Do you take care of laundry in the basement or a utility room? Is your washer a traditional top-loader or a contemporary front-loading model? Can you be sure that it won’t break down and flood your home?
It’s easy to answer the first two questions, but most homeowners trust their washing machine to do its job without swamping the house. While you might be surprised at how much damage can be caused by water leaking from the washer, we see the soggy results every day.
An average-sized washing machine holds 27 gallons of water. That’s bad news if the appliance starts spewing suds. You don’t have to be a plumber to defend yourself against the risks of a laundry room tsunami. That’s good news, and we’re happy to help you make it happen with 10 practical ways how to avoid water leaking from washers.
1. Save Money on Detergent
Lots of soap bubbles don’t get clothes cleaner. They do leave behind a sticky residue that builds up inside your washer’s overflow tube. A water-softening system contributes to this type of clog, so cut back on your detergent habit. You’ll save money and save that overflow tube from backing up.
Power Tip: Soak a washcloth fresh from the final spin cycle in a bowl of hot water. If it sprouts suds, you’re using too much laundry detergent.
2. Don’t Overload
When a spin cycle makes your washing machine jump, all that thumping stresses hoses and connections. Eventually, something gives, and your unbalanced load turns into a flooded laundry room and a phone call for water damage repair. Be kind to your washing machine with a balanced hand when you load it up.
3. Take Lint Seriously
It’s hard to believe that something so flimsy can cause overflows, but accumulated lint in the washer’s drain creates clogs. Snag the stuff with inexpensive mesh lint catchers attached to the end of the washing machine drain pipe. Buy them in bulk, and change them out at least once a month.
4. Handle Those Hoses
Supply hoses operate under pressure. You can hear it as water flow slams on and off through washing cycles. All that stress causes hairline cracks and weakens lines. Check supply hose health with a series of squeezes. If a line feels squishy instead of firm, it’s time for a replacement.
Power Tip: Save the headache of ruptured supply hoses by replacing the old lines with braided nylon or stainless steel models.
5. Connections Count Too
Hose connections put up with heavy water pressure too. Today’s tiny drip around hose hardware can turn into tomorrow’s water washout in the laundry room. If you notice any leaks, shut off the water valve, and then tighten connections with firm clockwise turns.
6. Sanitize Door Seals
Regularly clean the rubber gaskets around doors on front loaders. Mold and mildew thrive in the seals and keep them from aging gracefully. Give gaskets a sanitizing wipe with vinegar and water at least once a month. This minor cleaning routine reduces the chances of seals cracking and leaking.
7. Simplify Water Shutoff
Replace standard water connections with a single lever shut-off valve. When a washing machine disaster strikes, cut off the deluge with one quick action. This modification comes in handy for vacations too. Flip the lever on your way out, and enjoy extended time away without worrying about returning to a soggy house.
8. Get Defensive with a Flood Sensor
This three-component device is one of your best defenses against laundry room flooding. A wall-mounted control unit connects to a water sensor on the floor and the water supply shutoff valves. Some flood sensors also turn off the washing machine’s electricity and set off a loud alarm.
9. Up Protection Upstairs
A second-floor washing machine doesn’t have to be a potential water hazard. Install a washer tray under the machine with a connection to your home’s waste line, or configure an indirect line that runs to a nearby catch basin. Reduce the risk of swamping downstairs by shutting off upstairs water valves when you’re not doing laundry.
Power Tip: Up your protection upstairs with single lever shut-off valves or a flood sensor system.
10. Be a Wary Buyer
If the old washing machine seems ready to kick the laundry bucket, independent review sites point you in the right direction for a replacement. Just don’t assume that nothing can go wrong with a new washing machine. Be wary, and be wise when you buy.
We’re Always Happy to Help
We don’t want your washing machine to earn a place on our list of the 10 top ways your home can get soaked, so we hope that you enjoy our guide and find it helpful. Contact us through our Comments Section, and let us know what else you’d like to see covered with our “how to” posts.
If laundry day at the house surprises you with soaked floors instead of clean clothes, contact us here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We handle all types of water damage restoration for Chicago homeowners, and we take care of the suburbs too. Our teams are always ready to answer your call at 773-647-1985.