Drip Pans Should Not Drip

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We see this kind of situation a lot here in St. Petersburg. When you buy a home have the home inspector take a second look at the drip pan. It can be easy to replace it but once the water starts dripping you are in trouble.

When a water heater is located on an upper floor, it is important that it be protected from leaking.  A drip pan is installed underneath to, hopefully, catch any leaks, sending the collected water to a safer place.



It’s good to see such a pan.

They sometimes need to be cleaned of debris, but a pan in place is a good thing.

You might also see them under washing machines.  Any way to capture water and send it elsewhere it important.

Usually the drainage from such pans works off of gravity.

Why gravity?  Because gravity works every time!




In my experience gravity works best when water is allowed to flow downward.

That little lip as the water flows toward that plumbing in the distance doesn’t help.

But even worse, can you see what that tube does when it reaches that plumbing?!

It needs to flow upward a good 18″ to get the water into that tube!

Well, at least they covered the tube so no gases get out and into the closet!

There’s also a very nice trap!  And all connected into the plumbing vent!

But, all said, this will not work.  That drip pan will be the thing dripping as the water has no way to get out.  And it will be dripping right into the kitchen ceiling below!

Water does not need much incline to be encouraged to flow downward.  The Roman aqueducts flowed for hundreds of miles, and at an incline at times of less than one degree.  They understood the principle fine!

My recommendation:   sometimes things that look to be properly in place are NOT properly in place.  Have a look at the whole thing, not just one small aspect!

P.s.  Home inspectors – the lack of a sediment trap on that gas connection is the subject of the next post!  



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia


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