Water heater pan

I'm having a new natural gas water heater installed. My old one was sitting right on the concrete floor of the basement. There is no floor drain in the basement.
The old one sprang a leak, hence the new one. Fortunately I was home at the time and not too much water leaked out before I discovered it. I have an idea that an aluminum pan would be a good idea because the bottom of the tank would be less likely to rust or corrode if not in direct contact with the concrete floor. Does that idea have any merit? If a leak occurred, the pan would fill up pretty quickly, but it would buy me a little time to drain it out the back door with a hose.
Two questions:
- would you bother with the pan?
- if so, for a 21.5" diameter tank, how big a pan? They come in 22", 24" and 26" diameter sizes.
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I would bother with the pan, plastic would be even better if you could find one. With a plastic pan, a water detector with the two metallic sensing e lectrodes placed on the top side of the bottom of the plastic pan would not need to be electrically isolated from the pan. If a metal pan, the sensin g electrodes would have to be isolated from the pan by a thin layer of some thing non-conductive.
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On 26 Jan 2016, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote in alt.home.repair:

I was told that plastic pans were exclusively for electric heaters and aluminum pans could be used for either electric or gas.
I like the idea of a water detector, which would activate an alarm I assume.
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On 01/26/2016 05:37 PM, Nil wrote:

If you are clever you could wire it into a relay which would control a contactor to shut down the power and activate a solenoid valve to shut off the water supply to the heater, in addition to the alarm.
Jon
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Two answers (one to an unasked question):
1. I would use a pan
2. Out here anyway, you must raise the water heater a couple feet off the floor, to minimize fire danger if there is a gasoline spill or such. I don't know if that applies to an area not capable of housing an automobile.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 17:00:08 -0800, "taxed and spent"

Up here we "generally" don't put water heaters in the garage. - pipes are liable to freeze in the winter.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:28:06 -0500, Nil

If the basement is unfinished why bother with a pan? Then you have to always check the damn pan instead of just noticing water on the floor. IME water heaters spring a small leak when they go bad.
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On 2016-01-26 8:09 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

Not always, sometimes they are a major flood, mine went out big time, fortunately in a basement with a drain.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 20:20:07 -0500, FrozenNorth

In which case a pan wouldn't help.
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FrozenNorth wrote:

I never experienced major flood, just drip, drip leak. Tank is right next to basement drain. Our heater is Kenmore 9 year warrantied model going on 14th year. Keeping close watch for leaks. Knock on the wood...
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On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 8:20:07 PM UTC-5, FrozenNorth wrote:

And sometimes without a pan, they can have a moderate leak with the water stream running in a direction away from a leak detector that's sitting on the floor. With a detector in a pan, it will go off, assuming it's working.
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On 1/26/2016 6:28 PM, Nil wrote:

I'd do a 24" but ONLY if there was some means of plumbing it to a sump somehow. Any of the available sizes aren't going to do squat for you if that tank leaks and you're not checking it every hour or so for the leak. Why bother?
OTOH, you could plumb that pan to a second one adjacent to the water heater and put a small pump, like a Simer with the electronic sensor on/off switch and then plumb THAT to the outdoors (looking for a plastic pan as someone else suggested).
Oh, and IMHO I don't think having the pan there regardless of whether or not it's plumbed is going to make any difference or prevent a leak from the tank. It's not the water tank itself that's in contact with the concrete, it's the outer shell. You can take an awl and punch holes in it all day and you're not likely to spring a leak.<g>
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I built an alarm out of an old smoke/fire alarm. So, when it sounds, it is the same as if a smoke or ionization detector goes off. Pretty hard to ign ore unless you are a VERY HEAVY sleeper. As I remember, I ran two wires f rom either side of the actual smoke detector module to two wires that went to the basement floor just inside the drip pan. I bared about 4" at the e nd of each wire and placed them an inch apart on the pan. When water conta cted both wires, the alarm went off just fine. Now the water wasn't totall y clean as it picked up dirt as it dripped down the side of the heater, but it was enough to trigger the alarm. You could try doing the same thing wi th any old fire alarm.
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On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 8:46:40 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

is the same as if a smoke or ionization detector goes off. Pretty hard to i gnore unless you are a VERY HEAVY sleeper. As I remember, I ran two wires from either side of the actual smoke detector module to two wires that wen t to the basement floor just inside the drip pan. I bared about 4" at the end of each wire and placed them an inch apart on the pan. When water con tacted both wires, the alarm went off just fine. Now the water wasn't tota lly clean as it picked up dirt as it dripped down the side of the heater, b ut it was enough to trigger the alarm. You could try doing the same thing with any old fire alarm.
Or wire on both jaws of a clothespin, aspirin tablet in between, water diss olves the tablet and jaws snap closed. Used to be a standard leak detector in the old days.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:28:06 -0500, Nil

We put in a pan when we replaced my daughter's water heater. I think it was 26" and about 5 or 6 inches deep.
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On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 7:28:12 PM UTC-5, Nil wrote:

The bottom of a gas water heater tank never sits on the floor to begin with, so your pan will have no effect on corrosion of the tank. The whole burner assembly is under the tank. I'd get a pan that fits the tank comfortably. Beyond that, it doesn't matter. If you have a French drain at the perimeter, they have ones where you can attach a hose to it. And I'd get one of those $10 alarms and put it in the pan.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:28:06 -0500, Nil

All basements need a floor drain. I'd somehow install a floor drain before even bothering with a pan. Put in a sump pump if thats the only way to get a drain.
Unless you desire a swimming pool under your house, a basement floor drain is a 100% requirement. It's not "IF" you're basement is going to flood, it's "WHEN". I cant understand why anyone would even build a house without the drain. Thats just stupid!
I know this from experience. I owned a house that had no floor drain in the basement. But it's for that reason that I bought the house. Because there was 6ft of water in the basement, I bought the place really cheap. After pumping it out, I made a hole in the concrete floor and installed a sump pit and pump. Problem solved!
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2016 19:28:06 -0500, Nil

Truth be told, I wouldn't bother. We've been in this house 34 years and are on our 4th water heater. The first three all started to leak, but very slowly, so I had ample time to drain them before there was more than a small puddle in the immediate area of the heater. That being said, if having a pan gives you peace of mind you might as well do it. They are cheap enough.
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a: pick up a few conrete or brick blocks and place them on the concrete, then put the water heater on top of them. Just an inch or two would be fine.
This gets your heater off the concrete, keeping it a bit cleaner, dust off the bottom, reduces the rust from water seepage up from the ground, etc.
It also makes the controls and valves a few inches higher and easier to reach...
b: plastic trays for putting under washing machines are a standard item in hardware stores, and would work fine under your water heater. Just make sure that everything is stable and, again, but the concrete/brick spacers between the plastic and the bottom of your heater.
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