Apply for a PTO (Permit to Operate Boiler)

Large boilers must be certified every year. Registered contractors can apply online.

What to do

1. Check if your boiler is required to have a PTO

There must be an active PTO on file for a six unit or more with one of the following:

  • More than 200,000 total BTU capacity for boiler or tankless water heaters (single or combined)
  • More than 120 gallons of storage tank capacity (single or combined)

If combined units are used in series, each unit will need a separate PTO application.

2. For C-4 contractors: Log into the online system

If you don’t have an account, you can create one by registering with the City of San Francisco as a licensed contractor.

The system will only show you permits you can obtain with your trade license.

You will provide us information about the boiler you are operating. You can pay and immediately get your PTO online.

Mail or in-person

Mail or in-person

Download, fill out, and print the application

You can mail checks payable to “CCSF – DBI”.

Department of Building Inspection

Plumbing Inspections Division
49 South Van Ness Avenue
Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103-2124

Special cases

Expired PTO

Expired PTO

If you have a complaint on file because your boiler PTO has expired, you need to pay a penalty before you can apply for your PTO for the current year. Contact us at or 628-652-3400 for instructions on how to pay the penalty.

Once you get a new PTO, contact us again to clear the complaint.

Installing new boiler

Installing new boiler

Apply for a plumbing permit to install a new boiler.

Backflow prevention assembly certification

Backflow prevention assembly certification

If your boiler has a backflow prevention assembly, it will have to be tested and certified before you can get a PTO. Backflow prevention assemblies are part of San Francisco’s annual cross-connection control program.

Learn more about cross-connection control.

Get help

For issues with the online permit system


Inspection Division

Last updated December 18, 2023