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Thread: Water heater install question.

  1. #1
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    Water heater install question.

    For the companies that do HVAC only and do not have a plumbing department.

    Do you guys sell/install gas water heaters in new construction?

    We have contractors that want us to install gas water heaters. Recently a plumber confronted me and told me that is his work and we should give all of the gas water heater work to him. Every HVAC company that I have ever worked for has installed gas water heaters and this is the first time a plumber has brought it up.


    What do you guys do? Is the work reserved for plumbers or would you do the work if the contractor wanted you to?

  2. #2
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    We do tons of water heaters. Now I could be wrong about this because I don't handle the permits and paperwork for the company but I believe that in a lot of localities you're allowed to replace things like water heaters, toilets, faucets etc. without a plumbing license. But if you're in new construction or doing a remodel and need to run water lines to the appliance/fixture you need a plumbing license for that.

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  4. #3
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    We don't run any water lines.

  5. #4
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    This was a sore spot when I was involved in the residential new construction market back in the early 2000's. Why were the plumbers getting the mark-up on a water heater they supplied, when we were doing the flue, gas piping, and preliminary light-off. The residential new construction market is very difficult to make a good profit when dealing with big home builders, thus we decided start supplying the water heater along with the furnace to get that additional profit. It did not go well at first but things calmed down. Since then as part of the finish, we would do all the registers and vents, thermostat, AC, and water heater. For code here we were also doing the seismic straps, PT piping, and expansion tank, so those had a bit of mark-up on them, too.

    That was long ago, but I see nothing wrong with anyone installing a water heater as long as their jurisdiction's codes allow it and they have proper liability insurance. Many HVAC liability insurance companies require special clauses to cover water heaters, evaporative coolers, etc. Water damage is the number one claim for insurance companies.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashent1 View Post
    For the companies that do HVAC only and do not have a plumbing department.

    Do you guys sell/install gas water heaters in new construction?

    We have contractors that want us to install gas water heaters. Recently a plumber confronted me and told me that is his work and we should give all of the gas water heater work to him. Every HVAC company that I have ever worked for has installed gas water heaters and this is the first time a plumber has brought it up.


    What do you guys do? Is the work reserved for plumbers or would you do the work if the contractor wanted you to?
    Did you tell the plumber that when they stop installing forced air furnaces, AC, and heat pumps you might stop installing water heaters? Lol



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  8. #6
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    Here in Huntsville you must have a plumbers license to install a water heater of any kind. The director of the inspection department is extremely clear about this. Don't ask me how I know. But you can tune them up with your HVAC license! (or your company must have the license)

  9. #7
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    I think this really depends on where you live. Here in CA you need a plumbing license to install water heaters as far as I know. The HVAC license does not cover any work not related to HVAC.

  10. #8
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    Here in NJ, your not allowed to install water heater without a plumbing license.

    An HVAC license is not enough.

    but if your the homeowner they allow it.

    But we are allowed to install a boiler system as long as it does not connect to potable hot water.

    Makes no sense. I've argued it all over the state.

    Plumbers Board will not budge and allow us.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuctLife7926 View Post
    Here in NJ, your not allowed to install water heater without a plumbing license.

    An HVAC license is not enough.

    but if your the homeowner they allow it.

    But we are allowed to install a boiler system as long as it does not connect to potable hot water.

    Makes no sense. I've argued it all over the state.

    Plumbers Board will not budge and allow us.
    That's freaking pathetic! And a bureaucratic scam!

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  12. #10
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    We turn away 1-2 water heater changes a week because we don't have a plumbing licence.

  13. #11
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    I got really tired of plumbers just setting a water heater, plumbing the gas and demanding that we vent and gas. This with absolutely no consideration of WHERE the vent would be run and terminated... Nor any thought of compensation for the work!

    I started selling W/H with furnace. Local AHJ says as long as the plumbers make the water connections, we were good to go.
    A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  14. #12
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    For retrofits we can swap them out and I have a steady contract doing about a dozen a week but for new construction we do the gas and venting and then let the plumbers handle the rest. Water heaters are a weird trade overlap but I think the majority of the work is gas fitter anyway the plumbing part of it is just two small water lines not exactly something to get all bent out of shape over.

  15. #13
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    Here in the not so Wild West for new construction:
    The Water Heater falls under Plumbing Licensure (State board) due to "Connection to the Potable water supply". That requires either A Masters License or a Company Plumbing License w/Master employed.
    On Resi the Gas piping was always done by the Plumbing Contactor, again Licensure. On Commercial the Gas piping was almost always done by the Mechanical contractor not the Plumber.

    The Flue (chimney) was a toss up. If it was forced air (by the HVAC guy) they did it. If it was a Boiler job the Plumber did it. The general agreement was always If the HVAC guy did the Flue he would put in the correct Reducing Tee for the Water Heater and the Plumber always ran the Gas, with Drip Leg and shut off for the furnace. about 75% of the time the Plumber did the final Gas connect to the Furnace.

    In Residential HVAC there is no State Licensure, just Municipal HVAC or Business licensing with minimum insurance. Only Plumbing and Electrical (and Stationary Engineer) are governed by the State board.
    If sense were so common everyone would have it !
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  16. #14
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    Here, I am not allowed to even run the gas line to the furnace. Code states that as HVACR contractor I can install the furnace to the provided gas shutoff. Similar on the electrical side, we can install to the disconnect, no more.

    I wouldn't want to be confused with the plumber anyway....
    Philippians 4:13
    I can do all things in him that strengthen me.
    Apostle Paul inspired by GOD.

  17. #15
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    Here in VA we are allowed to install water heaters. For gas lines you need a gas fitter license, HVAC nor plumbers license works. I have HVAC and gasfitter, I have no desire to chase turds, so plumbers can run all of the waste pvc and PEX garbage they want, it doesn't bother me one bit.

    I get a good laugh when a Rinnai customer can't get the plumber that installed the unit to figure out why it's not working.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

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  19. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgenius33 View Post
    Here in VA we are allowed to install water heaters. For gas lines you need a gas fitter license, HVAC nor plumbers license works. I have HVAC and gasfitter, I have no desire to chase turds, so plumbers can run all of the waste pvc and PEX garbage they want, it doesn't bother me one bit.

    I get a good laugh when a Rinnai customer can't get the plumber that installed the unit to figure out why it's not working.
    That's EXACTLY the laugh I get when a customer can't get the electrician that installed their generac to figure out why it's not working.

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  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan Madera View Post
    I got really tired of plumbers just setting a water heater, plumbing the gas and demanding that we vent and gas. This with absolutely no consideration of WHERE the vent would be run and terminated... Nor any thought of compensation for the work!

    I started selling W/H with furnace. Local AHJ says as long as the plumbers make the water connections, we were good to go.
    Demanding huh??? There is absolutely no way I would be a plumber's vent b*tch. I would just simply refuse to do it. If they want to hoard water heaters then they need to suffer the consequences.

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