Home-buying red flag in bathroom

Dealing with water heater safety hazard

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DEAR BARRY: When we purchased our house, the home inspector found no problems with the water heater. After we moved in, the gas company came out to light the pilot. Instead of lighting it, they capped off the gas and said it is illegal to have a gas water heater in the bathroom. They said the fixture should be moved to another location or replaced with an electric water heater. The seller says he installed the water heater himself and that the previous two water heaters were in the same location. Is the seller required to move or replace the water heater since he is the one who installed it, or is this our problem? --Lauren DEAR LAUREN: In most municipalities, a permit is required when replacing a water heater. This is to ensure that the installation complies with all of the pertinent plumbing and safety codes, including the prohibition against installing a gas water heater in a bathroom. If the seller did not obtain a permit, he may be liable for the current, noncomplying...