What Is Setback For Tankless Water Heater To Property Line In Berkeley?

Berkeley is known for its stringent building codes, and one such rule applies to Tankless Water Heaters. Property lines in Berkeley must abide by particular regulations when it comes to this type of water heater.

While the restrictions may seem overwhelming for some, understanding the setback requirements for your tankless water heater can make the installation process much easier. This article will provide an in-depth look at the setback requirements for tankless water heater installations in Berkeley, as well as tips on how to ensure compliance. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about tankless water heater setback requirements and how they apply in the city of Berkeley.

What is setback for tankless water heater to property line in Berkeley?

Tankless water heaters, commonly called on-demand, instant or instantaneous water heaters, are a popular and more modern choice for water heater installations. According to the California Energy Commission, in the City of Berkeley, there must be a minimum setback of three feet from any property line for a tankless water heater installation.

Why the 3 foot minimum setback?

The minimum setback of three feet is in place to protect the occupants of neighboring properties, as well as the property itself.

In an emergency, either a gas or electric tankless water heater can be hazardous to those nearby as they produce energy or flame that can easily spread if not contained properly. It is also important that proper ventilation is established by allowing the exhaust to freely exit the area.

Do I need any permits to install a tankless water heater?

Yes. All installations of water heaters, both tank and tankless, must follow the building codes outlined by the City of Berkeley and approval from the Building and Safety department is typically required.

In most cases, an inspection is needed from a certified contractor.

Installation Options for Tankless Water Heater

In most cases, a tankless water heater can be installed inside a structure, on an exterior wall, as an interior installation, or outdoors.
  • Interior Installation: The installation must be on an interior wall that is not on a common wall shared with the next-door neighbor.

    The three-foot setback is not needed in this case, you’ll just have to make sure there is adequate space around the unit for easily accessing plumbing and performing maintenance. It must also be at least 18-inches off the ground.

  • Exterior Installation: If you choose an exterior installation, the three-foot setback must be respected towards the property line. Minimum clearances must also be maintained, leaving at least six inches of space above the roof line.
  • Outdoor Installation: For outdoor installations, the three-foot setback must be respected, along with the six-inch clearance requirement above the roof line. All outside units must be elevated above the ground and mounted on either a non-combustible base or elevated platform.


If you’re considering a tankless water heater installation in Berkeley, it is important to understand and comply with the minimum setback requirement of three feet to any property line. To ensure that everything is properly set up and complies with the City’s rules and regulations, it is best to contact a certified contractor. A qualified professional will help guide you through the process of having your tankless water heater installed correctly, minimizing any potential risks that come with it.

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