Q. My water heater is leaking. The plumber I hired said it would cost $150 for a water heater code violation. Do you know what he is talking about? Is there such a thing?
I reached out to the Code Enforcement division where you live, in Columbia, S.C., and spoke to a few local plumbers who are highly rated on Angie’s List. I would say fines are unlikely for leaking residential water heaters.
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the leak. A leak can cause an increase in your water bills, and it could lead to severe water damage to your home. A leak could also make the water heater unsafe to operate. So I recommend you contact at least two more reputable, licensed plumbers in your area for an estimate on the repairs.
In any case, a plumber is not the person to impose or collect on such a fine. If you think the plumber was trying to collect, contact city licensing officials. It’s possible that what your plumber was trying to convey is that it would cost $150 to repair the water heater in a manner that would make it compliant with the International Plumbing Code.
While code violations are unlikely to lead to a fine here, there are a couple of scenarios where a leaky water heater could draw a fine from your city’s property maintenance inspectors. It could happen if you lived in an apartment and a leak caused damage to the apartment below. If you owned a rental property and the water heater leaked, the renters could complain to the city property maintenance inspectors. If you didn’t correct the problem, property maintenance officials could issue a fine.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less