Question about code

If a property was built in 1983, and a water heater is recently replaced, does the new installation have to meet current codes? Yes, the water heater that was replaced was 37 years old.

Yes it does.

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Does that include the TPRV piping? I am in SC. SC has adopted the 2018 IRC.

I ask because I wrote up a discharge pipe that was piped upwards. The plumber, a close friend of the current owner, later called me and said that it was acceptable because the code is applied based off of when the property was built. He actually stated that new installations would still be based off of codes in 1983 not current ones.

I’m also a licensed plumber in SC and he is 100% wrong. Give me a minute and I’ll get the code for you.


Awesome, thanks!

I told him that wasn’t right, but he was extremely argumentative. Lol, I ended the conversation stating that if something went wrong my butt would be covered.

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Common sense says why bother updating codes if they aren’t going to be applied?


Correct and the way this code is written the entire plumbing system doesn’t have to be updated. However any components that are altered need to be installed in accordance to new construction standards.

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Okay, so lets say that it is a villa on the 4th floor. The original piping is piped upwards and runs into the wall and then down through the wall. How do you rectify that? I don’t think you can. I would assume elevating the water heater would be the only way to pipe it towards the flow of gravity, right?

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By the way I’ve been plumbing since 1986 and running a TPRV discharge pipe uphill was never acceptable.


Sure you can. It’s not your responsibility to come up with a solution however it is your responsibility to call out a safety issue like you have done. Drop the ball into the plumbers lap and let him figure it out that’s why he gets paid the big bucks.


I understand that. I am just getting clarification for myself.

I understand to make it correct there would have to be some remodeling. If you ever need to get a hold of me just look up Beach House Plumbing in North Myrtle Beach I can answer any questions. I’m always being contacted by local home inspectors for code questions :slightly_smiling_face:


I most definitely will. Thank you for offering!

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Your welcome

That plumber is loonie!

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I try not to get into discussions with repair contractors or current owners…it’s a waste of time…spell out what you want to say in the report…but make sure you are right…

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As a code inspector / home inspector I’ve lived and inspected in 5-6 states. Some licensed - some not.

In everyone of those REPLACING a water heater required a PERMIT / code inspection (although most were not done). If they had gotten a permit / code inspection they should bring THAT 1 thing to current code … BUT often the code inspector would let it slide IF bringing it to code was too onerous OR they were good buddies with the plumber.

I would write it and keep walking. What they do / don’t do OR how to do it is of no concern to you

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