6 steps to conquering a leaky washing machine

Yikes! There's water sloshing around on the laundry room floor and it wasn't the baby or dog! Chances are your washing machine is leaking. What should you do?

6 steps to conquering a leaky washing machine

It's a fact of life: sometimes washing machines leak. The next time you find your laundry room floor covered in water—and neither baby or the dog are nearby to blame—how will you handle it? Here are six steps to help you survive the next time you're in this slippery situation.

Step 1: Don't panic

This is a common problem and more often than not it is an easy fix, even if you're not a handyman or woman.

Step 2: Determine where the leak is coming from

Look where the water is pooling and try to work your way backwards like a detective. Make sure your washing machine is on a level surface so you can get an accurate idea of where the water is actually coming from.

  • Leaks from the front of a washing machine are often caused by a clogged overflow tube or an improperly-fitted old seal.
  • Leaks at the back of the washer are often caused by a loose or damaged supply hose.
  • Leaks under the washer are most often caused by a hole in the water pump or leaky internal hoses.

If you're not sure what these words mean, don't panic. You can still fix your washing machine.

Step 3: Unplug the washing machine

Don't risk electrocuting yourself, damaging the wiring or causing further flooding.

  • Make sure your washing machine's power supply is off before you try to make any repairs.
  • It is also a good idea to turn the water off for your house or unit to prevent further water damage.

Step 4: Mop up the water

Don't let the water ruin your floors or worse yet, seep into another unit below yours.

  • Mop up the leaked water as soon as possible to keep your laundry area clean and dry.
  • If possible, you may want to set up a couple of fans to get rid of any excess moisture.

Step 5: Check for common quick-fix problems

Before you call a repair guy or spend a lot of money on hoses and gaskets, make sure it isn't an issue that can't be repaired fairly easily. Here are the most common problems:

  • An overloaded or unbalanced washing machine.
  • An interrupted rinse cycle.
  • The drain plug hasn't been removed.
  • The drain hose isn't properly secured.
  • The drain is clogged.
  • Too much laundry detergent.

If you aren't sure exactly which one is the problem, your best bet is to methodically cross each one off the list. Sometimes the smallest things (like a loose drain hose) can create the biggest and wettest messes.

Step 6a: If it's a quick-fix repair, fix it

Some of the quick fixes above are self-explanatory. Others, you might need to research a little bit further. If you know exactly what is wrong, it's a lot easier to solve the problem.

  • After you have done the repairs, plug everything back in, turn your water back on, and run your washing machine again. If it still leaks, it's time to call a service repair professional.

Step 6b: If it's not a quick-fix repair, call for help

If you can't pin down the exact cause of the leak and you have an older washing machine, it might possibly be time for an upgrade.

  • Although a lot of older machines are bullet-proof, sometimes getting parts can be difficult and expensive, as is finding an expert who knows how to fix older appliances.
  • Before you even decide that it's time to replace (and not repair) your old machine, call a service repair professional and see what he or she has to say.
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