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What Is a Washing Machine Drain Pan?

A washing machine pan helps protect your home against flood damage resulting from a leaky washer. Read this article to learn more about washing machine pans and how you can install one in your home.

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A washing machine pan is a way of protecting your home from water damage caused by a leaking or broken washer or water supply line. Typically made of plastic or metal like stainless steel, the rectangular-shaped pan rests underneath the washer and collects washing machine overflow.

Why Is a Washing Machine Pan Important?

The hoses running to your washing machine are prone to leaks and breaks and are one of the most common reasons for flooding in the home. A washing machine pan is a way to protect against this flood damage, collecting water and draining it safely out of your home. A drain pan also protects your floor from condensation that can lead to mold and mildew build-up beneath your washing machine.

Drain pans aren’t a requirement for your washer, but they are an inexpensive and simple way of protecting your home by catching small leaks and reducing the amount of water damage from broken hoses. If your laundry room is upstairs, a drain pan is recommended to protect against leaks that can seep into the rooms below.

How Does a Washing Machine Pan Work?

To work properly, a drainpipe must be connected to the washing machine pan. When the water reaches a certain level in the pan, the pipe carries the water out and into a floor drain. Most drain pans come with a pre-cut hole where you can attach a PVC pipe directly to the pan. If you have a pan without a hole, you’ll have to drill your own hole into the drain pan.

How to Maintain a Washing Machine Pan

For your drain pan to work, it must be intact, which is why it’s important to check the pan routinely for any leaks or unusual signs of wear and tear. Each time you run your washer, check around the pan and within the pan for standing water.

To maintain your washer pan, clean it regularly using towels and multi-purpose household cleaners. If necessary, use baking soda to neutralize odors caused by standing water.

Read More: How to Maintain a Washing Machine

How to Install a Washing Machine Pan

Washing machine pans are relatively easy to install, requiring a few tools and little expertise.

  1. Turn off the washing machine—Prep the washing machine for drain pan installation by turning off the water hose, unplugging in from the wall, and disconnecting the water hoses. Be sure to have a bucket and towel ready to dispose of any excess water in the hoses.
  2. Lift the washer using a dolly—Lift the front end of the washer and insert a hand truck. Move it away from the wall until you uncover the floor drain.
  3. Cut the drain pipe to the appropriate length—If you’re replacing an existing drain pan, use the existing washing machine pipe. If you’re installing a new pan, use a hacksaw to cut a pipe to the correct size.
  4. Install the drain—If the drain pan has a pre-existing hole, install the drain onto the new pipe. If there’s no hole, cut one so that it corresponds to the drain fitting on the floor.
  5. Place the machine onto the pan—Using the dolly, lower the washing machine onto the pan, ensuring it sits flush and is level.

Reconnect the washing machine—Reconnect the washing machine hoses, using a wrench to ensure they’re secure. Plug your washer back into the outlet and turn the water valves back on. To make sure everything is connected properly, check for any signs of leaking after the first few washes.