Hot water heater problem...

My hot water heater's drain pan (overflow pan?) has filled up with water. This is not the first time. It has happened before and the water went away after a few days...now it's back. What could be causing this pan to fill up with water and overflow onto the floor in my basement. It's a minor overflow .. meaning.. I throw a few towels down and most of the water is soaked up off the floor. The pan is still holding water as I type.
HELP! ;)
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axl rose wrote:

Intermittent "leaks" are usually caused by the relief valve opening. Does the pipe from the relief valve empty into the pan? If so, put a cup under the pipe so you will know if the water came from there.
Relief valve opening is most often caused by over-pressure due to thermal expansion. Here is one explanation: http://www.flexconind.com/html/wh-series_.html
The drain pan should have its own drain pipe to dump the water "somewhere". See if it does and it's not clogged.
Jim
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ok.. it's a WATER heater. ;) Yeah there is a relief valve and a pipe empties into the pan.
See my attached photos.
http://home.sc.rr.com/doofy /

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Looks like the pipe from the pan tees into a drain pipe in the slab, possibly into the (2" ?) vertical pipe to the right. Could the vertical pipe be the drain for a washer?
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That larger pipe on the right goes up into the kitchen area so it must be a pipe to the sink/dishwasher.
How can I get this water heater to drain out from the pan correctly though? I've looked briefly on the outside of the house for some type of PVC cleanout but no go so far. I'm not sure where the builders would have put that. What should I do?
Thanks!
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If that gray line goes to a sink or DW, don't you think that may be the cause of the problem, especially if the line below the tee is partiall blocked?
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My guess is that the blockage is below the tee. The relief pipe water is being stopped below the tee and is being diverted to the pan through the stub. The pan then overflows onto the floor.

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Should I shut off the water to the house before I disconnect that gray hose? My only fear is that when I take that hose off the TEE it will pour out all over the place. Should I worry?

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Just shut off power to the heater and open a hot water spigot somewhere to cool off the tank a little, then shut off the cold water supply to the tank, just in case the relief valve decides to open while you're working there.
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Don't you mean 'Cold water heater'? ;-)

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