What do windows and water heaters have in common in San Carlos?

June 4, 2009



Strange bedfellows…

It's certainly an odd question, but they do indeed have something in common:

They both require permits if you're planning on replacing them.

I would imagine that most homeowners weren't aware of this fact — I know I certainly wasn't.   You need a permit to replace your hot water heater? Nobody wants to suffer through cold showers while they're waiting for their permit to be issued.  But this actually makes sense, especially if a you're planning on increasing the capacity of your water heater.

Why?  Because in order to upgrade the size of your water heater, you may very likely have to increase the size of the exhaust flue as well.   A 50-gallon tank requires a different diameter flue pipe than a 75 gallon tank, and not matching them up properly is not only a violation of building code but also a potential safety issue.   Even if you aren't increasing the size of the heater, the City wants to ensure that they are installed properly in accordance with the latest building code.

More info?

For more information on the requirements for replacing windows or water heaters, visit these two links:

Window Replacement Requirements

Water Heater Replacement Requirements

If you have additional questions, contact Chris Valley in the San Carlos Building Department at 802-4262, or you can drop him an email at cvalley@cityofsancarlos.org


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  1. alphonse on June 5, 2009 at 7:26 am

    It costs $1400 to replace a water heater with permits. It cost $700 w/o permits for the same size heater. Guess which one I chose?

  2. fred on June 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Not sure where alphonse got those numbers — when I had my hot water heater replaced last year, the permit cost $85, I went down and got it myself and it took about 15 minutes. The inspector was in and out of here in 5 minutes when it came time to check the work.

  3. Michael on June 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    agreed Fred. We spent about $1000 in total with the permit; not sure that the permit adds any value when they were literally in the garage for 2 minutes.

    I found a great way to save money on the water heater…no need to replace the strapping unless it is damaged and the aluminum pan is half as much at home dept vs the installer providing it; I saved $60 there.

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