Do You Need a Washing Machine Drain Pan?

Many people don’t know what a washing machine drain pan is, and they may not have one in their home. But, these are simple devices that can be the difference between a small leak and a major flood in your home. In this article, we will explain what a drain pan is, how it works, and how to maintain it to keep your home safe from washing machine floods.

Image of a washer and dryer

What is a Washing Machine Drain Pan?

This is a simple device that’s slid under your washing machine to give you some protection against accidental spills or water leaks. A washing machine pan has a rectangular shape and slightly larger than the base dimensions of most washers. It’s usually made for metal or high density plastic to catch water and debris from a water leak. This is a very useful device, especially if your washing machine is located on an upper floor where water could leak down into rooms located on lower floors.

How Does a Washing Machine Drain Pan Work?

A drain pan can be purchased at most plumbing or hardware stores. The rectangular device usually comes with a pre-cut hole to install a PVC pipe for drainage. The drain pan is installed under the washer, and it will need to be lifted up to get the pan in position. The PVC pipe is then connected to the drain, and this prevents a major water leak from ever rising above the level of the drain pan. Any excess water is simply channeled away into the drain to avoid water damage to your home.

Can I Install a Drain Pan Myself?

Installing a washer drain pan isn’t too difficult if you have DIY skills, some basic tools, and plenty of patience. You will need the following: the drain pan, a hacksaw, a dolly, a carpenters level, and an appropriate PVC drain fitting. Follow these ten simple steps to install the washing machine drain pan.

  1. Shut off the water supply to your washer, unplug the power supply and remove all hoses.
  2. Place the dolly under the washer by lifting the machine slightly and sliding the dolly into place. It’s a good idea to get some help because a washing machine can be heavy.
  3. Move the washer forward slightly, and you should see the floor drain for the laundry room.
  4. Use the hacksaw to cut the drainpipe to the correct length if there isn’t one in place already. The drain pipe needs to reach slightly below the thickness of your laundry room subfloor.
  5. Place the drain pipe and install the it in the pre-cut hole.
  6. Place the washer back into position over the new drain pan.
  7. Use the carpenters level to check that the washer is level and if it isn’t adjust the drain pan until it is.
  8. Reconnect the power and all of the hoses.
  9. Turn the water supply back on.
  10. Keep an eye on the drain pan during the first few washing loads to make sure there are no water leaks.

Does a Drain Pan Need Maintenance?

A washing machine drain pan is a passive way to collect and drain away water that would otherwise cause a flood in your home. But, it relies on the integrity of the drain pan itself, and a periodic check is a good idea. A simple eyeball inspection should suffice, and it’s important to look for any cracks or wet spots under the pan itself. The connected drain pipe can become clogged by material from the washer, and it needs to be kept clear. Keep an eye on your washer drain pan; it needs to be draining freely in order to work effectively, and if you’re not sure consult a professional for expert help.

If you’ve noticed issues with your washer drain pan, you can rely on help from a professional appliance repair specialist. For help with any appliance repair issue, be sure that you speak to a professional appliance repair service.