We have a 10+ year old gas water heater that has no pan under it. The water
heater is just off the garage in a laundry/ furnace room. The heater sits on
the floor and the house is built on slab. There is about 17" clearance
between the exterior wall and the tank.
I was thinking I might remove this tank (on borrowed time now) and using
large pavers or a wood structure raise a pan off the floor just high enough
so that the drain pipe could run out of the wall just above the sill plate.
I am not sure what angle I should use so it drains well enough. 3 feet to
the left is the fresh air vent for the furnace so I really don't see a need
to put in a "U" joint long as I cover the end of the pipe with a hinged cap
or a piece of 1cm/ 1cm wire mesh to keep out the rodents etc.
biggest problem is keeping the drain clean enough to avoid clogging.
Spiders seem to love those pipes and web are really stong and collect
minute debris leading to clogging, If you could be sure of cleaning
out the drain periodically, then your idea seems reasonable. You
don't need much of a slope if you catch the leak before it becomes a
If you take a regular smoke detector $5.00 or so, and connect a pair
of wires to the two contacts that are closed when you press the test
switch on the detector, and then strip the other end of the wires back
about 1 inch, placing them about 1 inch apart where they are stripped,
you can make a leak detector. Try hooking up the wires like I said,
and then dip the wires into a glass of water. That should start the
test alarm noise. If that works, and I have done it to make a sump
pump failure monitor, you then will get an early warning of a leak
before it becomes a flood. A commecrcial leak detector goes fo $50 or
more, but the smoke detector is made in large quantities and thus is
You don't say where you are.
Check the local code. It usually requires lifting the water heater
about 18" off the ground. I would build a beefy wooden frame with a
couple of pieces of 3/4" plywood on top. Run the drain straight out the
wall and down to the ground. Leave the end high enough that you won't
hit it with the lawnmower.
Did I mention you should check the local code? Some areas require a
licensed plumber to install water heaters; some don't. My area allows
anyone to *replace* a water heater, but I refer my clients to a plumber
because I don't want the liability, especially with gas. I *do* replace
my *own* WH.
Thank you all for your thoughts.
Good idea, I will check the local code.
I have been leaning towards the wood frame similar to what you described and
at the same time I will make some braces to bridge the gap away from the
wall so I can mount an earth quake strap to it at the same time.
They keep telling us the big one is due any time (Vancouver BC).
The place it would run out of the wall is at the side of the house where we
have river rock and so no chance of hitting it with anything.
As for the install - my Bro-in-law is a licensed gas fitter/ plumber. It
will cost me a few beer and a BBQ with the rest of his family.
Good, because you may be in for a suprise. Not allowed to use wood where I
I'm like you with an older unit, gas, on borrowed time. It's mounted on a
series of bricks, blocks, and wood. Very stable but no longer code-spec
allowed here to do that. We know when time comes, we have to have a proper
cement footer put in for it.
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