sugarland water heater

Keep in Mind these Houston Water Heater Codes to Avoid Violations

Before a water heater installation or replacement occurs in Houston, a permit should be obtained. The permit stipulates that only a licensed plumber who understands the state and local plumbing codes should conduct the process. Since a wrongly-installed water heater presents a lot of risks to a home’s occupants, these codes are vital to ensure the whole procedure is done suitably and doesn’t endanger people living in the property.

In this article, we’re going to look at building codes that govern water heater installations or replacements in Houston and Texas as a whole.

General Guidelines

The location for installation

The building codes recommend places where the water heater should and shouldn’t be installed. For instance, these building codes discourage the installation of these appliances in bedrooms, bathrooms accessed through bedrooms, and rooms with AC units. This ensures the occupants do not come into contact with the dangerous Carbon Monoxide released by appliances powered by solid, liquid or gas fuels. The codes also specify that the appliance should be installed in an easily-accessible area for a simplified replacement if it fails, observation, servicing, and maintenance.


A water heater may experience drips that may cause water damage. To prevent this occurrence, the device should be fitted with a drain pan to catch any condensation and a drain line with a diameter of around 19mm. The drain line should either empty into a floor drain or another suitable location outside the home.

Temperature controls and pressure marking

Water heater codes state that each appliance should be fitted with automatic temperature controls. These controls are intended to help users adjust temperatures to achieve the ones they desire. The codes also state that for water heaters meant for domestic purposes, they should feature a clear and permanent marking showing the maximum allowable working pressure. The marking should also be in an accessible location for easy observation and inspection.

Temperature control for tankless water heaters

If a tankless is to be installed in a home for domestic use, the water temperatures should not exceed 140�F (60�C). However, this specification should not replace or supersede protective shower valves’ requirements.

The recommended products

For the specific water heater products to use, plumbing and heating codes recommend using appliances that have been certified and approved by a 3rd party agency. These appliances have gone through rigorous examinations to ensure they can perform as necessary. They’ve also gone through testing to make sure they’re safe for use.

Installation Codes for Water Heaters

Various codes govern the installation of these appliances. The first rule of any installation is that professionals should carry out the procedure while following the manufacturer’s instructions. Various manufacturers produce their appliances differently, and each one may have specific instructions concerning their product. The fuel source also determines the right procedures for installation.

  • Oil-powered heaters should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and also according to the International Mechanical Code requirements.
  • Gas-powered water heaters should follow the manufacturer’s directions and also the International Fuel Gas Code requirements.
  • Electric water heaters should follow guidelines from both the manufacturer and the NFPA 70.

During installation, the positioning of ignition sources and guidelines for damage protection should conform to the International Fuel Gas Code and International Mechanical Code provisions.

Attic requirements for water heater installation

Some people may prefer to have their appliances installed in the attic. However, plumbing and heating codes in Texas have various requirements for people to be allowed to install water heaters in these locations. For instance, the attic should have an opening wide enough to permit easy removal of the appliance. It should also be spacious enough to allow a professional to conduct inspections and maintenance tasks.

Seismic Supports

To protect the water heater from seismic activity, the elements supporting it should be designed and installation following guidelines as indicated in the International Building Code.

Requirements for appliance replacement or maintenance

The water heater should be installed in an easily-accessible location just in case of any required inspections, repairs, servicing, or replacements. Easily accessible means the appliance can be worked on without disabling other elements and appliances outside it. The recommended working space measurement requirements in front of the control side are at least 30 inches in length and 30 inches in width. These are enough to allow for efficient appliance servicing.

Guidelines for Connections to the Water Heater

The system should feature a valve near the appliance, and it should only serve the water heater or hot water storage tank without disrupting cold water flow in other parts of the plumbing system. The pipes and tubings should offer proper water circulation, and the materials and installation should follow the International Building Code.

Requirements for Water Heater Safety

The plumbing and heating codes in Texas recommend various devices to ensure safe water heater operation. The system should consist of devices such as an anti-siphon device to prevent back-siphonage, an ANSI Z21.22-compliant vacuum relief valve for bottom-fed appliances, and a means to shut down the water heating system from the energy supply. And since a water heater operates at a pressure above atmospheric pressure, the system should also include an ANSI Z21.22-compliant relief valve that helps to control the pressure inside the system to prevent appliance failure or exploding.

Water heaters need specific temperature and relief valves, and these should be certified by an approved agency. There are also requirements for the discharge piping serving the temperature and relief valves and guidelines for insulations. Making sure your water heater conforms to these and other codes is the key to having a legal and fully-compliant home.

HVAC Maintenance is Very Important

If you have a water heater or any other HVAC unit in your home, you should schedule regular maintenance tasks to make sure your appliance is functioning as required. Regular maintenance is the key to catching any small issues and handling them early before they grow into bigger and costlier problems. This way, your equipment can last for a long time without requiring a replacement soon into the first installation. And since HVAC units such as water heaters have various risks associated with them, routine maintenance can help reveal problems that may endanger you and your family.

If you have any issues, questions, or concerns with your HVAC unit, contact Howell Services today! We’re licensed plumbing, air conditioning, and heating service providers dedicated to serving the southwest Houston and Fort Bend county area.

Have A Question?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.