water heater drain pan fittingInstalling a drain pan underneath your water heater is a good idea. You typically don’t just decide to install one, rather when your water heater gets replaced, it’s a good idea to add a pan if you don’t already have one.

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The water heater pan has a hole in the side wall so that you can run a drain line from the pan. It does no good to install a pan and not run a drain line from it. It simply postpones the eventual leak by about 2 minutes.

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When you buy the pan, the drain fitting for the sidewall should be included. This is a threaded fitting with a washer on the inside of the pan and is secured by a fitting on the outside of the pan. From there the drain is run.

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Typically, the drain is run to the floor and it is gravity-fed. On the bottom of the drain line you can install an elbow to direct the water away from the water heater stand.

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When the water heater leaks, it will drip into the pan. When the water in the pan rises high enough to enter the drain fitting, it will finally run down the drain line and out. Naturally, if you see water in the pan or on the floor, you have a problem.

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