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.
- 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.
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
On 26 Jan 2016, email@example.com 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
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.
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.
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...
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.
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>
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.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 8:46:40 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
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