The Case Of The Drip Pan Misdirection Non-connection


this is another great post by Jay Markanich, a well respected home inspector in Northern Virginia.  Read and heed all the information provided by Jay.  It may save you the problem of future renovations from water damage.

Via Jay Markanich – Virginia Home Inspector (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC):

Drip pans are common and necessary.  They are the pans you see under the washing machine, HVAC unit and water heater if those appliances are on upper floors.  You sometimes even see them when on the lower floor.

Hopefully these pans will never be needed as they are only used if there is a leak from any of those appliances.  But should there be a leak, drip pans are crucial.

If different pans are going to be plumbed consecutively, there should be no drip pan misdirection non-connection.

In this new construction, all three appliances were in a columnar line, and connected.

I did not know that.

The supervisor came by during the inspection and asked if I had any questions. 

Yes!  The stackable washer/dryer and HVAC unit were beside each other in two closets on the upper level.  Unusual, but I could see the drip pan connection of the W/D, and not under the HVAC unit.

He assured me they were connected.  In fact, said he, drip pans are very important to him.  He personally makes sure they are all connected. 

I asked where the drain goes and he said they were connected to the water heater’s pan and they drain out back.  I had seen the line coming out of the house, so I believed him.  But I had not yet seen the water heater.

When I told him I had never seen three appliances so connected together, he flew into a hissy fit and explained how smart it is, and efficient, and how he MAKES SURE THE CONNECTIONS ARE SOLID!

<——–  Then I found and showed him this.

And I said, “Well, this surely needs to be connected!  But, what happens if the outside discharge gets clogged with a stuck mouse.  Wouldn’t the water back up into the water heater pan, which is small, and get into the house?” *

He just looked at me.  I think I heard crickets.

My recommendation:  don’t forget your new construction inspections!  You never know what magician’s misdirection you might run into!  Even if it is “efficient.”  Oh, all drip pans really, really need to be connected to their drain!

*  The chance that this could happen is extremely, extremely remote.  But with this arrangement not impossible.  But I couldn’t resist the fun!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia

About susanmorrison

After living in Walpole, MA for many years, our family was transferred to the west coast when I was a senior in high school. In 1983, I graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. I am also a 1987 graduate of Providence College with a major in liberal arts and a minor in business administration. I bring to the table many years of sales experience beginning with thirteen years in Corporate Sales at Delta Air Lines. I'm the mother of three children and I'm very active within the Franklin, MA community. I am also a cancer survivor and support the American Cancer Society Charities.

My husband and I have built five homes and I've lived in a variety of other locations including Toronto Canada, Irving Texas and my current home in Franklin, MA. As a result of all my moving around, I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at moving...why not become an expert on the other side of the table? I earned my real estate license in 2004 and believe that I have found my true niche'. I can empathize with my clients on a variety of levels; whether they are buying or selling. And, like so many other good realtors out there, I believe that possessing good communication skills is one of the many keys to success.

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