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.
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.
Always disconnect the power to the washing machine before making any repairs.
If your clothes washer is leaking, the most likely cause is either a broken fill hose or drain hose. Here's how to troubleshoot and fix both.
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.
- Check that the hoses are in good repair and that the threaded fittings and clamps are secure and not leaking.
- The leak could be coming from either end of the hose.
- Check that the faucet supplying the washer with water is not leaking.
The drain hose is located on the back of the washer, and it's purpose is to drain the water from the washing machine.
- Check that there are no leaks where the drain hose is connected to the washing machine and all clamps are securely in place.
- Check that the end of the drain hose is securely inside the household drain.
- Check that the household drain, where the hose is depositing the water, is properly working and that it isn't backed-up.
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There are a number of issues that could cause your washing machine to leak during the fill cycle. Here are the most common:
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.
- Check for signs of cracking or abrasion on the hose that connects between the water inlet valve to the tub.
- Check the water inlet system for leakage. The siphon break and tub injection assembly should both be dry.
- Check the detergent dispenser area on front load washers. Many models will inject water directly into the tub thru the dispenser.
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.
- Check that the inlet and outlet hoses are securely connected.
- Check the valve body for signs of cracking or other damage.
- If replacing the valve is necessary, you'll need to disconnect the power to your washer.
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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.
- Remove the air dome hose and check the inside of the hose for obstructions.
- If there are no obstructions, seal one end of the hose and submerge it in water and blow air into the other end. If you see bubbles, your hose has a leak and you'll need to replace your air dome hose.
- If the air dome hose seems fine, then the problem is likely the water level switch and it will need to be replaced.
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.
- With the front panel removed and the tub full of water, check the area where the transmission shaft enters the tub for leakage.
- Front load machines will need to remove the rear panel and check for leakage from the weep holes near the rear bearing housing.
- If the seal is failing, it will need to be replaced. Both top and front load machines will need to remove the tubs to complete the repair.
If your washing machine leaks during the wash cycle, there are several things to check:
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.
- Check the clamps to ensure that they are tight and not corroded.
- Check that the hose is not cracked.
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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.
- Check the hoses connecting to the pump to ensure they are in good shape and that the hose clamps are secure.
- If the pump itself is leaking, you'll need to purchase a new one.
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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.
- Check for signs of leakage by removing the top (top loading) or front panels (front loading).
- If the gasket is leaking you may notice water or soapy water in the area.
Here are a few other areas where clothes washing machines tend to leak.
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.
This seal is prone to collecting sharp objects, which not only can cause the seal to tear, but could also cause injury. Be careful when inspecting and removing any foreign objects.
- With the door open, carefully check the bellows for damage.
- Look for detergent build-up and debris that may prevent the door from making a tight seal.
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.
- Check for signs of wear or distortion on the door latch hook.
- The seal will need to be replaced if this is the cause of your leak.
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.