How To Look At A House

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Does a tankless water heater in an attic require a drain pan?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Every major manufacturer of tankless water heaters specifies that a catch pan and drain piping be installed under the unit if leakage would cause damage to the immediate area, and that is certainly the case when one is installed in an attic. Also, the International Residential Code (IRC) requires that a drain pan be installed “where leakage of the tanks or connections will cause damage.” A tankless obviously does not have a storage tank, but it does have pipe connections that can leak as the unit reaches the end of it serviceable lifespan. So a drain pan is definitely required for attic installation. 

    One hapless plumber, or perhaps a handyman masquerading as a plumbing expert, installed the drain pan (shown in the photo above) under an attic tankless water heater in a home we inspected today. Yes, it is a drain pan and it is under the water heater, but the TPR valve drain piping was routed through a roughly cut-out hole in the side of the pan, so the pan will immediately leak when water drips into it and it has no drain to exterior even if it was watertight. This would be a good example of how NOT to install an attic drain pan.

   Visit our WATER HEATERS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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