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Old 03-14-2009, 11:03 AM   #1
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


I'm putting a washing machine on the 2nd floor so I need a safety drain pan.

I think there's a conflict between requirements. The P trap for the washing machine is supposed to be above the floor but the safety drain pan needs to be below the floor. So a separate P trap is needed for the drain pan but it won't be used so the water will dry out in the P trap.

What makes sense is to have one P trap below the floor that both the washing machine and the safety drain pan go into.

How are other people meeting these conflicting requirements?

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Old 03-14-2009, 12:07 PM   #2
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


I'm not sure where you live, but most codes require the drain from the safety pan to not be connected to the sanitary drainage system. I also haven't heard of having a safety pan below the floor, that would defeat it's purpose, since a leak could spread out over the floor above the pan and do a lot of damage. Most safety pans are installed on top of the floor and the appliance, typically a washing machine of water heater, sits in the pan. (The requirements are different for washers and water heaters). Anyway, the drain pipe is usually run in the ceiling and walls to get to the outside of the house. Typically you would turn the pipe, usually 3/4" or 1" out through the wall a foot or so above the ground and just glue a 90 degree ell on pointing down. Since this is just a safety pan it should never have any water running out of it.
You should double check and make sure I'm right about the need for a trap on the pan drain in your area, but I've never heard of that.

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Old 03-14-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Thanks Mstplumber.

I'm in MN. I wouldn't really want a direct drain to the outside as that would let air in or out through it without some kind of flap.

Sorry for giving you the wrong impression. Yes, a pan that sits on the floor with the washing machine in it. I meant that the P trap would have to be under the floor below the pan.

Hmmm, a seperate drain then. There's no easy way from me to run that down through the second floor so out the side and fall a story or a pipe on the side of the house. I'm not liking either.

Why wouldn't they want it connected to the sanitary drain because of the trap issue I mentioned? A seperate drain is probably a hassle for most like it is me.
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Old 03-14-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


From what I'm reading on the web it sounds like there is some kind of ball valve trap thingy that is used for this application to prevent the water from evaporating from the trap. Anybody know what that device is called? It appears to be OK code wise at least some places to run the washer drain pan into the sewer/drain.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:57 PM   #5
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


What you are talking about is a trap seal primer valve.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:18 PM   #6
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Wildbilly, if you tie into the sanitary sewer system, you would also be required to install a vent. If not, you could suck the water out of the trap when other fixtures are used. Washing machine and water heater safety pans are meant to drain to the outside of the home.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:52 AM   #7
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


So how does one keep the outside air from entering the house via the safety drain then if the drain just runs outside the house?

How do you make it look nice too?
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Quote:
Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
Wildbilly, if you tie into the sanitary sewer system, you would also be required to install a vent. If not, you could suck the water out of the trap when other fixtures are used. Washing machine and water heater safety pans are meant to drain to the outside of the home.
Washing machines, water heater pans, dish washers and a/c condenser drains just to name a few are a form of indirect waste and need to be connected with a air gap or air break. Connecting to the exterior could be foolish due to freezing..if that is a concern in your area

My advise to you is to check with your local code department and they will be more than happy to assist you.

Water heater pans and washer pan are to be connected in manner so that if a problem occures that the drain is seen so that it can be repaired in time to not create damage to the property.

Most pans come with either side or bottom knock out to connect a 3/4" or 1" drain and the connect to a waste connection by means of an air break

This drain does not need to be trapped.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:47 AM   #9
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


If there is no trap, an air-gap or air-break would still allow sewer gas to get into the home if it is connected to the homes drain lines. While I understand the problem with freezing and even the looks of a line running outside the house (especially from the second floor), codes I have worked under do not really care or cover it. Any type drain line tied into the drain piping IS covered. If I were wildbilly, I would check with the local Code Office to see what they require. In the end, their rules are the only thing that matter.
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:01 PM   #10
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Quote:
Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
If there is no trap, an air-gap or air-break would still allow sewer gas to get into the home if it is connected to the homes drain lines. While I understand the problem with freezing and even the looks of a line running outside the house (especially from the second floor), codes I have worked under do not really care or cover it. Any type drain line tied into the drain piping IS covered. If I were wildbilly, I would check with the local Code Office to see what they require. In the end, their rules are the only thing that matter.
An air break would drain into a floor drain, a utility sink or another trapped fixture thus still giving a trap to prevent sewer gasses. It just drains below flood level rim..oh just like a washing machine..a pipe within a pipe not directly connected..a back flow prevention

The codes I work in UPC Plumbing 2006 and ICC Plumbing 2006 require this..
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:09 PM   #11
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Guess I missed something. If the washing machine (or even water heater pan) drained into a trapped fixture, what is the reason for an air-gap or air-break? Just run piping to the sink or other trapped fixture and let it drain. Wildbilly was asking about tying into a house drain line. This is different than draining into a trapped fixture.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:23 PM   #12
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Quote:
Originally Posted by majakdragon View Post
Guess I missed something. If the washing machine (or even water heater pan) drained into a trapped fixture, what is the reason for an air-gap or air-break? Just run piping to the sink or other trapped fixture and let it drain. Wildbilly was asking about tying into a house drain line. This is different than draining into a trapped fixture.
True, but the same. Both need to have an air break. Both are an indirect waste and need an air break. Wildbilly needs to understand that the washer pan is just the same as the drain pan for a water heater it protects the building for damage if they start to leak and no one sees it before the damage is done. However, the drain needs to be in a place so that someone sees a pipe dripping and knows that the pipe shouldn't be dripping and make the repairs necessary. It is also for a backflow protection.

Also by doing it this way you would not have to trap this line. Since waste doesn't go down this drain unless of a leak from the washer or water heater you won't have to worry about the trap evaporating and letting sewer gas into the structure.

Let's say that the drain that the washer pan drains into overflows you wouldn't want the overflow to go back to the washer pan.

Hope this helps

Last edited by Plumber101; 03-15-2009 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #13
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


Still missing it I guess. My point is that any time you tie into a house drain line, you need a trap and a vent. If you drain into a trapped fixture, why the need for an air-gap since the drain pan from a washer (or water heater) is not going to cause backflow? How could a line from the drain pan back up through a line dropped into a sink? Comparing this with the past requirement for an air-gap in a dishwasher. Many areas found that the air-gap did no more than a high loop placed in the drain line of the DW to prevent backflow. All air-gaps did was cause more clogging problems. Many areas dropped the requirement for air-gaps. The only way to prevent a drain pan line from backflowing back to the pan, is a check valve. Bottom line, to my way of thinking, is that if you tie a drain (from anything) into a house drain line, you are required to have a trap and a vent. AAV's are considered vents and are allowed in some areas. Maybe I am mistaking your air-gap for an AAV type fitting and even though we are talking about the same results, we are using different terminology. No matter what, Wildbilly still needs to find out what his local code is.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:56 PM   #14
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


I'm still confused. Does the normal washing machine trap need to be above the floor(I thought there was a requirement to be 18-42" above the floor)?

If the regular trap can go below the floor then I can easily just drain the pan into the same trap. This would be similar to a double sink but may not meet some one trap per drain requirement? The hard part would be to keep the washing machine sewage from backing up through the pan drain; maybe a checkvalve would solve that?
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:27 AM   #15
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Trap and washing machine safety drain pan


The drain pan for the clothes washer is a separate item from the main clothes washer drain. The clothes washer drain is generally into a standpipe or laundry tub.
Here is an example spec for a standpipe rough-in from Terry Love's website:

"STANDPIPE RECEPTOR FOR CLOTHES WASHER SHALL EXTEND BETWEEN 18" AND 30" ABOVE TRAP. TRAP FOR CLOTHES WASHER STANDPIPE RECEPTOR SHALL BE INSTALLED ABOVE THE FLOOR, AND SHALL BE ROUGHED IN NOT LESS THEN SIX INCHES AND NOT MORE THAN EIGHTEEN INCHES ABOVE THE FLOOR."

The pan is under the washing machine on the floor and has an indirect waste line that discharges via an air gap or air break into an approved receptor such as a floor drain, open site drain, or service sink located on a lower floor. An air gap is a separation or air space between the indirect waste pipe and the flood rim of the receptor. An air break is a separation between the indirect waste pipe and the bottom of the receptor.

You could provide a trapped and vented open site drain on a stack in the basement and discharge into that if you do not otherwise have an approved receptor at a floor below. That trap would require a trap primer to prevent aspiration of the trap seal.


Last edited by tbonebanjo; 05-06-2010 at 11:31 AM.
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