How to Install a Drip Leg on a Water Heater

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Things You'll Need

  • Drip leg pipe

  • Wrench

  • Plumber's Tape

Drip Leg

Drip legs are a necessity for a natural gas water heater. This drip leg will catch any condensation or debris that can damage integral parts of the heater. How it operates is that when the gas flows through the pipe, it will be lighter than any debris or water and the unwanted materials will fall into the drip leg instead of proceeding to the heater.


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Step 1

Shut off the gas line that you will be installing the drip leg on.

Step 2

Locate the control valve mechanism on the water heater, this is where you will install the drip leg pipe onto.

Step 3

Wrap all the threads of the drip leg pipe, gas line pipe and control valve inlet pipe with plumber's tape, this will allow for a tighter seal that will prevent gas leaks.

Step 4

Screw the drip leg pipe onto the gas line and control valve inlet so that the drip leg portion of the pipe is angled downward. Gravity is the key ingredient to a drip legs functionality, so the more perpendicular to the ground the pipe is, the better.


Step 5

Tighten all fittings of the drip leg pipe, gas line and control valve inlet with a wrench. Be careful not to over tighten the joints but make sure that they are sufficiently fastened. A general rule of thumb is to tighten until it is slightly harder to turn the wrench with your arm strength.

Step 6

Turn gas line back on and check to see if you have any leaks. Natural gas is odorless when found in nature but a sulfur odor has been added to it. If you have a leak you will notice this sulfur odor in the air and you should immediately shut off the natural gas to the water heater. You will have to redo the installation.


This is a project that just about any person with mechanical knowledge can do but it is recommended to have a professional do this installation due to the risk of working with natural gas. Use this article as a guide to aide in the installation of a drip leg.


Turn off gas line before installing drip leg. Make sure pipe is secure before turning gas back on.