Most of us don't think too much about washing machine drain pans, but one of these could be the difference between avoiding a small flood in your home and having gallons and gallons of water leak out into your wash area. A drain pan is a device which easily slides under your wash machine to provide some measure of protection against a leak which might develop, or against accidental spills.
Typically the drain pan catches water overflow from your machine or possibly leakage from a faulty water hose, and it even provides a measure of protection for your floor against condensation. Drain pans can be especially critical if your wash area is located on the second or third floor of your home, because any water leakage above the first floor can have even more serious consequences when water leaks through.
How It Works
A drain pan is usually shaped as a rectangle which is sized slightly larger than your wash machine, and it can be purchased at most hardware and plumbing stores. You may need help lifting up your washer to get the drain pan placed underneath, and it then has to be connected to a drain pipe, so as to funnel away excess water.
Most drain pans come with a pre-cut hole which you can fit a PVC pipe into, while placing the other end of the pipe in the drain itself. In this setup, even with a major leakage, water will never rise above the level of the drain pan itself, because it will always be channeled away into the drainage system.
Drain Pan Maintenance
In light of the fact that any cracks or breaks to your drain pan could result in a flooding disaster to your home, it's definitely worth your while to check on the drain pan periodically. This means doing an eyeball inspection of the drain pan itself, and checking for wet spots anywhere around the drain pan to ensure that its integrity has not been compromised.
Even if no cracks or breaks have occurred, it's possible that the connection with the drain pipe has been clogged by washing materials, and it's essential that it be kept free of such debris. If you keep an eye on your drain pan regularly, you should never have the kind of washroom disaster that could result without one.