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  1. #1
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    Default Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Had a drip pan with a lot of water in it today. 3/4 full. Result of a faulty TPR valve? No expansion tank or double check on the system. Older house. Water heater was a whirlpool 2007. Any ideas why so much water in the pan? Never seen that much before.
    Steve

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    I just call that a leaking water heater and tell them it needs to be fixed. Sure it could just be a fitting or a TPRV or it could be a busted seam.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve C. View Post
    Had a drip pan with a lot of water in it today. 3/4 full. Result of a faulty TPR valve? No expansion tank or double check on the system. Older house. Water heater was a whirlpool 2007. Any ideas why so much water in the pan? Never seen that much before.
    Steve
    The most common reason is a leaking heater. There should NEVER be water in the drip pan. The TPR should not discharge to the pan. If it is 3/4 full then there is either a problem with the drain or a very fast leak!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Thanks Jim - that's kinda what i was thinking too. I called it out to be inspected by a plumber. On a side tangent: Have you ever heard of a pet door door being a fire hazard (or any hazard for that matter) leading from the living room to the back deck? I know a garage man door to the house is, but to the outside? Thanks in advance. ( an appraiser said he would flag it, that's why i'm asking)
    steve


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    No code prohibiting pet doors to the outside unless possible if a fire wall is required when closer than 5' to the property line or other building but windows and doors would also not be allowed at that exposure. The fire separation is the reason it is not allowed in a garage. Perhaps this is what the appraiser was thinking of.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    The TPR should not discharge to the pan.
    That is a relatively new requirement (although that always made sense to me too ). Probably 10 or so years ago I called A. O. Smith and talked with them as to why they show the water heater T&P relief valve discharging into the pan the water heater is in, I pondered that I could not find any listing which allowed the water heater to be installed submerged or even partially submerged, yet their own installation instructions showed the discharge from the T&P going into the pan - did their listing include installing the water heater 'partially submerged'?

    Their answer was a resounding "NO. No water should be in the pan. The water should NOT be setting in water."

    After some additional discussion about the T&P discharging water into the pan, they made a comment about 'Then someone needs to towel dry the water up from the pan as the water heater is not allowed to be setting in water.'

    I made the comment that if the water heater was installed per the drawing in their installation instructions then water may well get in the pan - they repeated that the water would need to be towel dried out - I pondered 'You mean I have to have someone standby 24-7 with towels and keep the pan dry?', basically, they said 'yes.'

    Their installation instructions no longer show the T&P relief valve discharge going into the pan, the discharge goes outside the pan in their drawings now ... who woulda thought ... ???

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    The first thing I would check is the water pressure. The second thing I would check is the water temperature. Either one could make the TPR discharge into the pan. It also could be a faulty TPR.
    You want to make as accurate a call as you can, and while it could be the tank leaking, it could also be something else.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    The first thing I would check is the water pressure. The second thing I would check is the water temperature. Either one could make the TPR discharge into the pan. It also could be a faulty TPR.
    You want to make as accurate a call as you can, and while it could be the tank leaking, it could also be something else.
    If the water pressure is high enough to open the T&P relief valve and leak (which does not - should not - open until 150 psi) then the water pressure is way, way too high.

    If the temperature is high enough to open the T&P relief valve and leak (which does not - should not - open until 210 degrees F) then the water temperature is way, way too high.

    Thus if the water is from the T&P relief valve then I go with Jack "It also could be a faulty TPR".

    However, it could also be a leaking fitting or tank.

    It could also be from someone testing the T&P relief valve and the water only drains down to that depth (which could be bottom of the inside of the drain fitting).

    Regardless ... ... that water needs to be 'toweled dried out of the pan' ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Jerry,

    Where is the line supposed to terminate above then if not above the drip pan? Would you be calling for an air gap separation in the drain line for ready notice of its discharge and then further routed to the exterior? Surely the line should not be allowed to discharge onto the floor where damage can occur to unprotected materials. All would agree that the units should not be in contact with moisture on the exterior of the units. I have seen numerous times where the water heater rests upon masonry blocks sitting inside the drip pans. This raises the unit above the level of the top of the drip pan reducing the chances of direct water contact.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by don agel View Post
    Jerry,

    Where is the line supposed to terminate above then if not above the drip pan? Would you be calling for an air gap separation in the drain line for ready notice of its discharge ...
    Well ... that IS what the code requires, and has required, since around 2000.

    ... and then further routed to the exterior?
    Yes, that would be my preferred choice, unfortunately that is not a code requirements (to discharge to the outdoors).

    Surely the line should not be allowed to discharge onto the floor where damage can occur to unprotected materials.
    Depends on the floor structure and where the water heater is located: in a garage on a concrete slab - no damage; however, the code also prohibits discharging where it can cause personal injury - and slippery wet floors could cause personal injury ...

    All would agree that the units should not be in contact with moisture on the exterior of the units. I have seen numerous times where the water heater rests upon masonry blocks sitting inside the drip pans. This raises the unit above the level of the top of the drip pan reducing the chances of direct water contact.
    Glad to hear that there are some smart plumbers out there, I have to explain the problem to them and even then some still don't get why it should be raised up in the pan.

    Here are the IRC requirements for the T&P relief valve discharge:
    - P2803.6.1 Requirements for discharge pipe.
    - - The discharge piping serving a pressure-relief valve, temperature-relief valve or combination valve shall:
    - - - 1. Not be directly connected to the drainage system.
    - - - 2. Discharge through an air gap located in the same room as the water heater.
    - - - 3. Not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the valve served and shall discharge full size to the air gap.
    - - - 4. Serve a single relief device and shall not connect to piping serving any other relief device or equipment.
    - - - 5. Discharge to the floor, to the pan serving the water heater or storage tank, to a waste receptor or to the outdoors. (Jerry's comment: "to the pan serving the water heater" - yep, it is even in the code.)
    - - - 6. Discharge in a manner that does not cause personal injury or structural damage.
    - - - 7. Discharge to a termination point that is readily observable by the building occupants.
    - - - 8. Not be trapped.
    - - - 9. Be installed to flow by gravity.
    - - - 10. Not terminate more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor or waste receptor.
    - - - 11. Not have a threaded connection at the end of the piping.
    - - - 12. Not have valves or tee fittings.
    - - - 13. Be constructed of those materials listed in Section P2905.5 or materials tested, rated and approved for such use in accordance with ASME A112.4.1.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Well ... that IS what the code requires, and has required, since around 2000.
    Just used to seeing you list it without a nudge.

    On a reply to the original posted question of what may be happening with the valve, often the valve has been opened to test or for winterization and seal hasn't fully reseated properly when closing. At that point operating it once or twice can allow the valve to re-seat properly stopping the dripping. Would I recommend an inspector to do this? No. As an inspector that would greatly increase your liability to do anything other than report the visible issue at hand. A pan filled with water which has a water heater resting in the pan I would not dream of even touching without terminating all power to the unit. Water wicking on inner insulation blanket can have wet insulation in contact with live conductors/connections. The water in the pan surrounding the base of the water heater is enough to warrant a licensed plumber to come evaluate the unit, determine the cause of the leakage/discharge, the extent of any damage to the tank, and to repair/replace as necessary.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    A spewing TPRV is a warning sign and having it discharge anywhere that it could be easily missed just seems like a bad idea. If I can't see the end of the extension at the appliance I recommend that it be changed - I put it under the "weekend project" heading.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    A spewing TPRV is a warning sign and having it discharge anywhere that it could be easily missed just seems like a bad idea. If I can't see the end of the extension at the appliance I recommend that it be changed - I put it under the "weekend project" heading.
    You state that it is a warning sign (meaning bad things could happen, I presume), then you put it under DIY "weekend project" and not for a plumber to come out and replace the T&P relief valve or maybe even the water heater (a good idea to suggest the water heater 'may' need to be replaced so that when the plumbers tells your client that the plumber said the water heater needed to be replaced your client is already aware that it 'may' need to be replaced ... instead of 'you should have told me it may needed to be replaced, I would have addressed it before closing ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Jerry, I think Eric was stating that just for lack of seeing the line terminate at the appliance not for a leaking valve.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by don agel View Post
    Jerry, I think Eric was stating that just for lack of seeing the line terminate at the appliance not for a leaking valve.
    May very well have been the meaning. Me bad.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Thank you Don. I thought I was fairly clear.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Can it wait a day or two to get fixed?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Excessive water in pan under water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by mark goodman View Post
    Can it wait a day or two to get fixed?
    Since the OP was a year and a half ago, I would guess that the problem was taken care of already.

    If your questions has to do with water in a pan, then the answer is yes, you can wait a day or two, you can even ignore it completely. However, there might be consequences!


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