Do I Need a Drain Pan For My Water Heater?

Posted by: Mas Broto
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Do I Need a Drain Pan For My Water Heater?

A water heater drain pan is essential for preventing serious water damage caused by a leaky water heater. When the tank leaks, the amount of water the unit holds can cause much damage. You can reduce the chance of water damage in a few ways, and installing a water heater drain pan is one of them.

Most homeowners don’t consider installing a drain pan until it’s too late. When it comes to water damage to your home, something as simple as a drain pan can give you peace of mind.

What is a water heater drain pan?

A drain pan for your water heater is a pan that fits under your water heater. It is bigger than your tank and has a small hole where a drain fitting goes. This fitting leads to a nearby drain where the extra water can be safely dumped.

In simple terms, a drain pan is a safety tool that keeps water from leaking from the water heater from getting into your home. It gives your water heater a way to get rid of water if it starts to leak. Even though water heater leaks start small, most people don’t notice them. These pans catch the extra water and drain it until you find the leaks and can call a good plumber to fix the leaks.

Why is a water heater drain pan required?

Water heaters are required by law to have drain pans in many places. Most building codes require a drain pan for water heaters installed above ground level, in an attic or ceiling, or in a living space.

The International Plumbing Code #504.7
Required pan – Where a storage tank-type water heater or a hot water storage tank is installed in a location where water leakage from the tank will cause damage, the tank shall be installed in a galvanized steel pan having a material thickness of not less than 0.0236 inches (0.6010 mm) (No. 24 gage), or other pans approved for such use.

The worst things that can happen to a homeowner are flooding, water damage, and mold. If your water heater leaks, you can avoid these problems with a water heater drain pan.

The pan for your water heater sits right below it, and it usually has a hole and pipe to send water to a nearby drain. So, if there is a leak, the water has a place to go that won’t hurt the inside of your house.


Whether or not you need a water heater drain pan depends mostly on where you put it. If your water heater is in an attic or living space, you need a drain pan under it. In most states, water heaters in garages do not need drain pans. Also, the drain pan needs a pipe that leads outside or to a nearby floor drain.

When putting water heaters inside, you need to drain pans under them. When it’s time to get a new water heater, it’s a good idea to put a drain pan under it.

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Mas Broto

Have been in the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry for over 20 years. He is person that will grow and thrive to learn more about the HVAC industry throughout his career. Mas Broto is also a blogger, who's dedicated to bringing you the best knowledge to get ahead in the game of life.

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