How to Avoid a Flooded Laundry Room Upstairs

Updated: Sep. 21, 2023

Prevent flooded laundry room damage from washing machine overflows and supply hose leaks with these tips.

Second floor laundry rooms can suffer a lot of damage if the washing machine leaks, wrecking the floor and the rooms below it. Here are four DIY steps to prevent a disaster if an overflow or leak occurs. It won’t involve a lot of time or money, and you’ll safeguard against an upstairs washing machine flood.

Recessed Washer Box Installation

Install a recessed washer box in the wall directly behind the washing machine. These feature plumbing fittings with shutoff valves for the water supply hoses, and a drain for the washer’s discharge hose.

For easy access and servicing, mount the bottom of the box at about the same level as the top of the washing machine control panel. Be sure to choose a box with shutoff valves included.

Washing Machine Drain Pan Installation

Install a washing machine pan (or washing machine tray) under the washer. Be sure it’s tight against the framing of the back wall and run the drywall down to it.

Washing machine pans come with a built-in drain that can be plumbed directly to your home’s waste line, or diverted to a laundry tub, floor drain or even outside through the walls.

This may be more labor intensive to install than other flood avoidance measures. But if you have a leaking washing machine, the pan will catch the water and send it safely away.

Check the Drain Hoses on Washing Machine

Make sure the supply hoses are in good shape. Check older hoses for cracks and replace if necessary.

If you’re buying new washing machine hoses, consider the no-burst versions. These rubber hoses are sheathed with braided stainless steel. And be sure to use new hose washers.

Connect and hand-tighten the hoses to the supply valves and the washing machine inlet. Turn the water on and check for leaks. If necessary, tighten further by hand or with pliers.

Turn Off the Water

The most practical way to prevent a flooded laundry room? Turn off the water to the supply hoses when the washing machine isn’t in use. This is best accomplished by installing a single-lever shut off valve on the supply hoses, or purchasing a recessed washer box with one built in.