combustible materials. This is commonly enforced in Mercer Island.

Pans and Drains: The Code stipulates that water heaters on top of platforms or positioned in interior areas, where leaks can result in damage, should have a pan, with a drain line attached, underneath them.

Pressure Regulating Valves: Excessive water pressure, particularly where the PSI (pounds per square inch) is higher than 80, must be metered through the installation of a valve that regulates it. We will determine whether or not this is necessary by assessing your PSI when we visit.

Greasepack Gas Valve Replacement: Replacing valves of the greasepack variety is extremely important, as greasepack valves can perform poorly and allow gas to leak.

Bonding: If electrical wiring, water and/or gas pipes are in close proximity, this hazard can result in electrocution. Therefore, the Electrical Code emphasizes the importance of bonding and grounding your pipes. We can achieve this through the installation of wire and clamps. This is commonly enforced in Mercer Island.

Sediment Traps: Sediment can enter into the combustion chamber, so the placement of a trap on the gas line is needed. Mercer Island inspectors are highly likely to check that this requirement is met.

Dedicated Water Shutoff: It is sometimes necessary to close off the water flow to the heater, for maintenance and inspection purposes. On such an occasion, you are unlikely to want to face the inconvenience of having the water supply to your home cut off. This can be prevented through the addition of a local water shutoff valve, dedicated solely to your water heater.

Pipe Insulation: Mercer Island inspectors usually check to see if any pipes found in a place that has not yet been conditioned are insulated.