The primary function of a water heater drain pan is to catch any residual water from the water heater.
The water heater drain pan is also necessary to prevent flooding in your home. If the residual water from the water heater doesn’t get trapped in the pan, it can overflow and cause water damage to the walls and ceiling of your home.
The water heater drain pan is installed between the water heater and the floor drain of your home. It is an alternative to installing a drain that connects to your water heater. The advantage of a pan is that it also catches water that leaks from under your tank.
What Is a Water Heater Drain Pan?
A water heater drain pan is a pan placed underneath the drainpipe on the side of your water heater. It is used to catch any residual water in the water heater after each use.
Some water heaters have a tank and if that breaks, it can release a lot of water in a short period of time. This can lead to significant damage.
It is also necessary to prevent flooding in your home. If the residual water from the water heater gets trapped in the pan, it can flow away.
Water expands when it is heated up. Sometimes the water heater needs to release some pressure. This is done by removing water. This water can get removed through the water heater drain pan.
This pan has a double function. It can help when the water heater is broken or when it needs to release some pressure. It is safer than just adding a drain to deal with increased water pressure.
We have to take into account that the water that gets in the drain pan might not be clean or even be hot. For this reason, it is important that we get a strong pan that is able to withstand these situations.
How to Install a Water Heater Drain Pan
The easiest way to install this is when you get a new water heater. If the water heater is mounted on the wall, it is quite straightforward to add a drain pan as well. Installing a drain pan under an installed heater takes some work. Just make sure that the drain is installed properly.
If you already have a water heater installed, it is more work. Check if no devices use how water before you start. Turn the water heater off and remove the electricity. Check the manual of your heater before you do this. Wear protective equipment such as gloves and goggles.
Before you begin installing the drain pan, turn off the gas supply to the water heater. If you have an electric heater, you can skip this step.
First, turn the supply lines at the bottom of the tank to the right position. Then, turn off the gas supply to the water heater.
Next, remove the water from the tank.
Once everything is safe, you can remove the pipes. Once this is done, the water heater can be removed. This can be heavy so it is better to have another person to help you. You can then clean the area and install the pan. At this point, we have to reinstall the pipes. Make sure that there are no leaks. Once this is done, we can restart the heater by plugging it in and adding gas. Check the manual of your heater for this procedure.
We still have to add a drain to the drain pan. Depending on the size of your water heater, you will have to pick the size of the drain. Make sure that the drain is at the proper angle as well. It is better to pick a PVC drain than a flexible one. Flexible drains can break faster and this can lead to leaks.
You can test the drain by adding some water in the pan to check if it flows away.
Maintaining the drain pan
Water heaters produce a fair amount of water. If the water in the tank remains there for long periods of time, it can cause damage to the tank, pipes, and even the floor. So it is important to regularly check the drain pan. If there is water in it, make sure to remove it as soon as possible.
You can also add some chalk around the drain pan. This will make sure that water doesn’t get under it. Water flows in a lot of directions so the pan should catch as much as possible. It can lead to mold and other problems if water gets under the drain pan.
There are round pans and square pans. Generally, a bigger pan is better so make sure that the drain pan completely covers the area of your water heater. They come in plastic, metal, or aluminum. Plastic is cheaper but won’t last that long so most plumbers recommend an aluminum pan as it is sturdier.
Some pans have a predrilled hole for the drain. Others allow you to add the hole yourself. Just make sure that you get a sturdy pan that has a drain hole that is wide enough.
The height of the drain pan is also important. Sometimes the drain might backup. If the drain pan is high, it can hold some water in it until the drain has caught up. This is why most plumbers recommend a high drain pan.
A water heater drain pan is a pan placed underneath your water heater. It is used to catch any residual water in the water heater. It is necessary to prevent flooding in your home. They are quite cheap and easy to install and can save you a lot of frustration. Water heaters tend to leak small amounts of water. This can be annoying. It is also possible that they completely fail and leak a lot of water in a short period of time. A water pan under your tank can help to reduce the damage if this happens. Plumbers are able to install this under your system. You should ask about it when you get a new water heater as it is quite easy to install one at this point.