Knowing Plumbing Code Basics when Installing a Water Heater

When installing a water heater, it's important to know about the plumbing code and how it will affect your installation. It's important that the water heater is installed according to regulations not only because it's required by law, but also because it will make your home much safer.

Even if you are replacing an existing water heater with one of a similar capacity and type, there is a very good chance that the building codes have changed since when it was fitted. This means that you will still need to investigate the relevant building plumbing codes.


One of the most important things that the plumbing codes regulate is the placement of the water heater. This is normally to ensure that it is safe and that it won't cause any injuries. Make sure that you are allowed to install the water heater where you propose to before going ahead with the project.

Generally speaking, gas water heaters must be fitted against an external wall of your home for the flue. However, it's worth checking this with your local state planning office.


Minor projects in your home like repairing a water heater do not require a permit. However, depending on your state, you may need a permit to install one. You might also need to get the work signed off by a plumber who can certify that it is safe. Finding out whether you need a permit in advance will save you a lot of hassle and will also prevent you being fined.

Finding Plumbing Regulations

When you are trying to find out about plumbing regulations, you have a few options. You can try to search on the Internet, as many websites have information about the plumbing codes. However, you will need to make sure your state follows the building codes that you are looking at.

Another method would be to visit your local library, as many of these have copies of relevant building codes. A certified plumber may also be able to point you in the right direction.


If you are installing a gas or oil water heater, you must have a flue. This piece is designed to get rid of the waste gases and also minimizes the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The flue can be poked out of the top of a building, or a balanced flue can be fitted on the side of a house.

Tankless Heater

If you are considering fitting a tank-less water heater, then you will also need to look at electrical and/or gas codes to ensure the appliance is installed properly and safely.

Many people think that plumbing codes are nothing but bureaucratic red tape. There are some people who don't stick to them because they find it too complicated. However, there are very good reasons why plumbing codes exist: to protect you. By following the right plumbing codes, you will be able to ensure that your home is up to scratch and completely safe.