3 Main Water Heater Regulations

3 Main Water Heater Regulations

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Most people don’t think about the water heater, but it is an important home appliance. Water heaters amount for about 20 percent of the energy costs in an average home, and if your water heater doesn’t work, you won’t have hot water. That’s why water heaters are subject to many local, state and federal regulations. Here are three main ones and why they are important.

Chandler, AZ water-heater-servicesPlumbing permit

Many local jurisdictions require a permit for the installation of a water heater, and some even require that it be installed by a licensed plumber or HVAC professional. Though this may seem like unnecessary government overreach. The permit ensures that the water heater gets inspected after installation. At best, an improperly installed water heater might not work right and might greatly lower your efficiency. At worst, an improperly installed water heater could pose a safety hazard.

Energy efficiency

Because water heaters are such an important home appliance that make up a significant portion of energy use, it’s important that they be as energy efficient as possible. To ensure that is the case, the U.S. Department of Energy as of 2015 has put out new regulations that require water heaters to increase their energy factors to be more energy efficient. Ones with 55 gallons of capacity or less — the types used in most homes — only have to improve their efficiency by about 4 percent, which means new units aren’t that much different. Units with more than 55 gallons of capacity have to achieve energy efficiency improvements of closer to 20 percent.


About half the water heaters in the U.S. use natural gas as their energy source, and so they present a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why most jurisdictions have some kind of regulation relating to the water heater’s ventilation. Codes usually require that the ventilation system for the water heater be made of certain materials and also that the vent be placed in the right location to ensure any carbon monoxide is vented outside. Some cities also have rules about where water heaters can be installed. For example, you may not be able to install a water heater in a closet in your Chandler home unless the closet is meant exclusively for the water heater.

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