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Old 01-23-2016, 07:02 AM
Location: Houston, TX
38 posts, read 103,119 times
Reputation: 40


Hi All!

I had a plumber come out yesterday to get my water heater going again after CenterPoint turned the gas off to it during a gas-leak inspection. Long story short: he told me that I have several code violations which are illegal. He said the double walled vent pipes from my water heater and furnace need to extend above the roof top (they currently terminate right at roof level). He said I have an illegal configuration in my furnace in that I have flexible gas pipe in a spot where I'm required to have hardline pipe. He also commented that I don't have any gas sediment traps on my water heater and furnace and that I need those.

My water heater won't be working for a while since I had to order parts from the manufacturer and they are closed due to inclement weather on the East coast. Then the plumber said when I do get the parts, he won't do the work until my code violations are fixed.

My questions is: where can I find a copy of the residential home codes to confirm these claims? I live in 77095 where we are allowed to light fireworks, so maybe the codes are different for this part of Houston than other parts? I don't know. It was just a bunch of expensive sounding bad news to get laid atop the fact that my family won't have hot water for a couple weeks. Good news welcome!
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Old 01-23-2016, 10:24 AM
1,235 posts, read 1,851,669 times
Reputation: 1087
Can't help on where to get a copy of the code (although I'm sure someone will soon) but I would get a few more plumbers in there to have a look and see what they say. From my experience, it seems like every plumber sees things differently.

Also, most of this stuff is grandfathered. If it was code at the time of build, then you don't have to make changes to it, as long as you are not modifying that area of the plumbing/gas piping.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:33 PM
10,427 posts, read 4,072,182 times
Reputation: 14524
Brown Book Shop has the codes. They are copyrighted, and not always available online.

A quick search shows that you should have hard pipe coming out of your furnace for the flex pipe to connect to. That's to keep the flex pipe from rubbing against the furnace and causing a leak.

Gas sediment traps are a good idea. We have those on our new water heater and furnace.

Another search shows that the double wall vents should extend 12 inches above the roof. That's to prevent flue gas from entering the house.

You can try another plumber, but I would at least have the hard pipe to the furnace installed, and extend the vent pipes.
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Old 01-23-2016, 03:06 PM
2,755 posts, read 3,523,302 times
Reputation: 4429
Bring it up to code. Your family's safety is more important than the cash.
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Old 01-25-2016, 12:14 AM
Location: Houston
723 posts, read 1,765,877 times
Reputation: 553
If your home was built decades ago, the plumber wasn't lying to you. Also, due to liability issue, plumbers wouldn't just bring up to code part of it, and leave the rest not up to code. Not long ago, I had to make the same decision.

My home was built in the mid 70's and I had gone through several fixes to bring it up to code. Water heater ventilation was one. I had 3 plumbers telling me the same but their price quotes varied quite a bit. So, I recommend that you get several estimates for the same job.

Remember how we once found out about lead poisoning in paint? After that, homes had to bring it up to code with no-lead paints. My home had wood shingle roof originally which later was no longer allowed due to fire hazard. That too, had to go.

Residential home building codes have changed over the years, mostly it's for our safety. I agree with Txdemo, bring it up to code. In the long run, it's not only for safety reason but it will save you headaches from further repairs as well.
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:34 AM
5,960 posts, read 14,511,206 times
Reputation: 6664
Default Wood Singles...

FYI, wood shingles are allowed. It is your insurance company who may not like it.
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