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  • Water heaters in jeopardy?

    I'm in the appliance business and although I'm not a plumber I see my share of water heaters from being asked to repair them. Something I have noticed is that many water heaters in drain pans are rusted around the bottom or have had a functional problem (gas water heater combustion air vents blocked) due to the pan retaining water. Since the drainpipe (usually in the side of the pan) is raised to allow the drainpipe connector space, the lowest point of the drainpipe is above the bottom of the pan by around 3/4". IF water should enter the pan it will remain until its level reaches the drainpipe connector -- retained water and a water heater sitting in it.

    In other forums I have mentioned this and responses have been to say for example -- at no time should water be in the pan or that the code for the T&P valve drain states that it should not drain in the pan etc. And I agree, if everything remains or is installed perfect then there isn't a problem. But this is not the case. Things happen and are going to continue to happen. Water can find its way into the pan from a multitude of other sources.

    Also, I have seen many water heaters installed out of plumb and the non-uniform methods used to try and level them. There doesn't seem to be anything manufactured to address this problem.

    Another situation is that it can be difficult to get to the drain on a water heater when it's in a drain pan due to the sides of the pan being in the way.

    Do you think there is a need for a product that would address these problems -- raise the water heater above retained water and level the water heater?

    Thank you, Chris

  • #2
    Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

    Originally posted by W/H watcher View Post
    I'm in the appliance business and although I'm not a plumber I see my share of water heaters from being asked to repair them. Something I have noticed is that many water heaters in drain pans are rusted around the bottom or have had a functional problem (gas water heater combustion air vents blocked) due to the pan retaining water. Since the drainpipe (usually in the side of the pan) is raised to allow the drainpipe connector space, the lowest point of the drainpipe is above the bottom of the pan by around 3/4". IF water should enter the pan it will remain until its level reaches the drainpipe connector -- retained water and a water heater sitting in it.

    In other forums I have mentioned this and responses have been to say for example -- at no time should water be in the pan or that the code for the T&P valve drain states that it should not drain in the pan etc. And I agree, if everything remains or is installed perfect then there isn't a problem. But this is not the case. Things happen and are going to continue to happen. Water can find its way into the pan from a multitude of other sources.

    Also, I have seen many water heaters installed out of plumb and the non-uniform methods used to try and level them. There doesn't seem to be anything manufactured to address this problem.

    Another situation is that it can be difficult to get to the drain on a water heater when it's in a drain pan due to the sides of the pan being in the way.

    Do you think there is a need for a product that would address these problems -- raise the water heater above retained water and level the water heater?

    Thank you, Chris
    The first thing you need to consider is it is not a "drain pan" it is a "drip pan". The difference being water is not suppose to be there but if there is a drip it will prevent anything from happening until you can call a plumber.

    At this time you can have pans built in a sheet metal shop which would be able to catch all of the water but it is not cheap so it will not sell. The other issue to look at is trying to provide a properly sized pan without blocking combustion air.

    Mark

    BTW: We have a plumber on the site who lives in Idyllwild
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

      the way I see it, a properly designed plumbing system should be free of nuisance issues such as the ones you listed. The pan you mentioned, (installation on wood) for protection of mounting surface. As you can see a good percentage of posts on this forum are don't know, don't care mentality.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

        5 years ago, before the fvir heaters, the heaters had short legs. today they sit flat on the bottom.

        the drip pan is almost useless as there is very little room left that isn't already displaced by the heater.

        hard to fit a 24'' pan in a 24'' opening with a 21'' heater dropped into it.

        the heater has just an inch of clearance around it. (remember the pan is tapered)

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

          Great suggestion!

          I always wonder about things like this. Like why are shower heads mounted at eye level rather than above your head? (I'm 6 ft. tall.)

          I would think the thing to do would be use something to raise the water heater up a bit. Wood rots, so not a good material...

          There is a material called "Micore" which I used below my 450 pound woodstove because it has a higher R-Value (insulating property) than brick and is thinner than brick. (I have tile backer board and ceramic tile on top of that.) Anyway this material withstands the weight of my woodstove, so should also withstand the weight of a water heater. Maybe a few circular pieces of this between the drip pan and the water heater?

          On the following Micore spec page, it says: "Inorganic mineral fibers resist moisture to minimize expansion and warpage." Spec sheet...
          http://www.gypsumsolutions.com/htmlID/micore.asp

          You might be fighting an uphill battle with this though. I once worked in the business machine field and a typewriter manufacturer made a typewriter which could not be locked down to prevent theft. I pointed this out to the manufacturer's rep. He said "Well if they get stolen, we sell more typewriters right?" Well that was their attitude. If it sells more product, then don't fix the problem!

          The Micore folks might be willing to invest the time to get something like this required/permitted by code. (Deal with the politics.)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

            I don't know of any shower heads that "are" put at eye level.
            I do know a lot of 'em "were"

            Adam

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

              Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
              I don't know of any shower heads that "are" put at eye level.
              I do know a lot of 'em "were"

              Adam
              Anyone putting a showerhead at eye level is not a good plumber. One of my pet peeves.

              J.C.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                I know this is not approved, but it's also not required. You can put a water heater on bricks/brick pavers to eliminate this. Any leaks or T&P still goes in the pan. Obviously you want to ensure stability. Cheap, fireproof. No need for a new invention with ASTM/ASME stamps on it for us to keep track of.

                J.C.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                  Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                  I know this is not approved, but it's also not required. You can put a water heater on bricks/brick pavers to eliminate this. Any leaks or T&P still goes in the pan. Obviously you want to ensure stability. Cheap, fireproof. No need for a new invention with ASTM/ASME stamps on it for us to keep track of.

                  J.C.
                  It's kind of hard to put a replacement heater on bricks now that the fivrs are taller. It's already a pain to make them fit when sitting flat in the pan.
                  "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                    Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
                    It's kind of hard to put a replacement heater on bricks now that the fivrs are taller. It's already a pain to make them fit when sitting flat in the pan.
                    Respectfully disagree.

                    J.C.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                      Plese give me your opinion on this, any who would like to -- If there were a simple, easy to use product that was no more than a inch high that lifed the water heater up and at the same time leveled the water heater, was reasonably priced, would there be a market for it?

                      Thank you, Chris

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                        Originally posted by W/H watcher View Post
                        Plese give me your opinion on this, any who would like to -- If there were a simple, easy to use product that was no more than a inch high that lifed the water heater up and at the same time leveled the water heater, was reasonably priced, would there be a market for it?

                        Thank you, Chris
                        No. Sounds like your working on an invention but I would not buy it. My opinion.

                        J.C.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                          No, someone would just probably use 1-1/2" pvc couplings to accomplish what you just described.
                          Proud To Be Union!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                            I believe there might be a market for what you are proposing. However, I believe the market will be with DIYers buying from Big Box stores rather than professionals.

                            Good luck-Mark
                            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                            I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Water heaters in jeopardy?

                              Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                              I believe there might be a market for what you are proposing. However, I believe the market will be with DIYers buying from Big Box stores rather than professionals.

                              Good luck-Mark
                              Even for DIY's it seems far fetched...so many DIY jobs I see that homeowners do using the cheapest alternatives thinking any extra's are just the box store trying to make more money.
                              I can't blame them...they don't know whats necessary or not and the HD guy is looking to beef up sales for the quarter for his dept.

                              IMHO, heaters are now made with lower grade metals, cheaper tank linings, or slapped together...they just don't outlast the warranties like they used to.
                              Seems like MFG's stick with minimum guidelines now, with little concern for long-term reputation.

                              Telling a homeowner that makes me sound like a car salesman, I mention it and they decide on warranty vs price, end of story.
                              Trying to sell a stand to homeowners wouldn't go over very well either imo.
                              It could possibly be something for w/h MFG's...but their outlook might be "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.".

                              I'd wager, thanks to box stores, that the DIY market is the dictator for all this.
                              Unfortunately DIY's want low price...MFG's are pressed into skimming on cost in order to stay competiive in this market.

                              A simple, useful device that adds maybe a few bucks to a heaters MFG cost would add up to millions in extra money spent for something that might not be noticed in this market.

                              The only viable "foot in the door" might be to get code authorities to see an idea as necessary.

                              Comment

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