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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Garland, and Richardson.  We service all homes in southern Denton and Collin Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

 

NOTE: This Is Part 1 Of a 2-Part Article.  Click Here for Part 2 (of 2): AlsPlumbing.com Water Heater Installation Texas Code Part 2 (of 2)

 

Replacement Water Heaters Must Be Installed In Compliance With Current Texas Plumbing Codes

photo of water heater with expansion tank shown

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN:  Gas Water Heater Being Installed.  A Thermal Expansion Tank Is Shown On The Right

 

Al’s Plumbing Sells Rheem Professional Grade Water Heaters.  They are identified by the word “Professional” on the label.

If It doesn’t say Professional, It’s Not Professional Grade.  Professional Grade cannot be bought a Big-Box discount retailers. 

Typically a home must be updated to current codes when modifications, major repairs, and replacements occur.  Until one of these “inciting” actions occurs, a home is considered legal if it met the building codes in effect when it was built. If changes have occurred, they are legal if they met Building Code at the time they were completed.

photo of water heater

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

When replacing a water heater, the installation must be in compliance with current plumbing codes.  In this article we discuss the most frequently needed items to make the new water heater installation legal and code-compliant.  We also tell you why each item is required.  In nearly every instance, it is to protect home and the occupants safety.

A Water Heater Installation Requires A Plumbing Permit In Texas 

Since 2007, Texas Requires A Plumbing Permit For A Water Heater Replacement.   The permit requires a licensed plumber install the water heater in compliance with the State of Texas + any Local Municipality Plumbing Codes.  The International Building Codes (IBC) form the basis of most of Texas’ codes.

The Permit requires an inspection of the installation to confirm the water heater was installed properly, does not create a hazard, and is working correctly & safely.  There are many things that can go dangerously wrong if an error exists in a water heater installation.

Click Here to see the 2015 Texas Plumbing Codes: Up.codes 2015 Chapter 5 – Water Heaters    Note: The 2018 International Building Codes (IBC) may include updates to what is shown with the link.

Some Municipalities Have Additional Municipality-Specific Plumbing Codes

This article describes the plumbing code requirements for most municipalities.  In addition, there may be additional water heater installation requirements for a specific municipality.

Example: When a water heater installation is inside a garage, Texas code requires that a GAS Water Heater MUST Be 18″ above the garage floor.  This is because a gas water heater could become a source of ignition for flammable or combustible vapors (such as gasoline) that may have accumulated near the garage floor (the vapors settle because they are heavier than air).  The 18-inch elevation is intended to keep ignition sources above combustible vapors that settled to the garage floor

An Electric Water Heater MAY be required to be 18″ above the floor in a garage installation (it depends on the municipality).  The reason is when an electric water heater energizes the heating element, a spark may result. This spark could become a source of ignition for flammable or combustible vapors

Example: Arlington requires an electric water heater be elevated, Plano does not.

Many DFW homes have water heater closets inside the home.  There are new Plumbing Codes that require additional items when a replacement water heater is installed (varies by municipality).

Combustion-Air Source:  Water heater closets must now have a direct access to outdoor air for the combustion of the gas.  In the past, it was assumed the water heater could draw enough combustion-air from the house.  In some cases, the water heater’s up-draft was not strong enough to do that, so the venting of carbon monoxide and other gasses was restricted.  This is called “back drafting”

Back drafting occurs when there is not a enough fresh air for both combustion and proper venting. Backdrafting occurs when fresh air is drawn down the flue (for combustion)  instead of up the flue (to remove exhaust gases).

1 or 2 outside-air vents will be required for a new gas water heater installation in a water heater closet (depends on municipality) The low inlet-vent is to provide fresh air to the burner for combustion.   The high inlet-vent is to provide as much air as is needed to ensure the exhaust gasses rise out of the home.

The water heater’s closet door must be weatherstripped.  This ensures that running kitchen & bath fans, clothes dryer, or fireplace does not pull air from the water heater closet (causing back drafting)

Click Below To See A Photo Of A Correctly Installed Gas Water Heater Inside A Water Heater Closet (inside the home):

Plumbing Code Compliant Gas Water Heater Installation In Water Heater Closet

 

Click Here To See Plano, TX Water Heater Installation Code Requirements:  Plano, TX Water Heater Installation Requirements

 

An Example Of What Can Go Dangerously Wrong With An Incorrect Water Heater Installation

(Or A Neglected Water Heater)

If a water heater malfunctions and continues to heat, the pressure inside the water storage tank continues to increase until the water heater explodes.  To prevent an explosion, the Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve will open at a predetermined pressure (150 PSI in most cases) and/or temperature (210F in most cases).

The T&P valve allows overly overly hot and / or overly pressurized water to safely escape from the tank until the temperature and/or pressure drops below the T & P Valve’s pre-set levels.  Then the valve recloses.

  Click On Image Of Water Heater Temperature & Pressure Relief (T&P) Valve To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com **

Shown: T & P Valve For Water Heater (gas & electric)

** Note: Water Heaters Require Specific T&P Valves.  These valves are not “one size fits all”.

 

NOTE: Older T & P Valves Can Fail Due To Corrosion Or Other Reasons.  The T & P Valve Must Be Checked Annually To Ensure It’s Working.

Click On The White Arrow Above To See A Failed T & P Valve

 

A Catastrophic Water Heater Explosion Due To Failed T&P Valve

Home’s Water Heater Explodes, Hurtles 135 Yards & Destroys The Home

Click On The White Arrow To See A Home Destroyed When It’s Water Heater Exploded

 

The Simple Mistake Of Not Discovering A Defective T&P Valve During A Replacement Water

Heater Installation Is A Prime Example Of Why A Plumbing Permit & Inspection Are Required 

When the installation is complete, a City Inspector will recheck the installation to ensure it is correct and the water heater is operating properly and safely.  A faulty T & P Valve is one of the items that is checked during the inspection.

2018 International Residential Code (IRC) Requirements

The International Building Code (IBC) is adopted (or in use) by all 50 states.   With advances in building-materials & building-sciences, Building Codes are  evolving to keep up. The International Code Council (ICC) creates an updated International Building Code (IBC) every 3 years.  The current version of the IBC is the 2018 edition, known as ICC IBC-2018.  This comprehensive code comprises all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel, gas and electrical requirements. 

SOURCE: https://blog.ansi.org/2017/11/2018-international-building-code-icc-ibc/#gref

Click Here To Read The 2018 IBC Codes For Water Heater Installation:  IccSafe.org 2018 IBC Code For Water Heater Installation

 

IBC-2018 Requirements For A Water Heater Installation

GAS WATER HEATER

  • Gas Connector Must Be Accessible.  Both gas connector and gas valve must not be concealed.  Most municipalities allows a flexible connector to be installed between the water heater and gas line from the house.

      Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

  • Gas Valve: Older Gas Valve are often required to be replaced with a Ball-Style gas valve.
  • NOTE:  Flexible Gas Connectors Are Not Required To Be Bonded.  This Is Because They Are Attached To Bonded Gas Lines.

Shown: Ball Valve For Gas Line        Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

  • Gas Line Sediment Trap.  Its purpose is to trap any sediment or moisture within the gas as it flows into the water heater

  Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

Shown: Gas Line Sediment Trap.  It forms a “T” with gas coming in one side and existing to the water heater from its center.

Bonding Of Flexible Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) Gas Lines

International Building Code (IBC) 250.104: Bonding of Piping Systems

Metal Piping, if installed in, or attached to, a building or structure, including gas piping, that is likely to become energized shall be bonded to the service equipment enclosure; the grounded conductor at the service; the grounding electrode conductor, if of sufficient size; or to one or more grounding electrodes used.

The bonding conductor(s) or jumper(s) shall be sized in accordance with 250.122, using the rating of the circuit that is likely to energize the piping system(s). The equipment grounding conductor for the circuit that is likely to energize the piping shall be permitted to serve as the bonding means. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible.

Dangers Of UNBonded Flexible CSST Gas Lines

 

 

 

Click On Image To: View Valve, See Details, Or Buy From Amazon.com

 

Shown: CSST Tubing.  It almost always has a yellow jacket. 

Electrical Energy from a damaged home electrical wire or lightning-strike has a history of damaging flexible gas pipes (punching holes in them) when they are not bonded to carry away electrical energy.  These pipes are required to be attached to the home’s electrical ground to ensure they don’t become energized or damaged by electrical energy.

If Your Home’s Flexible, CSST Gas Lines Are Not Bonded

Your Home And Safety Are At Risk

Flexible Gas Lines Must Be Bonded To Reduce Rick Of Damage From Lightning Strikes

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Click On White Arrow Above To View Video Showing Damaged CSST Gas Lines From A Lightning Strike

 

Click On Arrow Below To See How CSST Gas Lines Are Bonded

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

 

Click Below To Learn More About The Risks Of UNBonded CSST Flexible Gas Lines:

Alsplumbing.com UNBonded CSST Gas Lines Risk

 

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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Allen, Frisco and McKinney.  We service all homes in southern Denton and Collin Counties with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.