Dishwasher leak pans contain the water from leaks that otherwise damage hardwood floors. These leaks often occur under the machine, where they go unnoticed, but the moisture they leave causes hardwood to swell and warp, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.
Dishwasher leaks are most likely to occur from the door or a component located under the machine. Leaks from the door are often readily visible on the floor, but those under the machine are harder to detect. Common causes of door leaks include using the wrong type of detergent, dirty door seals and an overfilled tub. Components under the machine leak due to wear and tear, although consumers also report new dishwashers leaking due to defective parts or poor workmanship.
The key to preventing water damage to hardwood floors is to wipe up any water spills immediately. This makes leaks under the machine the most damaging. The design of dishwasher leak pans causes the water to drain toward the front so it becomes visible when leaks occur.
If a leak causes damage, it is sometimes possible to repair hardwood instead of replacing it. The process requires stabilizing the humidity of the wood from top and bottom. Once the wood is thoroughly dried, get a professional to sand away the cupping and refinish the floor.