At Water Heaters Only, Inc we install water heaters to the current Texas Plumbing Code as well as the local city regulations. including the municipality of Dallas and surrounding cities. Municipalities and Counties can enforce some, all, or part of the Texas Plumbing Code as they see fit for their territory. In our experience, we find enforcement of the code requirements in the Texas Plumbing Code varies from city to city as well as between inspectors.
As licensed contractors, we perform a site inspection upon arrival to inform our customers of what areas the water heater is not compliant with the current code. We must inform our customers of the requirements of the state of Texas and make clear the items enforced in your area. This allows our customer to make informed decisions about their residence. Below is a list of requirements regularly enforced in the Dallas Area.
Please note: We try to keep our code requirement information current; however the city or municipality you live in can interrupt, update or enforce the code as they deem necessary, without notifying the licensed contractors that provide services in their jurisdictions.
Location of the Water Heater: The Texas Plumbing Code regulates where a water heater may and may not be installed. Gas water heaters are not approved to be installed in bedrooms or converted garages. If installed in a bathroom closet, the closet must have a sealed door. This plumbing code regulation prevents the potential of human contact with trace amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO) released from gas water heater vents and the possibility of inhalation accidents. This is presently enforced in the Dallas Area.
Flue Venting: Every gas water heater has a flue venting system. Some water heaters are power vented and have a plastic vent, but most traditional tank water heaters have a metal vent that attaches to the top of the unit to disperse the carbon monoxide created by the gas being burned to heat the water. The size of the water heater vent depends on the amount of BTU’s the hot water heater burns during combustion. Vents must be installed in a specific manner for safety. There must be at least 1″ of clearance from the vent to any flammable or combustible surfaces. Vents must also terminate to an approved location. During our onsite assessment we will inspect the venting system and alert you to any pre-existing issues we see.
Combustion Air: There are specific requirements for air for combustion, ventilation and dilution of flue gases. A sufficient amount of air is required for a gas water heater to function properly. Depending on the location of the water heater, there are a variety of approved remedies for a lack of combustion air. Air vents may be required or louvered doors and/or other means of providing combustion air will be recommended if it is noted there is a lack of combustion air for the water heater.
Drip Pan and Drain Lines: For water heaters located in an area where water damage can occur such as an inside closet, attic or 2nd floor where water leakage could cause damage to your residence, a drain pan with a drain line running to an approved location (usually the exterior) is required.
Temperature / Pressure Relief Valve and Drain (T/P Overflow) to the Exterior: The Texas Plumbing Code requires the Temperature / Pressure relief valve to have a drain that is piped to an approved location such as the exterior of the building. This is to prevent accidental scalding and damage when the T/P relief valve opens and releases water due to high temperatures or excessive pressure. This code requirement is being enforced by Dallas.
Dedicated Water Shutoff Valve: A water shut off valve is required at the hot water heater. The shutoff valve allows the water to be turned off on the cold water supply to the tank while allowing the rest of the home to maintain normal water usage. We recommend and install 1/4 turn ball style valve.
Gas Valve Replacement: Older style grease pack gas valves were a common part installed with older water heaters. However, due to a high failure rate, the Texas Plumbing Code does not approve their use any longer. Our technician will check for this valve when inspecting your hot water heater and advise that it be changed if we find one. Our technician will also inspect the entire gas line and give recommendations based on the current condition of the gas line. This item is enforced in Dallas.
Gas Drip Leg / Sediment Traps – The gas drip leg (or sediment trap) is located on the gas line running to your water heater, usually located below the gas control valve on the water heater. It is a pipe that looks like a T and is intended to catch debris and moisture in your gas line. It stops those particles from entering the combustion chamber of the water heater and can help your unit’s performance. A gas drip leg/sediment trap is generally required by the water heater manufacturers, but is not always enforced by inspectors. We install water heaters to the manufacturer’s specifications and to the plumbing code.
Water Piping Insulation: The first 5 feet of hot and cold water pipes are required to be insulated if they are exposed in unconditioned space. We install insulation as required by the Texas Plumbing Code and also to help with energy efficiency.
Electrical Bonding: Bonding of the hot cold and gas water piping with 6 AWG (American Wire Gauge) wire and clamps will successfully ground all the pipes. This will prevent degraded wires from energizing your pipes which could lead to a dangerous situation.
Pressure Regulators – Water Heaters are sensitive to pressure and a PSI over 80 will void most manufacturer’s warranties. When we replace your water heater, we always test your water pressure. If you have a regulator that is failing or do not have a regulator and the PSI (incoming water pressure in pounds per square inch) is over 80, we will recommend installing a pressure regulator to reduce the incoming water pressure. Very high water pressure can damage your pipes, fixtures ,faucets and appliances including water heaters.
On occasion our technician may perform work that the inspector believes was unnecessary. Water Heaters Only, Inc makes every effort to keep our code requirements up to date, but we advise you to talk with your local building code official if you have any concerns prior to your installation. Our technician will have the most recent information from our annual survey from the municipalities, but it is not a guarantee that the inspector may want additional items or may decide that work was completed unnecessarily.