Plumbing info And so called experts contradicting my report

[FONT=Arial][size=2]So I do an inspection yesterday and write the following: Water heater should be
raised 18 inches off the floor due to the fact that combustible materials are stored in this room. A licensed plumber is recommended to evaluate and estimate repairs before the close of escrow.

This is a 1962 home near ASU being used as a rental for 4 college girls so it has a 1 year old 75 gallon Gas water heater

Here is the e mail I receive today from the listing agent I removed the names
[FONT=“Calibri”], I did call two resources concerning the home inspection report issue that stated the “Water Heater should be raised 18 inches off the floor . . . “.[size=3]

Per -------------------- (General Contractor) he said if the home was built in 1962 the current owner does not have to change the height of the water heater. He further said, it is recommended as a safety issue, and may be current code in some municipalities, but it would have been grandfathered in. Per ----------- (Home Inspector) he said this would have been a pre-existing condition with no obligation on the part of the owner to make changes.

Here is my reply [FONT=Times New Roman]
Per the city of Tempe if it was a like for like replacement it would not require a permit that means exact size replacement. If you are changing capacity which most likely was done because 75 gallon water heaters were not a standard size it would require a building permit and fall under city code Sec M1307

*Section M1307.3. Elevation of ignition source. *Appliances having an ignition source shall be elevated such that the source of ignition is not less than 18 inches (457 mm) above the floor in garages. For the purpose of this section, rooms or spaces that are not part of the living space of a dwelling unit and that communicate directly with a private garage through openings shall be considered to be part of the private garage.

So Basically a permit was required to install this water heater which was obviously not issued and if it was then Tempe would have required it to be done to code and FYI they may have also required it to be protected from automobile damage as well.

The city wanted me to give the property owners address and information which I politely declined but if you want to get the city involved just call them. FYI after the fact permits cost more money and are sometimes a big headache.

Also if you read the instruction manual for that water heater it clearly states** **

“This water heater MUST NOT be installed in any location where gasoline

or flammable vapors are likely to be present, unless the installation is such to eliminate the probable ignition of gasoline or flammable vapors.

**Water heaters in residential garages must be installed so that all burner(s) and burner ignition device(s) are located not less than 18 inches (45.7 cm) above the floor and be located, or protected, to avoid physical damage. For other installations refer to local codes. In the absence of local codes, the water heater must be installed in compliance with the National Fuel Gas Code, (ANSI Z223.1- Latest Edition), or in Canada CAN/CGA B149.1 Natural Gas Installation Code (Latest Edition)

or CAN/CGA B149.2 Propane Installation Code (Latest Edition).”

So bottom line Permits that most likely were required were not issued and instructions were not followed**. **



I don’t discuss my report with listing agents nor vendors unless they are my clients.

They listing agent sent the info to the buyers agent contradicting mine so my e mail is to the buyer and his agent, and they will forward it to the list if they want to

75 gal water heater for 4 college girls? Do you put in the report that the water heater was undersized?

So, is it in the garage? Code was cited concerning garage installation, but it was never stated that it was actually in the garage.

Water has been replaced and would fall under the new requirements , refer to Plumber not GC . Don’t change your report

A one year old water heater sold in Alberta would have been required to have FVIR protection, did the water heater in question have FVIR?


What the op said is correct, however he is waisting his time with the listing agent. She had no business hiring a plumber to go and look at it. His clients hired him to satisfy their inspection conditions, so the opinion of the listing agent’s buddy plumber has no bering. The inspection was for the buyers, and the buyers definitely wouldn’t have asked the listing agent to hire a plumber on their behalf in order to trump their selected home inspector.

Happens all the time around here as well. I just remember Isaiah 30:15 - In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

Know you’re right when doing something, be confident (not arrogant) about it, and don’t get pulled into arguments or justifying it.

I posted this in another section, modify it for your situation:

Our Position: Whenever we express concern about the size or safety of an electrical system in a house, someone finds an “electrician” to refute our findings. Our reports are based on years of experience inspecting houses. If anyone, including an electrician, wants to find error in our words, we suggest that we will gladly back off provided that person certifies the system is now, and will remain, safe to use. This certification must be in writing and include his/her signature and license number. If they are not willing to do that, they should not be offering an opinion. Our reports are signed, and we stand behind what we say.

You are paid for your opinions.

Getting in a pissing match with others is pointless no matter how right you are.

You made the right call and it is up to your client to pursue any remedy.

I do not site code as I am not a code official and have no authority to enforce anything.

I do site typical practices and manufacturers instructions.

Going beyond that only causes trouble as you have found out.

I see nothing wrong with citing code for clarifiactiaon purposes. In this case the code citation backed up hus statement that the water heater needed to be raised. It should have ended all discussion.

As for not telling the building department the address, why not. They would have gone out there and made them pull a permit and raise the heater. You are only helping your client, and putting the agent in his or her place. When they spout out like this, they deseve to suffer the consequences. Talking to and having the building deparmtne on your side can be one of your greatest assets.

If the client wants to call the ahj, great.

The HI should stay out of it.

Other an ego massage its a losing proposition .

There are times that you just can’t explain or fix stupid. The home I was inspecting had the airgap installed under the sink, inside the cabinet. I called it out and explained the issue to my client. The seller’s neighbor, a licensed plumber, said it was fine.

I recommended my client not use that “plumber” for any type of repairs or information. He was responding out of loyalty to his neighbor and not as a licensed or qualified plumber.


I’m not sure what the issue is with the air gap inside the cabinet.

Is the air gap FL too low to ensure no cross-connection with the sink/DW?

I’m not sure what the issue with the air gap inside the cabinet is.

Is the air gap FL too low to ensure no cross-connection with the DW?

HouseMaster Logo, Home Inspections. Done Right. Guaranteed.

Do you know what an “air gap” is, and how it operates? I recommend you Google installation instructions, and read it over and over. Hopefully comprehension will settle in!

You didn’t use any emoticons so I must assume you are serious. My response would be, really? :roll:

If the air gap performs as designed, and there is a clog in the line, it will drain all the water into the cabinets. Then there is the installation requirements by air gap manufacturers. Then there is COMMON SENSE. Really? :roll:

Yup, I was serious.
I’m new to the business, learning every day. Even common sense isn’t necessarily common. :frowning:
Thanks for your gentle answer. I do appreciate it.

Now, let the spears for the newbie fly! I can take it! :stuck_out_tongue:


Really guy? Going to “drop a dime” on someone? May as well call the County to come out and do a full audit on the entire house? I’m sure that old of a house has LOTS of “unpermitted” work. How do you even know they will “respond”? You’ve been the lead detective?

Sounds like one is taking their butt hurt to the next level and creating drama.