Amazing, isn’t it–how something as small and so seemingly insignificant as a leak could wind up producing thousands of dollars in repair costs, especially when undetected for a while? Water leaks, whether small or large can create extensive damage. And it’s actually not the size of the leak that matters as much as it has to do with the length of time the leak (or leaking water) is allowed to remain in the area that will end up being the determining factor in cumulative damages.
With some leaks, you’re able to catch them right away, and even if you are not able to fix them yourself, you can turn off the water supply to the machine, clean up any water and have the leak fixed before washing any more clothes.
Then, there are the less fortunate leak episodes, where a family is out of town on a two-week vacation, and a leak occurs somewhere along the pipes or hoses that bring the water to the machine. A small leak, left unattended for almost two weeks, could end up being devastating.
Try to Determine the Source of the Leak Yourself, First
With a little bit of knowledge, a homeowner should be able to diagnose the source of the leak, and while they may not be able or qualified to perform the repair, at least they will be able to get a general idea of what it would take to fix it. With typical plumbers’ fees being what they are, just having one come out to investigate the source of a leak will put a hefty dent in your wallet. With some leak causes, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to replace the washer, especially when it comes to older machines.
So, let’s say you saunter into the laundry room one day, only to discover a puddle on the floor. Now, assuming you don’t have a puppy you’re trying to housebreak, then you can more or less bet that the puddle is there as a result of a leak in your washing machine leaking.
Some puddles represent minor problems and some–well let’s just be positive here and concentrate on diagnostics only. And diagnosing the reason for the leak is something you will need to do right away, regardless of the source and the severity. If you’re lucky, that puddle won’t turn into a flood and you’ll be able to fix it easily, affordably and quickly.
Starting Out Right
The place where you see the water is not always a good indicator of where the actual leak is. It could actually be simply the lowest point on your floor or under the lowest point of your washer. So, the very first thing to do in dealing with a leak would be to make sure that your washer is level. There are similarities and differences in front-loading washing machine leaking and top-loading ones. It’s best to separate the two for the purpose of leak finding.
Reasons Why Top Loading Washers Can Leak
– Clogged Overflow Tube: Leaks at the front of the washer are typically caused when the overflow tube is either clogged or tilted.
– Oversudsing: Sometimes oversudsing can cause leaks, as well. Oversudsing occurs when you either put in too much laundry detergent or you use the wrong type of soap to do your washing–like dishwashing detergent–don’t do it! In homes with installed water softening systems. When you are washing clothes using softened water, you need to use less detergent–you’ll get the same level of thorough cleaning, too.
One way to determine whether or not you are using too much detergent is to take an item you have freshly washed and place it in a bowl full of hot water (while it’s still wet from the washing machine’s rinse cycle.) If there are any signs of suds in the water, you will thereby know that you are using too much detergent to launder your clothes.
– Overloading: Not only can be overloading your washer cause leaks, but your clothes just won’t get thoroughly clean this way.
– Out of Balance Washing Machine: From time to time check to make sure that your washing machine is level.
– Spray Rinse Cycle: Washing Machines that are equipped with a spray rinse function can be made to leak when owners interfere with the cycle by manually advancing the timer.
– Leaks in the Back of the Washer: If you just got your washer, make sure to remove the manufacturer’s drain plug before you install the drain hose. Check to ensure that the drain hose is properly secured in the drainpipe, and fully inserted into the standpipe. At this time, check to make sure that the hose is not clogged. Check all the hoses and pipes leading to and away from the machine, paying close attention to their connections. Look for pinhole leaks, too.
– Leak Under the Washer: A leak directly under the washer could mean that you have a hole in your water pump.
Reasons Why Front Loading Washers Can Leak
The same information applies to front-load washers with regard to hoses, pipes and connection points as it does on top-loading machines.
Leaks in the Back of the Washer:
– Oversudsing: With front-loading machines, you must always use HE detergent, and only a small amount.
Front of Washer Leak:
– The Door Seal: In order to preserve the seal of a front-loading washer, it must be kept clean, and free of soil and soap. Clean the gasket once weekly and inspect the edges, looking for punctures or foreign items.
– The Hinges: Check to see if the door is closing properly. Tighten or adjust them to make sure they work.
Under Washer Leak
– The Drum Seams: Front-loading washers are designed with an inner and outer drum. Often, the outer drum has been manufactured in two halves and later bolted together. Sometimes these seams can begin to leak. They can be repaired.
Another Reason Either Washing Machine Can Leak
A washing machine leaking that is leaking from the bottom can be an indication of a malfunctioning or damaged “boot,” which is the rubber seal that seals around the agitator shaft. This is something that is easy and inexpensive to fix if you should determine it to be the culprit.