FYI - Drain Pan for Tankless

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by Scott D. Plumber, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Scott D. Plumber

    Scott D. Plumber In the Trades

    Jun 30, 2009
    Don't know if this has come up here yet but thought I'd pass it on. Here in VA many inspectors are now requiring drain pans for tankless water heaters and referring to the Current International plumbing code and the IBC. They are also insisting on them due to installation instructions for major models calling for them when installed in a finished space.

    They will let you put one on the floor sometimes and other make you have one on the wall under the unit like “The Wall Saverâ€. You can make your own if you want. There are a couple out I think. This one's here

    I’ve seen enough of these to know what happens when the unit dies and guess what?...water is coming out! If you put them in an attic, interior closet, or other finished space, you better have a pan under it. They don’t put that in the instructions because they like to use ink. Everything dies eventually. Last summer I saw a unit that was in an attic of a rental property. That’s just great until your renter moves out in the winter and you kill the power not thinking about the poor tankless in the attic. When they turned the power back on in the spring…by phone call because they were not living there…no more plaster in most of that house. It had froze and burst. If the power had been left on so the freeze protection system would have worked it would have been fine. (Like it had been for 2 years earlier) They now have a pan, but a bit too late.

    Good rule of thumb:
    Unfinished basement, garage, outdoor or similar = No Pan
    Attic, closet, over a finished space, apartment/condo/Townhouse = PAN!
  2. zl700

    zl700 DIY Senior Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Western NY
    Well yes of course

    "Water heater" doesnt mean it has to be a tank.

    Install anything where drywall or fooring damage may occur and your liable.

    Uniform Plumbing Code & International Residential Code both state:

    Section RM2005.1 states that that water heaters should be installed in accordance
    with manufacturer’s installation instructions and the code requirements.
    Section 2801.5 states that a drain pan and drain are required.

    Section RM2005.1 General. Water heaters shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions and the requirements of this code. Water heaters installed in an attic shall conform to the requirements of RM1305.1.3
    RP2801.5 Required pan. Where water heaters or hot water storage tanks are installed in locations where leakage of the tanks or connections will cause damage, the tank or water heater shall be installed in a galvanized steel pan having a minimum thickness of 24 gage (0.016 inch) (0.4 mm) or other pans listed for such use.â€
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  4. AAnderson

    AAnderson In the Trades

    Oct 25, 2009
    Aptos, CA
    In one development alone, we've replaced over 300 of 500 heat exchangers in rinnai's due to water quality and a DC ground from a solar inverter and water damage has been catastrophic. No attempt to install a pan was ever introduced. Smitty pans, just don't work with tankless.
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