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Washing Machine Flooding…Help!

As if washing clothes isn’t a big enough chore, what happens when your washing machine leaks?  More chores, that’s what.  Sometimes washing machines just leak a little, but sometimes they leak a lot.  A typical load of laundry uses at least 30 gallons of water.  That’s about the same amount of water a standard bathtub holds when completely filled.  Water machine flooding is very common so be aware of the things that increase the risk.

Old and/or worn hoses often cause washing machines to leak.  Check hoses for cracks and splits.  Also look for signs of rust and calcium deposits on hoses.  This is often a sign of a crack in the making.  Your washing machine should have 3 hoses – one for hot water, one for cold water and a wider hose (usually) that runs used water down to the drain.  All hoses should be tightly connected.  If you have a small leak, you can run the washer and check each hose in each cycle to see where the problem is.  If you’re really handy, you can also detach each hose and check for clogs.

Your washing machine also has a pump that pulls water out of the tub and into the drain hose.  If the pump’s seal is cracked of damaged, this can also cause your washing machine to leak.  This usually happens with age, but sometimes they can be damaged if your washer spins off kilter too much.  Balance your loads!  If your pump is causing your problems, your best bet is to buy a new one.  A new pump, that is…you don’t need to replace the entire washing machine.

Tub seals are also a source of problems when worn or damaged much in the same ways above.  Aged seals or damaged seals can crack or break and cause water to leak out during any stage of the washing cycle.  And, again, if this happens, you can take your machine to a repair place to have those seals replaced.  Unless there is major damage, you should not have to buy a whole new machine.

Some other tips on keeping your washing machine from flooding on you:

Don’t use more soap than necessary.  Too much soap equals too many bubbles.  If your tub can’t handle the excess, it’ll spill right over the top.  (Think Mr. Mom if you’re my age.)

Don’t overload your washer with clothes.  Stuffing too many clothes into a washer will only cause a bigger mess if the tub can’t handle all of the clothes and the soap and the water.

Clean your washing machine from time to time.  Allow it to fill with hot water, add bleach then continue its cycle.  If you’re not a fan of bleach, do the same with vinegar.

When you aren’t using your washing machine, leave it open to allow it to dry.  Dampness can lead to mildew and mold which is not great for your clothing and which can get into hoses and seals and cause them to crack and break.

If your washing machine has already flooded and created a large mess, shut off the power supply to it before doing anything else.  Do this by cutting power from your fuse box or circuit breaker.  Do not attempt to pull the plug from the back or play with the buttons.  Do not step in standing water either.  These things can cause electrocution.  If you aren’t sure how to turn off the power to it from an outside source, call in a professional immediately.

Keeping your washing machine in good working condition will save you the time and money it would cost to clean up from a potentially devastating flood.  Not Hurricane Katrina devastating, but depending on what you keep in your laundry room and/or the type of flooring you have in there, it can really be costly to replace some things.

It’s also good ecologically speaking to keep your washing machine from leaking as 30+ gallons of water on your floor is 30+ gallons of wasted water.  In some places in the world (and our beloved California), water is scarce and not to be wasted.


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