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Question DetailsAsked on 9/13/2017

The pan under my 4 year old propane hot water heater is full of water. it does not overflow and the pilot is out?

4 year old propane water heater has a galvanized pan underneath , the pan itself does not have a drain water is coming from somewhere and fills the water pan but does not overflow. and the pilot light will not light. I cant see water coming from anywhere. it id not the pop off valve for sure , it does not seem to be wet in the flame chamber at all and I do not thing the water is coming from the drain valve. everything seems dry.?

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OK - drain pan is supposed to have a drain pipe (typically 1") leading to wherever it can safest discharge - normally toward a floor drain.

Pilot went out because it drowned ? if this is a normal (about 3-4" deep) pan. Sources for the water to get in there (which is evidently a slow leak or drip which evaporation is just keeping up with) - 1) popoff valve is popping open (commonly only for a second or so) because the tank is overpressuring when it heats up, because you have a backflow preventer in the cold water line leading to it, preventing the expansion of the hot water from pushing back down the cold line. Calls for installation of expansion tank in that case - LOTS of previous questions about that issue in the Home > Plumbing link under Browse Projects, at lower left. 2) leaking popoff valve - as they get old they commonly start to weep - if the bottom of the discharge pipe is not under water, feel up inside the pipe to feel if wet/damp 3) leaking fittings on top of tank or at popoff valve where it enters tank, running down inside the outer housing (or over it sometimes) 4) leaking thermostat housing in tank - almost always these days this is in a "well" so unless threaded straight into tank, this would constitute a tank leak requiring heater replacement 5) leaking electrical heating element threads 6) leaking fitting above the tank, running down the pipes to the top of the tank 7) rarely - but happens - with high efficiency direct-vent heaters, if the exhaust flue pipe does not slope down to the outside, or has a vertical riser outside without a drain opening outside, condensation can run back down the flue pipe and down the flue in the center of the heater Obviously, you need to find the source of the water - if you can't feel around and find a leaking popoff valve or fitting, drain and dry (sponge followed by hair dryer or heat gun on low works well but don't heat the gas lines/valve) the pan and then start checking, after it is dry for an hour or so, with paper towels and bright flashlight (maybe with mirror) to find where the water is coming from. If you can't find it, then Plumbing is the Search the List category (also Heating and A/C in most areas) to get someone to diagnose it. Be sure, if not pretty sure it is a leaking tank (and this is pretty young to leak unless cheapest model with 3-5 year warranty), that you tell them you want to find the exact source of the leak, not just automatically replace the heater - though that is a judgement call, say $1000-2000 for new heater versus probably $100-250 diagnosis / tracking it down on a heater that might end up having to be replaced because it IS a tank leak. Here are a few previous similar question-with-answer links FYI:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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