A leaking washing machine can be more than an inconvenience. When a washing machine begins leaking you can end up with a major mess that could result in expensive floor repairs. Many homeowners choose to hire a professional to make the repairs, but it's actually not too difficult to fix the problem yourself.
Whenever you notice a puddle of water near your washing machine it's a good idea to take a closer look. Many washing machine leaks are minor, yet others could be an indication of a larger problem. This guide will help you determine the cause of your leaking washing machine.
How to Fix a Leaking Washing Machine
Frequently, leaks occur with the washing machine hoses. There are 3 types of hoses: Fill, Drain and Internal. The most common problems occur with the fill and drain hoses. These hoses are generally located at the back of your washer and this is usually the best place to start looking for the leak.
If the problem wasn't your fill or drain hose you'll need to do more troubleshooting. With a minor leak, you can simply place a piece of cardboard under your washer and run the machine thru a cycle. Once your washer has finished, remove the cardboard and see if the front of the cardboard is wet or the back. This can help you determine where the leak is originating so you can find the source of the leak.
If your washer is leaking a fair amount, it's generally easiest to simply run it thru a cycle and observe when the machine begins to leak.
Broken Hose Leaks
Fill hoses are located on the back of the washer, and they fill the washing machine with both hot and cold water. A fill hose will connect the household water supply to the washer's water inlet valve.
The drain hose is located on the back of the washer, and it's purpose is to drain the water from the washing machine.
Fill Cycle Leaks
Water Inlet Valve to Tub Hose
This is one of several internal hoses that are located inside the washing machine and it connects the tub to the water inlet valve. If this hose is broken your washer will leak when it's in the fill cycle.
Water Inlet Valve
The water inlet valve controls the incoming hot and cold water into your washing machine. It's located in the back of your machine where the hoses connect. A leak originating from the back of the machine could be caused by the water inlet valve.
Water Level Switch
The water level switch determines the correct amount of water in the tub. It's a pressure activated switch and it's usually located behind the control panel. It will have a hose or an air dome tube that connects from the switch to the tub. If your washing machine uses an electronic control, the switch is likely below the tub.
Air within the tube will push against the diaphragm inside the switch as water fills the tub. Once the tub is full, the switch will be triggered by the water level switch and the water inlet valve will shut off the flow of water.
If your washer is overfilling there may not be enough pressure to activate the switch if the tub is leaking. It could also be that the switch is broken and it's not able to trigger the water to shut off.
Boot Seal (Tub Seal)
The tub seal keeps the water from leaking where the transmission shaft or basket shaft comes into the tub. When this seal begins to fail, the leak will often be very small. However, overtime, the leak can cause the main tub bearing to fail. These leaks occur during the fill or agitation cycle.
Wash Cycle Leaks
Tub to Drain Pump Hose
Another internal hose is the hose that runs from the tub to the pump drain hose. This hose will leak if the washer is in the wash cycle.
Washing machines use a pump to drain the water from the tub. The drain pump will have an inlet from the tub, and an outlet to a drain hose, and sometimes a circulating hose outlet.
If your washing machine is leaking during the wash cycle or drain cycle there's a good chance the problem is the drain pump. The drain pump is frequently attached to the drive motor or it can also be on the base of the frame. Be sure to disconnect the electrical supply if it needs to be removed.
Tub Cover Gasket
This gasket forms a seal between the outer tub and the tub cover. It's installed on both top load and front load washing machines. If you notice a leak during the wash cycle or spin cycle the tub cover gasket may be the culprit.
Other Leaking Problems
Door Boot Seal (Bellows)
This seal is used on front load washers and it's the seal between the door and the outer tub. The door bellows can crack or tear with normal use, but it can also rip or tear from a foreign object. If the door boot seal is leaking, you'll notice water around the door.
On a front load washing machine the door catch keeps the door closed during the washing cycle. Once the cycle begins the door locking mechanism engages the door catch to keep the door from being opened until the cycle ends.
Over time the door catch may show signs of wear, although it will still perform it's job of keeping the door locked, it may no longer be able to make a water tight seal.
Too Much Detergent
This may seem like a no-brainer, but what might be a simple mistake could result in hours of troubleshooting!
If too much detergent, or a high sudsing detergent is used the result could be an overflow of sudsy water onto your floor. This problem will likely occur during the wash cycle, but it could also been seen during the drain cycle.