Washing machine drip pans are a very helpful accessory to washers which is often overlooked by many.
If you never want your washer to leak and damage your floor and ceilings, then a washing machine drip pan is something you should absolutely consider.
So if this is your first time hearing about washing machine drain pans you may be wondering what exactly they are, how they work, and even if you need one.
What is a washing machine drip pan?
A washing machine drip pan is a 4-sided removable pan that is placed under a washer to catch water in case there is a leak or spillage in the washer.
A washing machine drip pan is also often referred to as a washing machine drain pan, washing machine overflow pan, or laundry drain pan.
They all mean and refer to the same thing.
In this article, we will discuss how washing machine drain pans work, whether you need them for your washer or not, and how you can install one on your washing machine.
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How washing machine drip pans work
The principle on which a drip pan operates in a simple one.
Washing machine drain pans come with a hole at one side where you connect a pvc pipe a pvc pipe and direct it into a floor drain in your laundry room. When your washer leaks water, it fills up the drip pan till the water reaches the hole where it is then channeled into the floor drain.
Not all drain pans have a precut hole in them.
Whiles some drip pans have a preformed 1 inch hole that you punch out by yourself to connect the pvc pipe, other don’t come with precut holes and you may need to drill a hole by yourself.
Do I need a drip pan under my washer?
Although washing machine drain pans are highly helpful, not everyone uses them.
In fact they are not part of the drain requirements for a washing machine.
So do you need a drain pan for your washer?
Plumbing codes do not require that you use a drip pan for your washer but it will be for your own good to get a drain pan for your washer especially if your washer is situated on the upper storey of your home.
Washing machine flooding is a common problem in homes because many people belittle the need for drain pans.
Having a drain pan that is properly connected to a floor drain can save you all the troubles a leaking washer could bring.
If the plumbing on your washer has been done very well by an expert, you may not not need a a drain pan very much, but it will serve as an extra level of safety against flooding and leakages from your washer.
Do washing machines come with drain pans?
If you are buying your first washing machine, you may be wondering if its going to come with its own drip pan.
Sorry, but that won’t be the case in most cases.
Washing machine drain pans do not come with new washers. Although they are not a requiremnt for using your washer, they are an effective means to trap leaked water from flooding your rooms and destroying your floor and celin, especially if your washer is situated upstairs.
You can usually get a washing machine drain pan from the same shop you buy a washing machine. Drain pans for variety of washing machines can also be purchased on Amazon and other online market places.
Types of washing machine drip pans
Washing machine drain pans come in different sizes, material, and durability.
Here are the types of washing machine drain pans available based on their properties:
Washing machine drip pans are available in different materials.
They come in plasctic, stainless steel, cold rolled steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, and natural rubber.
These are obviously not the same and as such cost differently.
Plastic drain pans are the least expensive whiles stainless steel pans are more expensive.
There are different sizes of drain pans available for any type of washer.
Companies sell already made drain pans it you can always a customized drain pan for your exact needs.
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Washing machine drain pans are not all the same and can last 10years to 20years under proper use and maintenance.
Stainless steel drain pans tend to last the longest as compared to plastic drain pans.
There are many companies in the market who manufacture different drain pans. Such companies include Killarney metals and Oatey.
How to cut a drainpipe hole on your drain pan
Most drain pans come with a precutout hole outline. Simply locate where the hole outline is and cut it out.
Like we mentioned earlier, not all drain pipes come with already cutout holes to connect the drain pipe.
If your drain pan doesnt have a drainpipe hole you can punch a by yourself using simple tools like a screw driver and a power drill.
Simply cut a hole into the side of the drain pan uisng a 1 inch diameter saw kit.
Washing machine drain pan installation
Installing a washing machine drain pan is something you can do by yourself without having to call a plumber.
So if you have some time on your hands you can follow the procedure below to install a drain pan on your washing machine.
1. Turn off Washer and water supply
Before you start anything, disconnect your washing machine power supply and water supply by turn shutting off the water valves and removing the hose from the water supply.
Water may spill when you disconnect the hoses so have a bowl close by to catch any spills.
2. Lift washing machine with the help of a dolly
Gently lift one side of your washer and push the dolly under the washer.
Pull washer away from the wall. Your washer will likely be close to the floor drain.
3. Get the drip pan drain pipe ready.
Measure and cut the appropriate length of drain pipe for your drain pan.
The length should be the distance between your washing machine position and the floor drain.
Should be a 1inch pipe that would fit tightly in the pan hole.
4. Connect drain hose to the pan.
Connect the drain pipe to your pan hole and direct the oooe to the floor drain.
5. Lower washer onto the drain pan.
Positioned your drain pan where your washer sits and lower the washer perfectly on it with the help of the dolly.
Ensure that there’s equal clearance between washer and the sides of the pan.
6. Reconnect power and water supplies.
Tightly connect all water supplies hoses and your washer is set to use again.
Safety when installing washing machine drain pan
Like most things we do, you need to take basic safety precautions when installing a washing machine drip pan.
If not done properly you may end up with some issues that could have been easily avoided.
- Empty the washer completely before starting anything
- If possible get a helping hand during the installation process
- Your washer should be unplugged during the entire process
- Care must be taken during lifting and dropping the washer into the drain pan.
- The drain pan should be placed on a leveled surface
What should be the size of a washing machine drip pan?
The size of a washing machine drain pan will depend on the size of your washer. Generally, the size of your drain pan should be such that there’s enough clearance (2.5inches) on all the sides to avoid spillages.
How long do washing machine drip pans last?
Are you wondering how long your washing machine drain pan is going to last?
Well, quite long.
Washing machine drain pans can last between 10 to 15 years for plastic types, whiles stainless steel drain pans will last longer up to 20years with proper maintenance.
Maintenance of washing machine drain pans
It’s important that you observe proper maintenance practices in other for your washing machine drain pan to work effectively and last long.
1. Cleaning Washing machine drain pan
Washing machine drain pans get dirty from time to time and so you need to put in place a cleaning routine to keep it clean anytime they get dirty.
Dirty drain pans can produce unpleasant odors in your laundry room.
Here’s how to clean a washing machine drain pan:
- Sprinkle baking soda on the pan.
- Mix vinegar with water and pour in the pan
- Let the solution sit overnight in other to neutralize any smells.
- Wash thoroughly and dry with a towel
2. Unclog drain pipe appropriately
It’s important that your drain pipe is always clear of any clogs and debris.
Otherwise your drain pan can function effectively and you may run into flooding issues when there’s a heavy leak from your washer.
Regularly check to see that water is flowing freely through the pipe and that there are no unusual noises.
Are washing machine drip pans expensive?
It wouldn’t cost you a fortune to get a washing machine drain pan.
The price of washing machine drain pans vary between $80 to $150 depending on the size, material, and brand.
Advantages of a washing machine drain pan
It feels almost to imagine that a lot of washing machine home owners do not use washing machine drain pans despite it’s many advantages.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of using a washing machine drip pan that may save you money, time and headaches.
1. Drip pans serve as protection to your floors and ceiling
Drip pans can be a great addition to your washing machine because they serve as an effective way to protect your floors and ceiling from water damage.
By preventing water from coming into contact with your floor or ceiling, you can save yourself a lot of cleaning time and money in the long run.
Whether you have a cemented floor or a wooden floor, you want to protect the from water as much as possible and a drip pan helps you do that.
2. Drip pans prevent severe flooding damges
Washing machine flooding is a common misfortune in homes, and it can sometimes be very costly.
Washing machine drip pans are an affordable means to help prevent flooding damages by channeling leaking water from the washer through the appropriate drainage channel.
3. Saves you from expensive repair costs
Whiles washing machine leakages could cause a lot of expensive damges to your home, a drain pan can help protect your home against such damges.
It’s wise to invest in a drip pan than face the consequeces of expensive repairs due to washing machine floods.
Do front load washers need a drain pan?
Washing machine drain pan is not a requirement for front load washers, but they an affordable way to catch water leaks from your washer, thus preventing water from damaging your floors and celings. If you front load washer is upstairs, then it is highly recommended you use a drain pan.
It doesnt matter if you have a front load or a top load washer. A drain pan will serve the same purpose of cacthing water leaks from your washing machine.
Washing machine drain pan alternatives
Now that we established the importance of a washing machine drain pan you may be wondering if there are any alternatives that can prevent water leakages from damaging your floor or ceiling .
Well, there are a few alternatives although they arent very common.
Here are 3 alternatives to a washing machine drain pan:
- Automated or Actuated valve
- Automatic laundry shut off
- No burst braided hoses