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How to Maintain Your Washing Machine and Prevent Leaks

Just like your other appliances, your washing machine needs regular attention to stay fully functional. A broken washer means more than just dirty clothes—you might have to deal with a flooded house. A simple broken hose can spew hundreds of gallons of water from your washer in a short period of time. Lots of water can cause instant damage to your belongings and prove difficult to clean up. Save yourself the stress of flood repair and an inoperable appliance. Here’s how to keep your machine washing well.

Check the Hoses

Broken hoses cause most washing machine-related floods. The good news is, with a simple yearly inspection you can prevent coming home to a lake in your laundry room. Every 12 months, take a look at the hoses on the back of your washer. Do they look worn, cracked, or blistered? Do you see kinks or other signs of wear and tear? Replace your hoses as soon as you notice they look worn. Steel-coated hoses cost more than standard rubber, but they also last much longer. For a more economical solution, choose hoses with mesh-covered ends. You should also keep your washer pulled slightly away from the wall. Pushing the machine too close makes it easier for your hoses to bend, kink, and break.

Check the Seals

For a front-loading washing machine, check the door seal annually. Just like with hoses, inspect the seal for cracks, discoloration, detachment, or other signs of age and wear. Promptly replace broken seals to keep all the water in the washer.

Keep the Drains Clear

Residue and debris build up in your washing machine’s drain system over time. If the drain clogs, your machine won’t empty properly. When water stays sitting in your machine, your clothes don’t get clean. Stagnant water can also cause odors and encourage bacteria growth. You can test your drain tube for clogs by removing it and examining it for blockages. If the drain tube looks clear but the drain itself is backed up, you can use a plumber’s snake or a manufacturer-approved unclogging solution to clear it.

Let the Machine Dry

Even if your drains are clear, your machine will naturally stay a little damp after every wash cycle. If you close the lid and let the moisture sit inside, you’ll end up with a smelly machine. These smells can eventually end up in your clothes. Leave the washer’s lid open after every cycle to let the inside dry out. If you have a front-loading machine, you can towel-dry the interior after every load of wash. This also keeps the door seal from growing mold.

Clean the Machine

Without regular cleaning, your washing machine will accumulate hard water buildup and detergent residue. Both these things can cause unpleasant odors and affect how well your machine washes clothes. High efficiency machines in particular have problems with detergent deposits. Wash your machine with a manufacturer-approved solution about once a month to keep the inside squeaky clean.

Don’t Overload the Machine

If you put too many clothes in your washer at once, it can throw the machine off balance. When this happens, the machine vibrates loudly and might actually move during its spin cycle. This isn’t just noisy and annoying, it can cause serious damage to your washing machine. Consult your owner’s manual for how big of a wash load you can put in your machine.

Level Your Machine

Your machine can become unbalanced even if you don’t overload it. If your machine makes a lot of noise and moves around during its wash cycle, use a carpenter’s level to make sure it sits flat. Put the level on each of the machine’s four sides to check if they’re even. Make adjustments to the feet as needed. If you don’t have a level, you can gently rock the machine to see if all four feet are on the ground.

Use Flood Protection

Sometimes accidents happen, even to well-maintained washing machines. To reduce your risk of coming home to a waterlogged house, you can use flood protection measures with your washer.

Water Shutoff System

A water shutoff system will automatically turn off the water supply to your washing machine if it senses a problem. You can easily install these systems yourself and they could save you money and stress later if an accident happens.

Drip Pan

For small leaks or drips, an overflow pan is a simple solution that can save your floor. This pan sits under your washing machine and collects any water runoff. You can buy drip pans with drains so you can direct the runoff directly into a floor drain. Floods are never fun, and it’s difficult to repair water damage. Maintain your washing machine and use proper flood protection measures to keep your clothes clean and your laundry room dry.


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