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Thread: Old Hot Water Heater = Legs----New Hot Water Heater = No Legs!

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    Default Old Hot Water Heater = Legs----New Hot Water Heater = No Legs!

    Hi: Our old hot water heater had legs, but the new Rheem heater we bought is legless. Wouldn't it be a good idea to put some sort of blocking or spacers in the pan before the heater is installed? This would raise the heater up a little, in case there was a small leak that might sit in the pan and rust-out the heater bottom. You wouldn't need much, just enough to lift the heater up a 1/4" or so. Does this seem like a good idea?

    I know what your thinking: If the hot water heater is installed correctly, there should be no leaks, and besides, isn't that what the drain in the pan is for? Yes, that's true, but wouldn't raising the heater off the pan just be added protection? Has anyone had experience with rusted-out heater bottoms? Thanks--Marty

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    If you want to put something under, just use something with a broad footprint. Don't know how much point load the bottom can take.

    Most maunufacturers went legless with the FVIR, because for the replacement market, maintaining approximately the same overall height is important to a lot of buyers, for ease of installation.

    Rheem, possbily others, had to take a couple of gallons out of their ultra low nox models, for the same reason. A 50 is now 48 gallon, 40 is 38, etc.

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    DIY Senior Member Wrex's Avatar
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    You don't mention whether you have a gas or electric heater but if it is hard plumbed then you definitely want to handle this before the installation.

    Since handling it later will be much more difficult especially if the piping is installed very tightly which won't give any wiggle room to raise the heater.
    Last edited by Wrex; 09-17-2008 at 06:51 AM.
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    IF the heater is leaking, you should fix the leak or replace the heater LONG before rust becomes a problem.

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    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    You don't think that if it's already piped he could get a lever under it and jack it up a few inches. So what if the pipes bend a little

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    Another reason for no legs is that the air inlet is now on the side of the heater not from beneath it so the legs are not necessary, and they cost money.

  7. #7

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    Hi: Thanks to everyone for their information. Here's a few things I didn't mention:

    1. The water heater is gas.
    2. The new heater is still sitting in the box waiting to be installed in a new part of the house.
    3. The old heater is still going (in the old location).

    So, at this point, raising the heater up a 1/4" is not a problem, but if no one thinks I should worry about the heater's bottom rusting-out, I'll just install it flat in the pan. I was planning to use a metal pan, but I think I'll use plastic to avoid metal to metal contact.

    Thanks again--Marty

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Gas water heaters must be in a metal pan...

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    Customer Service Manager Plumbing Wholesale Peanut9199's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    Gas water heaters must be in a metal pan...
    Why is that?
    Not questioning you, just curious.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pan

    In the old days because of heat and possible flame damage. The new ones have contained the flame so it should not be a problem. A lot of rules changed when they developed the new burner system.

  11. #11

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    I have lived in an area with highly acidic water and have helped numerous friends replace HWHs over the years (including 2 of my own before installing a nuetralizer).

    I always put the ones I install up on brick sized pieces of treated lumber (3 arranged like wheel spokes) to separate the bottom of the unit from the ground or spill pan and allow air to pass under the units. I think it helps reduce condensation related rusting, but I may be just over thinking. I have never seen it be a problem, although sometimes it requires a little plumbing modifications to the pipes to shorten them.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I have seen many plastic pans with cut plastic and leaking on the floor...the plastic was cut when the heater was installed and no one knew it till the heater leaked and the pan failed...I use metal pans on all heaters for that reason.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You might want to look at www.wagsvalve.com. I think, though, that you only get a warranty if it is installed by a certified installer. It's not too hard, and any handy person that can read and follow instructions should be able to do it. It will disable the gas and shut off the water if it detects water in the pan (I think it takes about 1/2").
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14

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    Hi: Thanks Cass for the important information about using a metal pan! Anyway, I measured the space, and a square metal pan is the only size ready-made pan I can get that is big enough to hold the 23" 50 gal Rheem water heater, fit in the confined area it has to go in, and leave enough space in the pan for any leaks that might occur.

    Just to let you all know, I did call a plumber today to bid out the job. I guess I could do it myself, but why not hire a pro?

    Marty

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    In the Trades maintenanceguy's Avatar
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    In this area, there are lots of old farm houses with unfinished basements, most with brick floors and leaky sandstone walls.

    It's standard practice to place two large paving bricks on the floor and set the water heater on that. This keeps the water heater up out of any water that seeps in during rain.

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