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Question DetailsAsked on 3/4/2014

Is pitch in the floor towards the drain in a utility closet with gas furnace and washer/dryer required by JC Code?

Furnace in upstair unit and mine are both leaking into a pan that is overflowing because it's not directly piped into the drain. A plumber told me the floor in the utility closet with furnace and washer/dryer needs to be pitched towards the drain so any water from either appliance would run into the drian. Upstairs unit owner says a drip pan is all that is required. I think common sense says that if you have a drain you pitch the floor so the water will head to the drain. Is this correct? Does anyone know the Jersey City Construction Code that requires pitching towards a drain (which I think must exist or everyone's showers and utility closets would be leaking everywhere) so I can show it to the neighbor and get her to agree to do the work?

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2 Answers


As far as I know here in New Jersey the pan is all that is required and I have questioned how it is supposed to stop that much water. They are quite often used under washing machines as well and if a drain hose breaks there is no way they could contain the amount of water involved. It is possible that JC has a more stringent code but I doubt it. I have seen them piped into the a drain, many have a spot on the pan to add a drain connection on the side. It may be a code for multi familyunits and would make sense, I deal with mostly one and two family homes in my renovation business. You can call the city building department and ask one of the code officials.

One possibility would be to install a leak alarm so you could at least use a wet vac to avoid water damage. I believe the big box stores have them in stock


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Building code generally require not less than 1/4" (1/8 or 1/16" in some codes) slope per foot to SHOWER and GARAGE FLOOR drains across the entire slab served by the drain, and not more than 1/2"/foot except for handicpped wheelchair access ramps.

However - bad news - if the 2012 International Residential Code applies in your town or state, here is the complete extract of what it says about Floor Drains not in garages - nothing about slope - so might not be required, especially if you have a raised concrete curb or step-down in the utility room:

P2719.1 Floor drains.
Floor drains shall have waste outlets not less than 2 inches (51 mm) in diameter and a removable strainer. The floor drain shall be constructed so that the drain can be cleaned. Access shall be provided to the drain inlet. Floor drains shall not be located under or have their access restricted by permanently installed appliances.

Also - there is no requirement in the IRC that I can see or are aware of requiring a floor drain in utility rooms, so as far as I can see the building owner could just plug it up and say "see - no slope needed because no drain".

More bad news - I tried the Jersey City building department site, but their link to the building code is a dead link. The New Jersey state building code site says the Plumbing Code section is Deleted - so I don't know - maybe NJ decided to live up to its reputation as a lawless land a la Christie and decided people did not not need building codes ?

I would visit the JC building department to see if they can burn you a copy of the applicable code section, but I am guessing you are out of luck. Perhaps a simple solution, if they wouldlet you do this, is buy plastic flexible baseboard and glue that around the perimeter, then caulk the base with silicone caulk to make it relatively watertight. Also caulk down a doorsill piece. That would give you about 1 inch of freeboard, so unless floor is really out of level, watermight floor utility room floor but would go down the drain and not spread much.

Also- I would think about a water alarm for about $10, and put battery change on your annual fire alarm battery change schedule too.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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