Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Troubleshooting, Anodes graphic
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Drain pans are designed to give you a little protection against a leaking water heater. They are a little-larger diameter than the tank and have an outlet. One should plumb a line from that to a drain. It is not uncommon for water heaters to start leaking slowly, dripping water from some part. Eventually, the weak spot may burst. The drain pan won't prevent a flood at that point, but will buy you some time before it happens. It's a good idea to hedge your bet by placing a water alarm in the pan that will screech when moisture is detected. spigot type.