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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2016

Is there an updated code in Fairfax County, VA for the gallons of water in a gas water heater ?

I currently have a 50 gallon gas water heater and was told by a company that we were not up to code and needed a 75 gallon because of the size of tub in our master bath.

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1 Answer


Have I missed something all these years ? I have never seen a building code stipulating a specific water heater size for certain tub size - recommended yes, not mandatory. Check with your local building official on this.

I suspect, sight unseen, since he said "per code" rather than "recommended", that the vendor may be trying to bump you above a 50 gallon water heater because once you get above that point, under the new national EPA regulations, you have to go to a heat-pump water heater, which is far and away more expensive than the 50% increase you might expect compared to a 50 gallon based on capacity alone. You are talking probably $1000 plus additional (so roughly 100% more), and possibly more because you need new electric hookup to the water heater for the heat pump, and new flue to the outside wall because you cannot use old through-the-roof one with most models (a few have blower units capable of that, not many).

You said "told by a company" - if talking about replacing your existing because it is dead or dying, check with buyilding official or competitors on local code requirements - sounds fishy to me. If this was by a home inspector, ask for a copy of the applicable code section. If by someone who came to your door - I smell scam - there are a growing number of "contractors" going around telling people parts of their neighbor's houses have been found to be out of code compliance, and as long as they are "in the neighborhood" they will check yours for free - and of course then "recommend" replacement.

And certainly if looking at replacing, get several bids unless you are SURE the first one is a good deal AND you have pearsonal reason to trust the vendor.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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