Water Heaters & Other Gas Appliances


Installation & Location

Water heaters and other gas appliances should NEVER be installed near an area where flammable liquids, gases or explosive materials are used or stored. Vapors from these materials may migrate and be ignited by the pilot or burner flame.

Codes may require water heaters and other gas appliances installed in residential garages to have all burners and ignition devices at least 18 inches from the floor. Manufacturer installation and instructions should be followed for all appliances. Only use qualified, licensed service personnel to install and service gas appliances.

Combustion Air Requirements

All gas appliances must be provided with a supply of fresh air. Operating a gas appliance without a sufficient supply of fresh air can produce carbon monoxide. Refer to manufacturer installation and operating instructions for more information.

Water Heater Thermostat Settings

Any water heater thermostat setting above 120˚F may cause severe burns or other injuries, particularly to children or disabled or elderly persons. Read the water heater instruction manual before setting the temperature.

Customer-Owned Piping

Your local gas company owns all gas piping up to the meter. The customer owns and is responsible for maintaining gas piping that is beyond the meter, whether the piping is above ground or underground.

Metallic lines may corrode if unprotected. If you own any underground or exposed, unprotected piping, it should be inspected periodically. If unsafe conditions or damage to a line is discovered, repairs should be made immediately. Plumbing contractors, heating contractors and your local gas company can assist in locating, inspecting and repairing buried lines. However, since these lines do belong to you, costs may be involved.
If you have any questions concerning the ownership of any piping, please contact your local gas company for more information.

Any excavation near buried gas and other utility lines should be done by hand following the location of those lines. To have utility-owned lines located at no cost to you, contact Alabama 811 at 811 or 1-800-292-8525 at least two working days before you dig.

Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing

Like all gas piping systems, corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) must be properly installed. If your home or business has corrugated stainless steel tubing, it is strongly recommended that you determine if it is properly bonded and grounded. A qualified professional should ground and bond your CSST in accordance with the manufacturer’s design and installation guide. Grounding and bonding reduce the chances of a natural gas leak or fire from electrical/ lightning energy.


Some gas equipment, such as unvented space heaters, logs and most residential gas ranges, is specifically designed and certified to operate safely without a vent. However, all central heating furnaces, many larger space heaters (floor and wall furnaces) and all water heaters must be

properly vented to operate safely so that the products of combustion are expelled outside the home.

The homeowner should periodically inspect the entire visible length of these vents for signs of corrosion severe enough to cause perforation or joint separation as well as any signs of vent blockage. Should any of these conditions exist, contact a qualified service technician for a more detailed inspection. A routine annual inspection should include an inspection of the venting system.

Sidewall vents also are common in new heating and water heating systems, especially high efficiency units. If a vent becomes buried in snow or obstructed by a shrub, it may shut down your equipment – or draw exhaust fumes into your home, which can produce high levels of CO inside your house.

To prevent these problems, clear obstructions around the vent approximately 48 inches in all directions so that your equipment can discharge exhaust. Also make sure vents are installed no less than 12 inches above the ground.