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  1. #1
    Octav Badea's Avatar
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    Default Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving vehicle

    Hello forum, I am purchasing a new home in Los Angeles County and the builder (DR Horton, the largest builder in the country) seems less than concerned with safety, or interested in listening to customers. Specifically, I am concerned that the tankless water heater, installed on a wall in the garage, could be easily hit by a vehicle.

    The builder claims this is code compliant since the model home (pictured here) passed inspection. I don't see how this can be, since the heater is protruding so much from the wall, and the garage door opening is actually closer to the wall than the heater. A car wouldn't even have to go in at an angle to hit the heater.

    I was not able to find a specific, clear code that applies in CA, pointing out why this is an improper installation. I think the phrase "protection from moving vehicle" is a bit vague for the builder, and I'm not sure how I can clearly convince them this is is not according to code.

    The only provision I found that seems related is from a 2003 International Fuel Gas Code, section 305.5, that says gas appliances in private garages have to be installed at least 6 ft from the ground, unless they are protected from vehicle damage. This would suggest the heater be placed higher up (unlikely to be possible given the height of the garage), or on an outside wall (my preferred solution, to which the builder objects).

    My questions are: 1) is my safety concern valid? and 2) if so, what can I do to convince the builder to address this?

    Thanks guys.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Please delete this and use the other identical thread you started.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    so so, California
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Quote Originally Posted by Octav Badea View Post
    Hello forum, I am purchasing a new home in Los Angeles County and the builder (DR Horton, the largest builder in the country) seems less than concerned with safety, or interested in listening to customers. Specifically, I am concerned that the tankless water heater, installed on a wall in the garage, could be easily hit by a vehicle.

    The builder claims this is code compliant since the model home (pictured here) passed inspection. I don't see how this can be, since the heater is protruding so much from the wall, and the garage door opening is actually closer to the wall than the heater. A car wouldn't even have to go in at an angle to hit the heater.

    I was not able to find a specific, clear code that applies in CA, pointing out why this is an improper installation. I think the phrase "protection from moving vehicle" is a bit vague for the builder, and I'm not sure how I can clearly convince them this is is not according to code.

    The only provision I found that seems related is from a 2003 International Fuel Gas Code, section 305.5, that says gas appliances in private garages have to be installed at least 6 ft from the ground, unless they are protected from vehicle damage. This would suggest the heater be placed higher up (unlikely to be possible given the height of the garage), or on an outside wall (my preferred solution, to which the builder objects).

    My questions are: 1) is my safety concern valid? and 2) if so, what can I do to convince the builder to address this?

    Thanks guys.
    I see this in my area LA county, all the time. Here, AHJ approves this install. Im guessing its because its behind that front garage exterior wall. that said, when its installed on a wall which makes it accessible to vehicle damage I've seen bollards in front of the units.
    You may want to check you vent termination. Typically, with new construction and 1 year warranty inspections I find it sloped towards the unit without a proper condensate collector hose hooked up.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Thanks Marc, I'm surprised this happens so often and I'm wondering how many people have fought it before. I'm not sure if I understand your explanation correctly - are you suggesting the inspector approved this because the heater is not installed on the garage door wall? Would you flag this during one of your 1-year warranty inspections?

    Thanks for the tip on the condensate collector, I will definitely check for it in the model home.


  5. #5
    Octav Badea's Avatar
    Octav Badea Guest

    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Please delete this and use the other identical thread you started.
    Thanks for posting here and in the other thread Jim. My apologies for the dupe - I started this thread yesterday and when I couldn't find it when looking for threads associated with my account, I thought somehow I failed to submit it properly.

    I tried now to look for a delete option but I can't find it. If there is a way to merge the posts and keep the helpful answers please let me know, happy to do it of course.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Heres one in a 2015 casa....LA county

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Thanks Marc, similar problem indeed. I talked to CA Housing Commission and IAMPO (the organization that wrote the uniform plumbing code) and they both agree it's an unsafe installation that the code is trying to prevent. I will likely go through the City's appeal process to have the builder install the heater to the outside wall instead. If anyone is interested, here are the relevant code sections:

    2013 California mechanical code 308.1.1
    2013 California plumbing code 507.13.1
    2015 Uniform Plumbing Code 507.13.1 (which CA adopted without modifications)
    International Fuel Gas Code section 305.5


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    so so, California
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Quote Originally Posted by Octav Badea View Post
    Thanks Marc, similar problem indeed. I talked to CA Housing Commission and IAMPO (the organization that wrote the uniform plumbing code) and they both agree it's an unsafe installation that the code is trying to prevent. I will likely go through the City's appeal process to have the builder install the heater to the outside wall instead. If anyone is interested, here are the relevant code sections:

    2013 California mechanical code 308.1.1
    2013 California plumbing code 507.13.1
    2015 Uniform Plumbing Code 507.13.1 (which CA adopted without modifications)
    International Fuel Gas Code section 305.5
    Hey man...you want a job?

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  9. #9
    Octav Badea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tankless water heater private garage installation - no protection from moving veh

    Ha! I do feel like I've taken a second job just trying to fix this. Unfortunately the only pay is getting things done they way they should be done, and that's not even certain yet.


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