Drip, Drip….

The new year usually brings new surprises in legislative accomplishments.  There are always new additions and some people are very proud of them.

One that caught me by surprise is SB407 (2009-2010) which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Here’s what it says:

For any single family residence constructed prior to 1994, any alteration or repair that requires a building permit, replace a window or put in a new heater*, for example, will require the replacement all the non-water conserving plumbing fixtures in their house with water conserving types.  That is all faucets, shower heads and toilets.

Here's the standard:

4)Defines "noncompliant plumbing fixtures" as meaning any of the following:

            a)   Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush;

            b)   Any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush; 

            c)   Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more then 2.5 gallons of     water per minute; and,

            d)   Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.

In theory any plumbing fixture bought and installed in California after 1994 will be considered a water conserving type.  But the flow rates shown above do not meet current code in California, so if you do replace your fixtures here’s what you will be limited to:

Toilet:  1.28 gal./flush.  (Dual flush toilets are computed as the average of one full flush and two reduced flushes—you had to know).

Showerhead:  2.0 gal./min. @ 80psi.  (Handhelds are considered a showerhead).

Lavatory Faucet:  1.5 gal./min. @ 60psi.

Kitchen Faucet:  1.8 gal./min @ 60psi, 2.2 gal./min. in temporary increase (this requirement is not clear)

But that’s not all.

The sale of a house constructed prior to 1994 also will require replacement of non-conserving fixtures.

But that’s not all.

By 2017 all single family residences constructed prior to 1994 must have their fixtures upgraded, regardless of whether any work requiring a permit has been done.  This may be difficult to enforce except via the building permit process or property transfer processes.

There are also requirements for commercial properties and multi-family properties.

*An interesting fact of heater replacement is that, according to the Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB), for every mechanical permit pulled for the replacement of a heater (a permit is required by code) there are 10 heaters sold in California. So 9 out of 10 heaters in California are installed without permits.  CSLB intends to change this with a focus on enforcement and sanctions of HVAC contractors doing residential work.

Why do you suppose 9 out of 10 people choose not to get a permit when replacing their heater?

Let’s close this tap with a little mix of music and architecture, because they go as hand in glove.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

© More Than Construction, Inc., 2014