Here is the situation (with pics):

top of heater

bottom of heater

See that pan on the bottom? The hole in it is covered by tape.

So here is what I was gonna do. Is this a good idea? First. I've gone out and purchased a new pan for the bottom. I also purchased a round piece of wood exactly the same size as the pan and 6 bricks and the hose you see connected to the drain.

My plan was to turn off the water and gas lines. Drain the thing using the hose. Then hopefully, If I loosen up the restraining straps I should be able to lift the whole contraption up about 4 inches. That will be just enough space to slide the bricks underneath and also the wood on top of the bricks and the new pan on that.

Doing this will raise the pan so that it is slightly higher than the hole in the wall where I plan to add a pipe connected to the pan for drainage.

Speaking of the hole in the wall... You see how there is currently a pipe in that hole? Someone went through the trouble of connecting all of that pipe to the pressure release valve. As far as I can tell those pipes are welded on so that's going to be a problem. My thought's there are that I will take a hacksaw and simply cut the pressure release valve pipe at the bottom right before it would have gone through the wall.

Is this a reasonable approach?

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    1 - Not clear what the current actual problem is - title says "leak" but I didn't see description of a leak in the body of the posting; 2 - 4" is going to cause problems on everything at the top - flexible in/out water lines aren't always as flexible as you might think and the vent will be seriously affected too; 3 - even empty, a water heater is heavy so lifting it may not be as easy as you think; 4 - be extremely careful about the gas connections - yellow flex should be able to handle 4" of movement but any problem anywhere and you now have a gas leak. Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 18:50
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    OMG there is so much wrong with that photo. Is there even a code in the states?
    – Joe Fala
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 19:41
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    "I'm pretty sure this was installed by a moron." Quite likely, but don't take the same approach to fixing the problem! This whole mess looks like it wants throwing away and replacing with a proper installation IMO.
    – alephzero
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 23:37
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    If the water heater is broken, why are you wasting even five minutes of your time on hokey shims and quick fixes? You'll have to fix it properly quite soon. Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 2:07
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    No one else mentioned it, but that looks like a laminate floor and it now has water under it. That should probably be addressed to when the water heater is taken out.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 15:44

4 Answers 4


If the water on the floor is from the water heater I would fix that problem before I do anything else. If it is coming from the tank then it probably needs replaced. You can raise the tank as high as you want but if you do I would also replace the copper flex water lines and the flexible gas line. Once those lines get older, the flex gets hard and rigid and may break when you re-bend them to the new height. A broken water line or gas leak could be a disaster. And, by the way, the piping off that T&P relief valve is soldered and is not welded indicating to me that you should seek help from someone more knowledgeable than yourself in what you want to accomplish.

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    Thank's. I suspect you are right on all accounts. Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 19:03
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    @DallasCaley, fyi, the difference between a weld and soldering is that a weld means that the original pieces have melted (a bit) and they are fused together, while soldering is more like hot glue, where the solder melts at a much lower temperature and is wicked up by the parts, providing a seal. You can undo soldering by heating the joint at the proper temperature, but welding requires mechanical destruction. Cutting, drilling, chiseling…
    – sleblanc
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 16:20
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    The fact that the OP isn't familiar with soldering vs. welding doesn't mean he can't come here to learn how to properly deal with his situation. I agree with everything in your answer except for that comment. Its a water pipe, not a gas pipe, and he's already got a flood. Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 13:08

No gas shut off for either line, flex is not suitable for a stationary appliance unless it's approved CSST, duct tape on the flue, draft hood is crooked, pressure relief should terminate in a conspicuous location, those flex lines, globe valve, saddle valve, crooked seismic strap, it's old, it's leaking, plus all the problems not visible from the picture. It's time for a change.

  • Ah-ha! Seismic strap! Thanks - never saw one of those before as I don't live in an area where they're needed. In Ohio our dirt doesn't go out dancing. :-) Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 12:38
  • @Bob Jarvis I'm in Toronto so no dancing here either. I'm not sure about the name, I just made it up but thought it was clear enough that I didn't have to google it.
    – Joe Fala
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 13:44
  • @BobJarvis we're neighbors, I'm in Indiana. Does "New Madrid" mean anything to you? It's been a while, but your dirt may go dancing, too. (Of course, nobody 'round here worries about seismic straps, either...)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:06
  • Yeah, if/when the New Madrid fault cuts loose again it's gonna be a mess. But fortunately that won't matter, because it'll all be underwater due to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Of course, that will cause massive devastating tsunamis, but that won't matter because the human race will have gone extinct from sheer embarrassment, if for no other reason. Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 13:04

There is a reason most countries regulate gas-related equipment strictly, because they don't want buildings to explode. If there is no electricity or gas involved, fix it! If it's under - let's say - 50 Volts, go on! If it's 110-230 V, watch out, but you'll be probably okay. If it can leak gas, and fill up the inside of a building, or kill everyone through CO poisoning, call someone who knows what to do! (and probably certified by either a gas company, a heater manufacturer, or by the government).

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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. I removed your commentary; it would have made it more likely that your post be deleted. Without that, it's a reasonable answer: thanks. Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 2:45
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    I wrote it because an "ask a professional" answer in a DIY topic is frowned upon, even when it's the correct (and in many places, the legal) answer.
    – Nyos
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 3:06
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    @Nyos that line of thinking doesn't apply to the stackexchange network, even the DIY corner. We are after objectively 'right' answers here. Sometimes the right answer is to consult a professional.
    – James T
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 9:23
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    "If it's 110-230 V, watch out, but you'll be probably okay." Voltages like that are potentially lethal. I know many of us have survived it often enough, but don't state "you'll be probably okay". That's not how it works.
    – Mast
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 15:02
  • @Mast: That's true, it's why I added the "watch out" part. You need to be careful with those (more than low-voltage stuff). Also, some countries/companies have legal restriction there as well, but not as common/strict as with gas. Do you think I should edit my answer?
    – Nyos
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 15:25

Being in the plumbing industry most of my adult life, if you are going to go to the trouble of raising the heater just a few inches, you might want to look at relocating the heater entirely. I have never seen a "smitty pan" save a home from a major water leak.

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