Installing a Washing Machine Overflow Drain Pan
LESLIE: Gary in Illinois is dealing with an issue with the washing machine. Tell us about what’s going on.
GARY: We had a valve got out of the washing machine and they said that I should put a tub underneath of it.
TOM: Yeah, an overflow pan.
GARY: And I was wondering about if you folks had a different idea of doing this because I’ve got quite a tight spot.
TOM: OK. Well, is this on a second floor, Gary?
GARY: Yes, it’s on the second floor.
GARY: The first time, it went down into my basement.
TOM: Right. OK, well an overflow pan is a fairly standard thing to add when your washing machine is on the second floor. It’s for that very reason; in case it overflows. Frankly, you know, even if it did overflow, most of the those pans aren’t big enough to really carry the entire flow but I think it would help a little bit. I mean the last time I had a washing machine delivered to the second floor, they broke the overflow pan trying to install it. (Leslie chuckles) So we had to end up replacing that.
The standard ones are plastic. They’re not very durable. They have a hole in the back where you attach a pipe and that has to go somewhere to a drain or it can go right outside the house. A better way to do this is you could have your HVAC contractor – your heating and cooling contractor – build you a stainless steel or a galvanized steel pan; hook up a drain to that because that’s exactly what they do for air conditioning systems sometimes. And that can be narrower, a little tighter to the washing machine. The plastic pans tend to be about an inch or two wider than the machine and it does impact the spacing. But you absolutely do have to have it because if you do get an overflow, it’s going to ruin things.
GARY: I understand. OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.