Do you bother getting a permit to replace the water heater?

24 posts by 18 users

Medium 1399362745 avatar bienesraices Bienes Raices
Orlando, FL
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Bienes Raices

from Orlando, Florida

Mar 02 '11, 12:24 AM


I called the county permitting office and they do require a permit to replace a water heater. Since it's highway robbery to pay a licensed plumber to do anything, I was wondering if most people ignore the permit issue when dealing with the heater, or is it better to go ahead and pay the plumber for liability reasons? thanks



Medium 1398941402 avatar koenigjl Jeffrey K.
Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, WI
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Jeffrey K.

Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mar 02 '11, 12:32 AM
1 vote


In our state HVAC guys can install water heaters also and are cometimes a lot cheaper.

You have to watch out for the permit police. Can you pull the permit yourself or do need an MP to pull it?



Medium 1448323426 avatar jasonscott J Scott
Investor / Business Guy from Ellicott City, MD
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J Scott Verified Moderator Donor

Investor / Business Guy from Ellicott City, Maryland

Mar 02 '11, 12:32 AM
3 votes


I generally won't use a licensed plumber to replace a water heater, and as such, won't pull permits.

As a counter-example though...yesterday we were replacing a water heater and a pressure reduction valve for a buyer after their inspection, and knew that the buyer/agent would be interested in seeing receipts/invoices. Since we didn't want to take the chance of the buyer/agent knowing that we were supposed to pull permits and didn't, we just went with our licensed plumber, and he pulled the permits for us.

So, there are some exceptions...



Medium lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
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Bienes Raices

from Orlando, Florida

Mar 02 '11, 12:34 AM


Originally posted by Jeffrey K.:

You have to watch out for the permit police. Can you pull the permit yourself or do need an MP to pull it?

They told me that if I was doing the work myself I could pull it but if someone else was doing it I needed a licensed contractor to come pull it. I never mentioned to them that it's a rental property.



Medium 1448386327 avatar financexaminer Bill Gulley
Investor, Entrepreneur, Educator from Springfield, MO
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Bill Gulley

Investor, Entrepreneur, Educator from Springfield, Missouri

Mar 02 '11, 12:35 AM
2 votes


Requiring a permit has been in effect for several years here. A few months ago, and I posted about it, a guy installed a gas water hearter and the house blew up and damaged about 6 surrounding homes, a couple were a total loss, leveled!

Local retailers and wholesalers (Lowe's, HD, etc) will not sell a heater unless you show the permit or your plumber's license.

I did purchase one at Lowes saying it was to be installed in another county that does not have building regs, and that was in fact the case.

Don't forget to shut the gas off!



Medium logoscopiccroppedblue2Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy
Website: https://generalrealestateacademy.com


Bienes Raices

from Orlando, Florida

Mar 02 '11, 12:36 AM


Originally posted by Financexaminer:
Requiring a permit has been in effect for several years here. A few months ago, and I posted about it, a guy installed a gas water hearter and the house blew up and damaged about 6 surrounding homes, a couple were a total loss, leveled!

Local retailers and wholesalers (Lowe's, HD, etc) will not sell a heater unless you show the permit or your plumber's license.

I did purchase one at Lowes saying it was to be installed in another county that does not have building regs, and that was in fact the case.

Don't forget to shut the gas off!

actually it's an electric...



Medium 1448388825 avatar stevebabiak Steve Babiak
Real Estate Investor from Audubon, PA
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Steve Babiak Verified

Real Estate Investor from Audubon, Pennsylvania

Mar 02 '11, 12:42 AM
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The blow up of water heaters comes from the temperature and pressure valve (T&P) being omitted or incorrectly done or defective. Due to pressure build-up with the heated water in the enclosed space of the heater, I believe, and eventually the tank expands past the breaking point of the materials.



No avatar medium Account Closed
Landlord from Seattle, WA
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Account Closed

Mar 02 '11, 01:44 AM
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I replaced a hot water heater once without a permit. Later I did some remodel work and the inspector noted that the water heater was new compared to the last known permit on file. Bottom line they made me pay for the $50 permit.



Medium 1399404583 avatar planeguy67 Mitch Kronowit
SFR Investor from Orange County, CA
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Mitch Kronowit Donor

SFR Investor from Orange County, California

Mar 02 '11, 01:46 AM


When I replaced our primary residence water heater with a tankless, I went ahead and applied for a permit. After I finished the installation (major work, but very educational), the inspector came over and signed off the permit after looking at it for 2 minutes.

The only thing he really seemed concerned about was the pressure relief valve (which is kind of useless on a tankless, but whatever). He didn't measure or even look at the very expensive single-walled stainless-steel flue I installed, nor did he check for the mandatory 3 inches of clearance from combustibles (ok, maybe he just eye-balled it). He didn't concern himself with all the other clearances around the unit that were clearly marked on the housing. Perhaps inspectors are used to seeing some really shoddy installations and anything that even looks remotely like the installer took some care is fine with them?

Anyways, when I replaced the hot water heater in our rental condo (conventional tank), I didn't bother with a permit. Nobody at Home Depot asked for a permit or my plumber's license either! :-)



Medium 1448324704 avatar barnardinc Will Barnard
Developer from Santa Clarita, CA
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Will Barnard Verified Moderator Donor

Developer from Santa Clarita, California

Mar 02 '11, 02:50 AM


I have yet to permit a water heater install, but if I did or had to, I would use my HVAC (who is my brother) to do it. HVAC techs can do it for much cheaper than plumbers.

In CA, Lowes/HD and other sellers of this product do not ask for a permit or licnese before they sell to you. Perhaps that is only in Missouri where Bill is (as he stated)



Medium be logoWill Barnard, Barnard Enterprises, Inc.
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Account Closed

Mar 02 '11, 03:12 AM


Never had Lowes or HD ask about a permit in Washington state either. There isn't much you can do with a property in Washington where they don't want a permit.



Medium 1398784765 avatar wheatie Jon Holdman
Investor from Wheat Ridge, CO
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Jon Holdman Moderator

Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Mar 02 '11, 05:24 AM


Must be a county-by-county thing in MO because I've bought a water heater at a Lowes in MO with nary a question.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


Jeffrey K.

Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mar 02 '11, 05:38 AM
2 votes


To add to what Mitch was saying, inspectors just care that it is done in a work-man like manner. It is mostly to raise money for the city and to pay for the inpsctor's wage and the union benefits for the city.

There are not a lot of huge plumbing jobs so they require you to pull a permit for anything other than changing washers (this includes changing a toilet or faucet). This ensures that they are able to keep busy and keep the funds coming in.

We are in a public place here and my advice to you would be to pull a permit. It is obviously cheaper to not do it but it isnt legal. Also, if you don't pull permits, I would not advertise it on the internet.



Medium 1435645643 avatar sricenbaw Scott R.
Real Estate Investor from Amarillo, TX
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Scott R.

Real Estate Investor from Amarillo, Texas

Mar 02 '11, 06:39 AM


In my area you can not pull a permit for the hot water heater yourself if its to be installed in your non primary residence, such as rental property. I bought one last week from lowes without any permit or anything, although there has been talk about them requiring it to anyone purchasing one, it hasnt happened yet.



Medium 1399513502 avatar jgolden James Golden
Residential Real Estate Broker from Costa Mesa, CA
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James Golden

Residential Real Estate Broker from Costa Mesa, California

Mar 02 '11, 06:57 AM


I've replaced 10+ water heaters in the last 3 years in Southern California and I never pulled permit. Some cities has very specific rules you must follow though.



Bienes Raices

from Orlando, Florida

Mar 02 '11, 06:58 AM


Originally posted by Jeffrey K.:
To add to what Mitch was saying, inspectors just care that it is done in a work-man like manner. It is mostly to raise money for the city and to pay for the inpsctor's wage and the union benefits for the city.

There are not a lot of huge plumbing jobs so they require you to pull a permit for anything other than changing washers (this includes changing a toilet or faucet). This ensures that they are able to keep busy and keep the funds coming in.

We are in a public place here and my advice to you would be to pull a permit. It is obviously cheaper to not do it but it isnt legal. Also, if you don't pull permits, I would not advertise it on the internet.

I'm planning on shopping around at the stores, buying it myself and having someone install & pull the permit. I've called around and the price seems to be around $750 to have a plumber take care of everything incl. providing the WH



Medium 1398858044 avatar aly0705 Aly W.
Investor from Middletown, NJ
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Aly W.

Investor from Middletown, New Jersey

Mar 02 '11, 07:51 AM
2 votes


I bought a water heater for my home from Lowe's 2 years ago, and they sent a licensed plumber to deliver it and he dealt with the permit. Permits are required for it here in NJ.

It was all included in the price and done the same day I bought it in the store. Delivery, installation, removal of old heater. Copy of the permit showed up in the mail a couple of weeks later.

Total cost $400. For the great service and timeliness, it was totally worth it.



Medium 1399465448 avatar riefderrico Katrina Derrico
Atlanta, GA
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Katrina Derrico

from Atlanta, Georgia

Nov 12 '11, 02:42 PM


Guys - come on now. Plumbers are not that expensive and I know some pretty high dollar HVAC companies in town, at least in this neck of the woods - LOL!
@ Mitch - As far as the inspectors go - they do not care about the manufacture specs - only about building codes and safety issues. Some counties require double wall venting, some don't and most codes are written to state that the building official's interpretation over rides the contractors. If you did not install to manufacture specs you will void the warranty and many manufactures require installation to be completed by lic. contractors.
@ Lowe's customers - they now should all require permits to be paid for if required by the individual county on installations only. There are some areas though, where I understand you have to have a lic. even to purchase some plumbing related products.

Permits are required so that the home can be brought up to code. Much of the money the government is doling out right now is for infrastructure improvements. I know here in Atlanta they are working on water systems left and right. Some counties even have an addendum that must be attached to the purchase and sale agreement, requiring the seller to certify certain items have been brought up to code. Not following these rules just leaves your home in a risky situation. Water can do a lot of damage and blown out pipes or water heaters due to improper or incomplete installation (ex. not including expansion tank, piping T&P line outside, forgetting to check the pressure and/or replacing the PRV) can have dire consequences that can cost thousands of dollars in damage that may or may not be covered under your hazard policy if you did not follow the rules.



Medium 1399528082 avatar dickny1e Dick M.
Electrical Contractor from both, Maine & Florida
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Dick M.

Electrical Contractor from both, Maine & Florida

Nov 12 '11, 06:55 PM
1 vote


"As far as the inspectors go - they do not care about the manufacture specs - only about building codes and safety issues."

Most codes say you must go by the manufacturers instructions, At least that's their first line of defense in electrical inspections... And I've never taken a permit for a water heater replacement!!!



Medium 1399484940 avatar kyle930 Kyle Meyers
Residential Landlord from Indianapolis, IN
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Kyle Meyers

Residential Landlord from Indianapolis, Indiana

Nov 12 '11, 07:28 PM


In my reading of the code in Indianapolis, water heater replacement is specifically exempted from the permit requirements for one and two family dwellings. I have had 3 water heaters installed, 1 by an HVAC, 2 by plumber. I did not have to show permits or a license to buy 2 from Home Depot.



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