My hot water heater went out yesterday, and I thought when I replace the water heater I would attempt to get closer to code. The water heater is in the basement. I purchased a Bradford-White 50 gal. electric water heater from a plumbing supply house (my house is all electric). I know that the water heater needs to be in a pan and the pan needs to be connected to a drain. That part I have managed to complete using sch. 40 PVC to a 3/4" copper drain pipe. The drain is also used by the A/C unit. Is sharing the drain legal? Does code require hot water heaters to be raised 18" off the floor? The water heater is located under stairs and can not be raised. Do I need to move the heater so it can be raised?

With the old hot water heater the relief valve was not connected to a drain. In fact, it was not connected to anything, no piping to at least direct the water down. The only drain anywhere close is the 3/4" copper drain. Any suggestions. The basement is finished.

The supply line has 2 taps for 1/4" copper lines (one was for a humidifier that is no longer used, I never figured out what the other one was for, it was disconnected when I bought the house). Also, in the supply line is a check valve. Does code require a check valve on the supply side? My water source is a well. The presure tank supplies 2 3/4" copper lines into the house. I have always assumed one was cold water supply and one was directly to the water heater, but I have no way to easily verify that, they enter the slab. The hot water side also has a check valve. Is a check valve required on this side? I plan to cut these items out just to clean up the plumbing. I just need to know if I need to replace the check valves.

Is it OK to connect a brass nipple to a female copper fitting? Is there any preference for pipe dope over teflon tape? Or vice-versa. Is it a good idea to use the flexible copper (or at least it looks like copper) from the brass nipple to the water heater connections?

My area uses the International Plumbing Code, not sure which year has been adopted, the web site says 2000, but I know the Electrical code has the wrong year on the web site.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.