How to Install a Water Heater Drain Pan

a water heater with a toolbox next to it
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-50
What You'll Need
Garden hose
PVC pipe
PVC cement
What You'll Need
Garden hose
PVC pipe
PVC cement

A water heater drain pan works as a drip collection unit. It is placed under the water heater and is an extremely important safety feature. Installing a drain pan can be completed within an hour, just make sure you have all the materials ready and read on to find out more.

Step 1 - Turn off Power and Water

hoses and wires going into a water heater

The first step in installing a water heater drain pan is to cut the electric supply to the water heater. If it works on gas, make sure to turn off the gas supply as well. Shut off the water supply to the water heater. To do this, locate the water pipe and turn it off.

Step 2 - Remove Other Attachments

The pipes attached to the heater have to be detached before removing the water heater drain pan. The attached pipes make it difficult to lift the heater. Earthquake straps that are connected to the heater have to be taken off.

Step 3 - Drain Accumulated Water

You will have to drain the hot water that might be stored in the water heater. This water could be hot, so be careful while draining it out. You can drain the water by fitting the garden hose or any other pipe to the water heater drain valve. The hot water will start flowing through the hose as soon as you open the valve.

Step 4 - Lift Water Heater

Get someone to help you lift the water heater. Lift the heater after all the water has been drained out.

Step 5 - Place the Pan

While lifting the water heater, simultaneously place the water heater drain pan under the heater. Do it with the utmost caution and make sure the heater is elevated securely.

Step 6 - Replace Water Heater

After placing the water heater drain pan, gently place the elevated heater back in position on the drain pan.

Step 7 - Locate the PVC

Look at the side of the water drain pan to locate the PVC fittings. This slot is provided to attach other fittings and pipes that will help dispose of the water collected in the pan.

Step 8 - Attach

Use good quality PVC cement to glue the fixtures like elbows and the couplings. Make sure that the placement of the fittings facilitates the flow of water to the outdoors.

Step 9 - Strap

A PVC strap will hold the pipe in place, so make sure to attach it. At the end of the pipe add an elbow fitting, so that it drops the water towards the ground.

Step 10 - Reattach

water heater in a garage

All the pipes that were removed have to be attached back to the water heater. Turn on the water and gas supply.

Step 11 - Test

Turn the heater on for a test run to ascertain whether the water drain pan has been installed properly.