About this chapter: Chapter 5 contains regulations concerning the safety of water heating units and hot water storage tanks. Heated (hot or tempered) potable water is needed for plumbing fixtures that are associated with handwashing, bathing, culinary activities and building maintenance. Heated water is commonly stored in large pressurized storage tanks that must be protected against explosion by pressure and temperature relief valves specified in this chapter. This chapter also covers the access requirements to water heaters and hot water storage tanks to allow for the maintenance and replacement of that equipment.
The provisions of this chapter shall govern the materials, design and installation of water heaters and the related safety devices and appurtenances.
Where a combination potable water heating and space heating system requires water for space heating at temperatures greater than 140°F (60°C), a temperature-actuated mixing valve complying with ASSE 1017 shall be provided to limit the water supplied to the potable hot water distribution system to a temperature of 140°F (60°C) or less. The potability of the water shall be maintained throughout the system. Requirements for combination potable water heating and space heating systems shall be in accordance with the International Mechanical Code.
Storage tanks and water heaters installed for domestic hot water shall have the maximum allowable working pressure clearly and indelibly stamped in the metal or marked on a plate welded thereto or otherwise permanently attached. Such markings shall be in a position with access on the outside of the tank so as to make inspection or reinspection readily possible.
Water heaters shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Oil-fired water heaters shall conform to the requirements of this code and the International Mechanical Code. Electric water heaters shall conform to the requirements of this code and provisions of NFPA 70. Gas-fired water heaters shall conform to the requirements of the International Fuel Gas Code. Solar thermal water heating systems shall conform to the requirements of the International Mechanical Code and ICC 900/SRCC 300.
Water heaters using solid, liquid or gas fuel shall not be installed in a room containing air-handling machinery where such room is used as a plenum.
Attics containing a water heater shall be provided with an opening and unobstructed passageway large enough to allow removal of the water heater. The passageway shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in height and 22 inches (559 mm) in width and not more than 20 feet (6096 mm) in length when measured along the centerline of the passageway from the opening to the water heater. The passageway shall have continuous solid flooring not less than 24 inches (610 mm) in width. A level service space not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in length and 30 inches (762 mm) in width shall be present at the front or service side of the water heater. The clear access opening dimensions shall be not less than 20 inches by 30 inches (508 mm by 762 mm) where such dimensions are large enough to allow removal of the water heater.
Appliances shall be provided with access for inspection, service, repair and replacement without disabling the function of a fire-resistance-rated assembly or removing permanent construction, other appliances or any other piping or ducts not connected to the appliance being inspected, serviced, repaired or replaced. A level working space not less than 30 inches in length and 30 inches in width (762 mm by 762 mm) shall be provided in front of the control side to service an appliance.
The cold water branch line from the main water supply line to each hot water storage tank or water heater shall be provided with a valve, located near the equipment and serving only the hot water storage tank or water heater. The valve shall not interfere or cause a disruption of the cold water supply to the remainder of the cold water system. The valve shall be provided with access on the same floor level as the water heater served.
The method of connecting a circulating water heater to the tank shall provide proper circulation of water through the water heater. The pipe or tubes required for the installation of appliances that will draw from the water heater or storage tank shall comply with the provisions of this code for material and installation.
Storage water heaters operating above atmospheric pressure shall be provided with an approved, self-closing (levered) pressure relief valve and temperature relief valve or combination thereof. The relief valve shall conform to ANSI Z21.22. The relief valve shall not be used as a means of controlling thermal expansion.
Such valves shall be installed in the shell of the water heater tank. Temperature relief valves shall be located in the tank so as to be actuated by the water in the top 6 inches (152 mm) of the tank served. For installations with separate storage tanks, the approved, self-closing (levered) pressure relief valve and temperature relief valve or combination thereof conforming to ANSI Z21.22 valves shall be installed on both the storage water heater and storage tank. There shall not be a check valve or shutoff valve between a relief valve and the heater or tank served.
Temperature and pressure relief valves, or combinations thereof, and energy cutoff devices shall bear the label of an approved agency and shall have a temperature setting of not more than 210°F (99°C) and a pressure setting not exceeding the tank or water heater manufacturer's rated working pressure or 150 psi (1035 kPa), whichever is less. The relieving capacity of each pressure relief valve and each temperature relief valve shall equal or exceed the heat input to the water heater or storage tank.
The discharge piping serving a pressure relief valve, temperature relief valve or combination thereof shall:
- Not be directly connected to the drainage system.
- Discharge through an air gap located in the same room as the water heater.
- Not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the valve served and shall discharge full size to the air gap.
- Serve a single relief device and shall not connect to piping serving any other relief device or equipment.
- Discharge to the floor, to the pan serving the water heater or storage tank, to a waste receptor or to the outdoors.
- Discharge in a manner that does not cause personal injury or structural damage.
- Discharge to a termination point that is readily observable by the building occupants.
- Not be trapped.
- Be installed so as to flow by gravity.
- Terminate not more than 6 inches (152 mm) above and not less than two times the discharge pipe diameter above the floor or flood level rim of the waste receptor.
- Not have a threaded connection at the end of such piping.
- Not have valves or tee fittings.
- Be constructed of those materials listed in Section 605.4 or materials tested, rated and approved for such use in accordance with ASME A112.4.1.
- Be one nominal size larger than the size of the relief valve outlet, where the relief valve discharge piping is installed with insert fittings. The outlet end of such tubing shall be fastened in place.
Where a storage tank-type water heater or a hot water storage tank is installed in a location where water leakage from the tank will cause damage, the tank shall be installed in a pan constructed of one of the following:
- Galvanized steel or aluminum of not less than 0.0236 inch (0.6010 mm) in thickness.
- Plastic not less than 0.036 inch (0.9 mm) in thickness.
- Other approved materials.
A plastic pan shall not be installed beneath a gas-fired water heater.
The pan shall be not less than 11/2 inches (38 mm) in depth and shall be of sufficient size and shape to receive all dripping or condensate from the tank or water heater. The pan shall be drained by an indirect waste pipe having a diameter of not less than 3/4 inch (19 mm). Piping for safety pan drains shall be of those materials listed in Table 605.4.
The pan drain shall extend full size and terminate over a suitably located indirect waste receptor or floor drain or extend to the exterior of the building and terminate not less than 6 inches (152 mm) and not more than 24 inches (610 mm) above the adjacent ground surface. Where a pan drain was not previously installed, a pan drain shall not be required for a replacement water heater installation.