Your washing machine is without a doubt an essential home appliance, but it is also the one that poses the greatest threat for flooding your home. A single burst hose lets water flood out at the rate of six gallons per minute and can cause thousands of dollars of water damage to your home in just a few moments.
Even a small drip or a buildup of condensation under your washer can eventually turn into a serious problem by creating a perfect environment for mold to grow inside the walls or floor. However, there is one thing you can do to prevent a watery disaster and the expensive repair bill that comes with it: install a washing machine overflow pan.
What is a Washing Machine Pan?
A washing machine pan (also called drain pans for washers, or washing machine overflow pans) is a tray that slides under your washing machine and is designed to catch water from machine leaks, burst hoses, drips from where the hoses connect, overflows, or accidental spills. It will also protect your floors from condensation. You can purchase one at any home improvement store and there are a range of options available so you can easily find a washing machine overflow pan that will fit into your space and your budget.
What are Washing Machine Pans Made of?
Most washing machine pans are made from plastic or another composite material. However, these pans are vulnerable to cracks during installation and may develop leaks over time as well; some companies have begun offering washing machine pans made from stainless steel that are more durable but may be less DIY-friendly to install.
Where Should You Connect Your Washing Machine Pan?
Regardless of which type of overflow pan you choose, it must be connected to a drain pipe to allow any water caught in the pan to drain away from the area. All overflow pans will have a drain fitting on either the bottom or side that needs to be connected to your home’s waste drain system through a drain fitting and PVC pipe. For the DIY homeowner, most of the plastic washer pans available on the market will have a hole already drilled into the pan and may even include the necessary PVC fittings to make installing your washing machine pan quick and painless.
Should You Hire a Plumber to Install Your Washing Machine Pan?
If your home does not have an existing drain in the laundry room or you decide to purchase a metal washer pan, you may need to hire a plumber to handle the installation. There are also washing machine pans that do not require the drain to be connected to a floor drain; instead you can run a hose from the drain in the pan into a laundry tub or even through a wall to the outside. These are extremely useful in homes without existing floor drains or upstairs laundry rooms.
Washing Machine Pan Maintenance
Once you have installed your washing machine pan, some simple maintenance will ensure that your home stays protected from water damage in the event your washing machine leaks or overflows. Check the pan after every load of laundry for cracks or standing water in the pan or if you notice an unpleasant smell in your laundry room. This could be caused by water that is not draining properly and should be addressed as quickly as possible to minimize damages. You should also clean the drain pan with a household cleaner regularly to control odors and to ensure that the pan is in good repair.
Hopefully, you can now see why installing a washing machine pan is so important. It is a fairly inexpensive, simple way of protecting your home from water damage that could ruin your home and your wallet in a matter of minutes.