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    Page 1 of 1

    Support of water heater piping by the water heater allowed?

    New postPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:02 pm
    by jandesilich
    Can the water heater tank be considered as support for the hot and the cold water piping? I would think that the piping should be supported by the building structure, so that when the tank is being replaced that the pipe is still supported.

    Re: Support of water heater piping by the water heater allowed?

    New postPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:54 pm
    by Jerry Peck - Codeman
    Yes, the water heater is the end 'support' for the piping which is attached to the water heater; however, the length of piping being supported needs to meet the limitations in the code.

    From the 2018 IRC (compare to the wording in your local code and address as stated, if different):
    - P2605.1 General.
    - - Piping shall be supported in accordance with the following:
    - - - 1. Piping shall be supported to ensure alignment and prevent sagging, and allow movement associated with the expansion and contraction of the piping system.
    - - - 2. Piping in the ground shall be laid on a firm bed for its entire length, except where support is otherwise provided.
    - - - 3. Hangers and anchors shall be of sufficient strength to maintain their proportional share of the weight of pipe and contents and of sufficient width to prevent distortion to the pipe. Hangers and strapping shall be of approved material that will not promote galvanic action.
    - - - 4. Where horizontal pipes 4 inches (102 mm) and larger convey drainage or waste, and where pipe fitting changes the direction greater than 45 degrees (0.79 rad), rigid bracing or other rigid support arrangements shall be installed to resist movement of the upstream pipe in the direction of flow. A change of flow direction into a vertical pipe shall not require the upstream pipe to be braced.
    - - - 5. Piping shall be supported at distances not to exceed those indicated in Table P2605.1.

    TABLE P2605.1 PIPING SUPPORT gives the maximum spacing between supports for the various types and sizes of pipe, and is different for horizontal runs versus vertical runs. The pipe is "supported" by its connection to the water heater and at/by the wall or ceiling it penetrates through (if it penetrates through a wall or ceiling), or by the support attached to a wall or ceiling if the piping is exposed.

    If, as an example, the pipe comes out of a wall, there will be a support attached to the framing in that wall, and the length of the pipe between where the pipe comes out of the wall and connects to the water heater is limited to the maximum spacing between supports - for a CPVC pipe, 1 inch or smaller in size, the maximum spacing is 3 feet, which means that no more than 3 feet of CPVC pipe is allowed to extend from the wall to the water heater connection (support of the pipe) unless additional support is added.

    If that pipe is PEX, 1 inch and smaller, then no more than 32 inches is allowed to extend from the wall without additional support.

    If that pipe is copper tubing, 1-1/4 inches and smaller, then no more than 6 feet is allowed to extend from the wall without additional support.

    When a water heater is removed for replacement or repair, it is up to the contractor doing the work to not damage the piping, and to not allow damage to the piping, otherwise that contractor would need to make the proper repair to that piping. With a "proper repair" depending on the type and size of the piping. Which is the same as when any fixture or valve is removed for repair or replacement - the contractor is responsible for not damaging the pipe.