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Thread: Pan for a water heater - regular 50 gallon tank

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member richard8's Avatar
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    Oct 2008

    Default Pan for a water heater - regular 50 gallon tank

    When replacing a water heater. Am I suppose to purchase a pan from Lowes or Home Depot for a new installation. Also, should this pan be made out of plastic or metal. I have seen new installs without pans, and with pans. Also, the pan sits directly under the water heater with no gap or air space.

    Also, are the two best rated water heaters for general residential use - RHeem and Bradford White.
    Also, since GE is made by Rheem, this is okay too.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member zl700's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    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.”

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    I like Rheem and Bradford White.
    The Rheem GE should be ok too.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    Every company makes several "brands" of water heater, and for all practical purposes the only difference between them is the label. When it come to years of warranty, the only real difference is the price of the water heater. They are basically all the same, you just pay extra for an extended warranty. As far as the pan is concerned, if leakage would cause damage, then install one, but in that cse ITS drain should be extended to a place where damage will not occur. It does no good to install the heater in a pan and then let the water from the pan drain onto the floor. ANY kind of pan is acceptable as long as it performs its function.
    Last edited by hj; 04-04-2010 at 07:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    One thing you may want to look at, if a pan is necessary, and a drain isn't that easy to plumb is www.wags.com. This will shut the water and gas off to the WH if it detects leaking. It must be installed by a licensed, trained plumber to obtain the warranty.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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