There are good reasons to hire a plumber for a water heater installation. It’s not illegal to install your own water heater providing you own the home you live in, but whether gas or electric, you should get a plumbing permit so that you get an inspection when the work is done, insuring that the work was done correctly.
How many times have you decided to do your own plumbing work to save money, only to find out that you spent more time and money doing it yourself than if you would have hired the service? That’s not uncommon, in fact – it’s highly likely. Even more so if you’re doing your own water heater replacement. Let me show you why homeowners and handymen should leave that type of work to professionals.
Most handymen, and for that matter, homeowners, are unaware of city and state code requirements. This can lead to significant damage to person and property, damage that could have been avoided if the codes had been followed.
- Many cities require water heater pans. If the water heater is located in an attic, water damage can result in every ceiling and floor beneath the water heater. Not that a pan will support a complete burst, but in most cases a pan will catch a slow leak until it is detectable, and save a lot of trouble. If located in the garage, damage to the walls and stored items could also be potentially costly.
- A pressure relief valve needs to be properly piped to the outside. Many take shortcuts here, often leaving the valve on the top of the water heater without piping it out. An electric water heater could easily short out, causing more damage to the heater or leave you in a dangerous situation. If a pressure relief valve is not plumbed to the outside, water damage can also result wherever it is stored.
- If a gas water heater is incorrectly vented, hot gases can present a fire danger inside the walls. If the vent is not properly run up through the roof there can be a carbon monoxide problem, and also fire danger.
- In some areas tanks are required to be 18″ high from a garage floor so they can’t ignite gas fumes from gas that may be stored there.
It is possible that those precautions were initially taken when the water heater was first installed, and that it can simply be replaced without some of those concerns. Codes change, however, and often the newer, safer methods must be used. It just makes good sense to have that all checked out by a licensed plumber when an installation is necessary. A serious safety improvement could have been made since the original was installed, and you want to do things as safely as possible when it comes to a home or place of business.
It isn’t necessarily negligence that causes these issues, but more often than not, it’s simple misinformation or lack of education in these areas. Continuing education of a licensed plumber ensures that a resident is getting knowledgeable service with the most up-to-date information possible.
You wouldn’t go to an CPA that wasn’t up to date on the latest information, use the same type of caution when you need plumbing work done – even if it’s just a water heater installation.