I’m looking at replacing an 11-year-old water heater as the hot water has become extremely discolored recently. I have flushed it twice in five years (I know, not enough) and could never remove the anode rod to check it, much less replace. A failed expansion tank also had to be replaced once it was determined that the pressure regulator had also failed (85 psi at the washing machine).
This is in a townhome on a slab that was built in 2000, and it does not appear to have any type of floor drain in the laundry room where the heater is located. The AC in a neighboring closet has a condensate pump. I have searched images of neighboring homes on real estate websites, and it doesn’t look like any of those homes have floor drains either. The current water heater was replaced around 2010 and - based on the (poorly) replaced flooring in the laundry room - probably experienced some type of leak. I want to replace this one before the same thing happens as the damages would be significant for myself and the neighbor.
However, I can’t determine what to do about a drain. I was already planning to replace the stand with one that is the proper height and add a drain pan beneath the heater. Is it required to add a drain to bring it up to code (Raleigh, NC)? How am I expected to do that when the home is on a slab? I have only come up with two options:
- drain the pan to a small basin beneath the heater and pump to the laundry drain
- add a PVC drain line behind the washer and dryer and gravity drain through the exterior wall
I don’t know if either option is allowed. Option 1 is the easiest, but there is also some risk if there is a power or pump failure, or if the pump can keep up with the leak. Still, it’s better than nothing. For Option 2, I’m not sure if any code would prevent adding a drain line on the inside of a wall running behind appliances. I’d also rather not drill a hole in a brick exterior wall where the utilities are located. It would also be next to the dryer vent and would drain onto a concrete slab and downhill into an adjoining neighbor’s backyard. Of course this is only for an emergency, but I don’t want to create a bigger problem in the process. How do homebuilders get away with stuff like this?
Does anyone see any other issues that I could potentially face with the heater replacement? I was considering going with corrugated flex lines on the inlet and outlet since it will be such a short transition to the PEX. I believe there is supposed to be 18” of line between the heater and PEX. The additional height from the stand will make things a bit tight. I know the expansion tank will have to be mounted to the wall if I go that route.