Avoiding a Water Disaster from Your Second-Floor Washing Machine

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By Travelers
4 minutes
Washing machine located on second floor of home.

Having an upstairs laundry room can be convenient, as it may mean fewer trips downstairs to wash and fold clothes. But washing machines pose risks of leaks, and your upstairs washer could become a source of significant water damage to the floors below. A leak from a second-floor laundry room can lead to water seeping into the floors, walls and ceilings beneath.

As a homeowner, it’s critical that you know how to help prevent water damage to your home. It’s also a good idea to understand how to help prevent leaks in the first place.

Preventing Water Damage from Second-Floor Washing Machines

If your laundry room is on the second floor, there are ways to help prevent leaks and provide extra protection against water disasters in your home.

  • Make Sure Your Water Shut-Off Valve Is Easily Accessible
    If your washing machine starts to leak or gush water, being able to shut off the water supply quickly can make a critical difference in helping to minimize damage. Instead of having to race down to the basement to shut off water to the whole house, know where the local shut-off to your washing machine is located. If you can’t find it, consult with a plumber before a problem occurs.
  • Check Your Hoses
    Be proactive and visually inspect your washing machine supply hoses for signs of wear and tear or damage, and check the surrounding areas for signs of drips or slow leaks. Washing machine hoses don’t last forever and have specific expiration dates. Sometimes these dates are printed on the hose itself or on an attached tag. If you’re not sure when your hoses expire, consult with a plumber.
  • The Benefits of Having a Floor Drain and Drain Pan
    A drain pan sits under your washing machine and helps provide a first line of defense against minor leaks. Drain pans can connect to a drainpipe to help channel excess water out of the pan.
  • Make Sure Your Drain Lines Are Secured
    As water drains from your washing machine, there can be a lot of force applied to your drain line. That force can cause the line to become dislodged from the drainpipe if not properly secured. There are a number of ways to secure the lines. If you’re not sure how to secure the lines or are unsure if they are properly secured, consult with a plumber.
  • Consider Adding a Leak Detector
    A simple way to help minimize damage from leaks is to use a water sensor or smart leak detector. These devices can be placed in your laundry room and are sensitive to moisture. Some simple models sound an alarm when moisture is detected. Newer smart models can use your home’s Wi-Fi to send a notification to your phone. Some models can even be integrated into smart home systems that can automatically shut off the water to your home when a leak is detected.

Typically, water sensors and their control modules are available online and at home improvement stores. There are numerous options available, so do your research to determine which options fit your needs and budget. If you’re not comfortable installing water sensors yourself, check out online resources, inquire at your local hardware or home improvement store or ask a plumber for guidance.

Preventive Maintenance for Second-Floor Washing Machines

Taking precautionary measures can help, but one of the most important ways to prevent washing machine water disasters is through proper maintenance. Keeping your washing machine in good working condition and checking hoses for leaks should be part of your regular home maintenance routine. No matter where in your house your laundry room is located, consider these tips:

  • Don’t Leave Your Washing Machine Unattended
    While it’s tempting to turn on your washing machine when you head off to bed or step out to do errands, this habit creates an unnecessary risk of a water disaster. Just as you wouldn’t leave your stove on when you leave the house, don’t leave your washing machine – or other appliances, for that matter – running if you can’t stay home to monitor it.
  • Turn Off the Water Supply to the Washing Machine
    When you’re not using the washing machine, consider turning off the water supply connected to the machine. This can help reduce the risk of any problems while you’re away.
  • Keep Your Utility Sink Clean
    Many laundry rooms include a utility sink. It can serve as a place for pre-soaking or hand-washing clothes. It also can serve as an additional drainage site for your washing machine. Keeping your sink clean and unclogged helps ensure that any overflow goes down the drain and not onto your floors.
  • Mark Your Washer’s Placement
    Pay attention to the position of your washing machine, as it may move during operation. If you notice any movement, check for an imbalance issue and address the problem before your supply lines become stressed.

Insure Your Home Against Second-Floor Washing Machine Water Damage with Travelers

While preventive measures can help, there are still risks to having a laundry room on the second floor of your home. Should a leak get out of control, it’s important to have the right insurance coverage for your home and belongings. Travelers can help. Learn more about Travelers homeowners insurance.

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