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cjartguy 04-10-2009 12:11 PM

Water heater drain pan - can I drain into the washer drain?
I'll be installing a water heater drain pan, and my washing machine is on the other side of the wall from the water heater. Would there be any issues or problems with simply draining the water heater drain pan into the existing drain behind the washer? Could I simply connect t the water heater drain pan to the washer drain with pvc pipe?

Hoping this will be a simple solution. Thanks for your help!

Grampa Bud 04-10-2009 12:41 PM

Yes you can connect the two drain lines as long as the level of the waterheater drain pan bottom is at the level of, or higher than, the washing machine inlet to the drain. The drain for the water heater hopefully will never have water in it and the washing machine, when it is discharging, is dumping 10-15 gallons of water at around 20 P.S.I. down its stand pipe. If the water heater is not above the washer in an open-air drain configuration your wifey is going to flush something down the pipe AFTER you clean up the flooding and build her a new house.

majakdragon 04-10-2009 12:53 PM

Please don't. Whenever the washer discharges, the water will go to the heater drain pan, and probably overflow it. Lint in the washer drain line can also clog the heater pan opening.

cjartguy 04-10-2009 12:56 PM

The washer drain opening (where the plastic drain hose goes in) is about 33" up from the floor level (slab). The water heater bottom is raised off the slab only about 22" up. I realize I shouldn't have the pipe go uphill from the water heater - I was wondering if I could drill into the side of the existing washer drain pipe at the level of the water heater drain pan and seal the pvc joint.

Thanks for your help!

cjartguy 04-10-2009 12:59 PM


what if the pipe coming from the water heater drain pan is coming in to the washer drainpipe at a downward angle? Will it still back up?

majakdragon 04-10-2009 01:19 PM

Alothough you seldom "see" it, the washer discharge water often backs up into the drain pipe. This is why new Plumbing codes are for 2" drains instead of the old 1-1/2". Newer washers also have higher discharge rates than the older models. Once you secure the heater drain in, you will not likely ever check to see if it is clogged, until it backs up. I agree that heaters seldom, if ever, need the drain pan, but it's that one time that will make you wish you had done it correctly. Many States require the drain pan to exit outside the home.

Grampa Bud 04-10-2009 09:03 PM

A waterheater drain pan first off has no trap on it so just sticking it into the side of apipe will make your home smell just like the sewer. A drain pan for any waterheater is a marvelous item and most new homes around here put them in just as a matter of course whether they are in the basement, first, second, or third floors, or in the garage. The only drain requirement is that they have an "air-gap" drain arrangement. This means that the bottom of the drain pan MUST BE higher than the drain to be run to. They do not tell us how to just to do.

cjartguy 04-15-2009 02:34 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice. I've decided to play it safe and run pvc pipe along the back wall of the garage and drain to outside.

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