Preventing Water Damage in the Laundry Room

Learn how to easily mitigate the high costs and hassle of a laundry room leak

Other than the water heater and a full bathtub, there's not a lot in the typical home that uses as much water as a washing machine. Directing your eagle-eye to the laundry room is one of the most important things to do as a homeowner: detecting problems early means saving money...for all the other repairs around the house!

Try keeping the following points in mind each time you use the laundry room - your floors, walls, and possessions will appreciate it.

  • Sometimes things just fail, and no amount of inspection, maintenance or care can prevent it. With a washing machine, there are a number of mechanical and electrical components that can lead to serious damage should they break down. To mitigate (or maybe even prevent) the resulting damage, think about investing in a flood-prevention device. There are products to automatically shut off water supplies, sound alarms, and even call you when something's up! Considering the potentially extreme costs of water damage, it's an investment well-made.
  • Only do laundry when you or someone else can be around to react, should something go wrong.
  • Regularly check washing machine water supply lines. These are the #1 source of laundry room water damage. If you spot any blisters, cracks, bubbles, or a loose connection, replace the line immediately. Use a braided stainless steel flex line - these are far less likely to have problems than their standard rubber counterparts. Don't forget to check out the discharge line, too!
  • Ensure there's a 3-4 inch gap between the wall and the washing machine's supply connections - this will help prevent kinking and damage.
  • Are there shut-off valves on the supply lines? Shutting off the water supply at the wall when the washer isn't in use relieves the constant pressure supply lines would otherwise be under, lessening the risk of a leak. Washing machine outlet boxes make for a tidy, easy-access solution.
  • Some washing machines (usually front-loading models) have built-in drain filters. If yours does, remember to regularly clean it out to keep the water where it belongs, and off the laundry room floor. While you're at it, you should also check out the filter screens in the inlet valves (especially if you have hard water).
  • Drain pans will trap water from leaks, and when installed correctly, direct it to a floor drain. Don't have a floor drain in your laundry room? Though the cost to install a new one can be steep, it‘s still significantly less than the average cost to repair damage from gallons upon gallons of water. If you're unable to have one installed, consider a flood prevention system as a stopgap.
  • If your washer drains into a laundry sink, always check inside the sink before starting a load. Refrain from keeping anything around the sink that could fall in.
  • Inspect the supply lines and shut-off valves for the sink, if you have them. Keep an eye out for any signs of water damage in the area: discoloration, warping or bubbling of nearby floors/walls.
  • Some laundry rooms house the water heater - if yours is one of them, be extra-vigilant in its maintenance and upkeep.

While your laundry room may never be cherished like a bathroom or kitchen, its water use commands equal respect. By giving it its due, you're protecting both home and wallet. It's a good thing!

Protect your home from water damage with these flood prevention devices specifically designed for washing machines!

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