Do I Need a Permit to Change a Hot Water Heater in Nevada?


The average life of a hot water heater is just 12 years. If you’re a homeowner you can expect to install a hot water heater at least once and possibly several times depending on the length of time you own the home. If you are reading this because your hot water heater is knocking, banging, and creaking, you already know you need to replace it. By the end of this article your questions about permits will be answered, and you’ll be ready to begin the process.

Need help with replacing your hot water heater? Contact Plumbing Kings for water heater repair services.

Do I Need a Permit to Change a Hot Water Heater in Nevada?

There are plenty of home improvements that do not require a permit. Unfortunately, replacing your hot water heater is not one of them. According to the Clark County Water Heater Code, a permit is required because an inspection will need to be done to make sure it’s properly installed. If it’s not, there could be serious consequences, as hot water heaters run on a combination of intense pressure and heat. Because of this, they can be incredibly dangerous when they’re improperly installed.

How dangerous can an improperly installed hot water heater potentially be? They can cause:

  • The growth of legionella bacteria
  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Water leaks that lead to mold
  • Carbon monoxide asphyxiation
  • Scalding
  • Fuel leaks

According to the Centers for Disease Control, improperly installed and faulty water heaters cause thousands of house fires, hundreds of injuries, and dozens of deaths in a single year. Carbon monoxide poisoning alone sends tens of thousands to the emergency room each year and results in hundreds of deaths. These sobering statistics make the thought of paying for a permit a lot easier to bear.

In an episode of the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters show they deliberately caused a hot water heater to explode by plugging the relief valve, effectively turning it into a rocket that shot hundreds of feet into the air. Now imagine what would happen if your relief valve was blocked while your hot water heater was in your garage, and you can see why having a permit is so important.

Related: Are Hot Water Heater Straps Required in Nevada?

How Much Does a Water Heater Permit Cost?

As of August 12, 2019, the total cost of a hot water heater permit in Clark County is estimated to be $283. This figure will change depending on the specifics of your situation and your location.

To obtain a permit, visit Clark County Construction Services online. You’ll need to create an account if you want to use the website. On the site, you will find the link to Permits and Fees on the upper right side of the page. Choose the Building link on the left, and you’ll see the option to apply for a permit. Entering your information is a lengthy process, so expect to spend some time completing the forms. Once that’s done, you’ll have the option to Pay Now. After you’ve paid for your permit, it will be sent to your email address.

Do I Need a Plumber Instead? How Much Does Labor Cost to Install a Water Heater?

While homeowners can install their own hot water heaters, it is not advisable, given the dangers posed by high pressures and electricity. Hiring a professional means having someone who is up to speed on the local plumbing codes and knows how to avoid costly and dangerous mistakes. If you have rental properties, you will not be permitted to install a hot water heater on that property yourself. Because it would be your tenants whose safety is potentially on the line, you are required by law to use a licensed plumber for your hot water heater replacement.

How much does hot water heater installation cost? If you hire a plumber, expect to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars for the installation process. These costs are difficult to estimate ahead of time because a plumber needs to evaluate the difficulty of moving your heater. The type of hot water heater you choose and the condition of other elements, such as its pipes, will also affect your installation price.

Although you may be dreading the thought of paying for a permit alone, the money you’ll spend hiring a professional licensed plumber is well worth the investment. It’ll save you hours of time and headaches and have you back in a hot shower in no time. If you’ve been running out of hot water right away thanks to your old hot water heater, you know how valuable that is. In fact, in Las Vegas during the summer, many would say it’s priceless.

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