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Floor Drain In Mechanical Room

  • Yes, works for various applications/needs/issues

    Votes: 11 64.7%
  • YES, it's a common piping arrangement

    Votes: 8 47.1%
  • No, indirect heater's pan drain and T&P

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, why care about worst case scenario?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Floor drain in a Mechanical Room,

Do you need one?


2 Furnaces already piped with condensate drains to other indirect waste, OUTSIDE OF ROOM.

Water Heater in same room, leaked recently and did damage to floor even outside of room.


This room also has a setup for all the syrup bottles for the softdrink machines.

The floor drain location is in a corner, halfway under a wall, but it would still serve as a pan drain for the water heater, and also the T&P discharge.


REMEMBER:

IF, a water heater has a serious leak, it can overcome the flow rate that 1" PVC can handle if for some reason the leak becomes excessive.

I.E. >>>Leak starts after the business closes, high water pressure, hell any water pressure lets that run overnight and gets worse, unattended.



I started this thread because there was a chain of events that was created by the above statements, and I with another Master Plumber discussed two different methods of thinking, one of which the property owner chose to do.

I can't divulge the outcome until I get a fairly decent consensus of what the majority of you feel about the question.



I personally find a floor drain in a mechanical room quite useful, no matter where it is in that room.


For one, It's a really nice option to have when there's been a catastrophe involving water damage in a building and you want to direct as much water into the DWV system as possible.

Lots of other reasons but I'd like to hear the reasons why it would be a "bad" idea to have a floor drain in a mechanical room.


The trap drying out is a given, but the trap primer cost perspective even though a valid one, isn't a world ending issue as you all know.
 

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IL code requires a floor drain, and if it is in a basement it has to be a 4" drain connected to either a building sewer or a sewage ejector pump that is connected to the building sewer.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #3
How about a suspended slab, metal decking with office space underneath.


And would it still require 4", and would it require a vent. Trap to stack, 14'. KY code max trap to arm on 4" is 10'. Property owner would never hold still for a vent application, which would be opening a wall to get to the attic, but it would be doable, possible.
 

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How about a suspended slab, metal decking with office space underneath.


And would it still require 4", and would it require a vent. Trap to stack, 14'. KY code max trap to arm on 4" is 10'. Property owner would never hold still for a vent application, which would be opening a wall to get to the attic, but it would be doable, possible.
Above ground it would be sized by fixture units, with a minimum of 2".
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #5
Above ground it would be sized by fixture units, with a minimum of 2".


The vent for this 4" floor drain? Yes; 4 DFU's. Is that what you meant?


Or are you spec'ing a floor drain @ 2"? Residential yes, commercial no.
 

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Always Something
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Out of the 6 to 10 tankless heaters I do per month, I'd say about 90% (sometimes more) are relocations to the exterior for this very reason. Most people at the very least know someone who had damage from a tanked heater gone bad. For me it's a great selling feature for the relocation. It drives up labor and provides homeowners with an added sense of security. Now, we all know a joing that partially lets go can cause just as much damage, however in my experience those are far and few between. In this economy I use every positive to help close the deals. At the same time I do not make it a habit of scaring people into a sale...I hate that shyit.

Now for the rest of the country that gets into freezing temps where outdoor units are not advised (at least by me) I think a std 1" off a pan is good enough. However that's for tankless. I have seen (only once) a pinhole in the heat exchanger that was maybe at a gallon per hour but caused alot of damage too...again very rare. My personal opinion is that any cavity that houses a tanked heater should have a floor drain. In commercial remods if it is not spec'd I'll ask the GC or the owner. Most time no one wants the additional expense...sometimes a more experienced contractor or owner knows better. I too offer them up.
 

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If the mechanical room is in the basement, how else can one dispose of relief valve and/or condensate drainage? We usually run a 2" branch off a tee on the vertical riser between the floor drain and trap over to the wall nearest the mechanical equipment and run the various discharges into this line indirectly thru a 4x2 funnel on the branch riser. It combines the flood safety of a floor drain with the convenience of a floor sink.
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #9
I've never been in a mechanical room, residential or commercial, that didn't have a floor drain.

Exactly my point for starting this thread.


Here's what transpired yesterday, which will be an interesting read:



Last week I was called to a commercial building that houses 5 businesses; a pizza parlor, a subway, a convenient store, a oil company and a transmission repair shop.


Fairly large building, I've been the service plumber there for 5 years. Done a lot of work in the maintenance of the plumbing. Last week a water heater blew on the first floor, over top the oil company. It was discovered at that time that when I went to drain the water heater, there was no floor drain. :eek:


The last plumber installed the heater, had it inspected by the state of kentucky and passed. Inspectors didn't look to see if that was actually a floor drain. It's a 4" hole that an intersecting wall covers 2/3rds of the opening and the plumber ran his T&P overflow right to the drain, then 90'd down 3 feet into a void of 9' between the concrete w metal decking floor, and the drop ceiling that serves the oil company's office.

When the water heater blew, damage occurred to the ceiling below.


When I caught this problem, I had intentions of getting a permit on this heater, and definitely correcting this lack of a floor drain issue.

There was no way it wasn't going to get addressed.


The owner of 2 of the businesses in the building? I explained that I could run a 1" PVC drain for the heater pan, and a 3/4" copper T&P overflow down to a laundry tub in a hardly ever used utility room where a laundry tub sits. Easy job because it's 2 holes through a drop ceiling and supported off the wall.

Talked to the owner last thursday, first statement he made was he didn't want any inspectors in that building. ???

I set the call for tuesday, told him no matter what, this situation is getting taken care of because I got my name on that heater install.

Tuesday, he tells me no way he wants those 2 pipes going into the laundry tub. What he wants, is me to tie into the condensate drains following off the A/C units or even worse, a 2" vent. ??? Told him no way; it's getting done to code.

I made a statement that when I saw an abandoned turnout from the stack nearby, I was going to turn up a 4" floor drain like the damn mechanical room is supposed to have. He wouldn't hold still for this, thinking this was more work, which was not true.

Less than $100 in materials by far.

Bottom line, I was running and fetching parts as one of his employees was helping me prepare to set this up, he calls another plumber, someone he golfs with. I personally know this other plumber and get along with him fine.

He said he wanted a second opinion, and sure enough, him and I agreed on numerous things and the different takes on the situation.


Here's the result of this "issue":


The owner agreed to have the "other" plumber finish the task of getting these matters resolved. The goal at this point is to run the T&P and the pan's 1" PVC drain out a concrete wall and down to within 4" of hard surface grade. He proposed using CPVC instead of copper to save money.

But, 2 1-1/4" holes will have to be drilled in a foundation wall that will be nearly 12' off the ground, then turned down and supported from the location of the heater to all the way down that wall.

How much time you think that will take against running a 4" drain from a nearby stack?

You all know how easily a leak from a water heater can supercede the amount of water a 1" PVC drain can handle. Guess what; if that heater breaks loose like it did this last time, it will damage the ceiling below again.


That's why I was for the 4" floor drain instead of 2 pipes leading from the water heater. It's almost like the pan is for "show" because I've seen water pressure blowing water right out side those pan applications.


Here's the magnificent beauty of all of this...


The only reason I was doing this commercial service work is because I have an ongoing business friendship with the owner of 2 businesses inside the building, NOT the building's owner. This new owner owned the oil company for years but never owned the building till last year. The previous owner I know real well and he's very understanding, would of never put me in this second opinion play.

This incident made me realize that it's time to pass the torch to this new guy completely, and I made sure I was ready for this move, given all the damn service work I've had to do over the past 5 years, including the amount of work I had to do in just the past 3 months.

Why would I complain about all this work?

I was working "cheaper" because of my business friendship with the owner of the 2 businesses in the building.

I never wanted to say no to this guy because him and I use each other for advertising outlets, through what I do and what he does. All I have to do is ask and he'll send any flyer out with the food he serves, including subway.

So every time I had to work at this building IT SUCKED. The pay wasn't good, ALWAYS having to hunt for T&S parts that I refused to pay for all the different ones I've needed over the years and stock on my truck just because I worked for 2 of these establishments, that's it.

I take this "new" guy handling all the service work of the building as a huge weight lifted off my chest that I don't have to stop drop and roll whenever they need anything done, anymore.

"Some" of the people in that building as far as the workers go were shocked by my response to these latest events, being that I was relieved, and they are concerned about the fact that they don't know a whole lot about the incoming plumber.

I think he'll do a good job, but I think he'll start to dislike the constant headaches with this building. They demand you instantly because it's an operating business with lots of people in it at all times. Sometimes you have to be there before the problem creates itself.

In my opinion, I believe it was a foolish move not to let me put that floor drain in, honestly. There are boxes of syrup for the soda machines in this room, 2 other furnaces that if the A-coil pans ever clog, we all know where that water is heading, and there's no floor drain to catch it.


Both methods of getting this water heater code compliant are reasonable, but I felt my method was a more logical way. This didn't jive with the owner of the property, which led to a second opinion, which basically told me it's time to leave this this constant headache I can't remove myself from because of a friendship.

Now I have an excuse, and I made sure I told him I was ready to do the handoff.


What I didn't mention in the above was that this plumbing system is over 30 years old, all PVC and there's been some really extensive drain cleaning done at this building that has revealed that the piping is completely full of grease, fructose corn syrup from the coke machines, and who knows what else. A section of 4" pipe about 2' long probably weighs 30 pounds minimum from the weight of the buildup in the pipes.

I told the owner of the two businesses that an enzyme injection system should be considered or a really thorough jetting of the lines to get them back to day one, otherwise you all are going to constantly be spending money on drain cleaning. Just in the past two months...I had to clear the drains on the outgoing side of the grease traps....horribly clogged and I bet I didn't do much.

I am sooooo glad I'm not the one to call anymore, and even though I was told I wasn't going to be the first called, I don't ever want to be called again, ever on this property. No hard feelings, I just don't want to deal with it anymore.

If my business friend calls, then it's a different story altogether, I'll worry about that when the time comes, which I hope will be never. :thumbsup:
 
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