Why Is My Washer Leaking?

Person in a white towel loading or unloading a washing machine.

Nothing catches your attention more than stepping into a cold puddle of water when you walk into your laundry room.

You may wonder: is my washer leaking?

Or did my dog just have a well-placed accident?

You will most likely follow that question up with, “Why is my washer leaking water?”

Keep reading to diagnose and troubleshoot a leaky washing machine.

But First, Unplug

Before you do any diagnosing or maintenance on your machine, unplug it.

Anytime you’re working on the machine, you want to have it unplugged so you do not receive an unwanted shock.

You will have to plug the machine back in to test it at different times.

But when you actually begin to work on the machine, unplug it.

You do not know if you have any loose or faulty wires that would cause a shock, so stay safe and stay unplugged

Is Your Washer Leaking?

When you first see a growing puddle under the machine, be it in front or behind it, you will want to determine that the water you’re stepping in is actually coming from the washing machine.

You’d hate to call in a washer repair man just to tell you that you don’t have a problem.

Break out the big, terry-cloth towels and soak up your water, and then take a minute to observe.

Run a cycle on the machine and watch to see if you see a leak.

After one cycle, if you do not see a leak, run another cycle.

You may need to run a couple of cycles if you have a slow leak.

After you’ve run two cycles, if no water shows up, you’re good.

You can go on your way and focus on other household tasks like dishwasher repair or refrigerator maintenance.

If a puddle does appear, however, you have a leak.

Now you need to find it.

Where Is Your Leak?

During any one of these steps, you have the option of calling a washer repairman.

You can press on and try to find the problem yourself. But if you feel uncomfortable or out of your element at any point, call a professional.

A Leak at the Front of the Machine

if you have a front-load machine and you have a leak in the front, you could have a problem as simple as a clogged or tilted overflow tube.

Too much soap or the wrong measurement of laundry agents can cause excess suds.

Excess suds can cause a leak.

You could also have excess suds if you have soft water.

Softer water causes more suds, so refigure how much soap you need.

If you have soft water and suspect you’re using too much soap, you can test the situation.

Take a newly washed small piece of clothing like a rag or a dishcloth, and soak it in a bowl of hot water.

If the water becomes sudsy, you’re using too much laundry detergent.

Simply reducing the amount of detergent you use may solve your washer leaking problem.

If you have a front-load machine and have a leak at the front of your machine, you might need to clean your gasket.

How to Clean Your Gasket

1. Run a few empty cycles of wash first.

2. Make sure you run your cycle hot, at 90 degrees celsius without any laundry in the machine.

3. Add a homemade solution to the washing powder drawer. Use a solution of 1 cup of bleach and 1 cup of baking soda or a solution of 2 cups of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1/4 cup of water.

4. Into the drum around the seal, add 1 cup of baking soda.

5. After the cycle has finished, drop a few drops of washing liquid into the warm water.

6. Wipe down the inside of the rubber door seal with a cloth or towel dipped in soapy water. Do not miss underneath and around the seals.

If your front door is still leaking, make sure you have a secure lock.

Is the door on straight?

Or is it hanging at an angle?

Back of the Machine Leak

If your puddle has formed at the back of your machine, you may have a bit more investigating to do than to just reduce your soap amount.

if you have a new machine that is leaking, do not freak out.

You may just need to remove the drain plug.

Sometimes the plug will still be in place after a technician installs your machine.

A drain plug will cause the water to back up and leak all over your floor.

You could also have a leaky hose in the back of your machine.

Double-check all of the clamps on the hoses connected to your machine.

Make sure they all have tight clamps.

Check your fill hoses as well.

Unscrew them from the machine and make sure each one has a rubber washer intact.

If you do not have rubber washers in your hose, the hose will leak.

Consider replacing the hoses if they’re old or if you’re noticing a persistent leak.

An undetectable pinhole leak can erupt into a massive leak.

Replacing a hose will prevent this catastrophe from happening.

Leak Under the Washer

If you have a leak neither in front nor behind your machine but rather under your machine, you most likely have a significant problem and need to call a professional.

Front-load machines have two washing drums, an inner and an outer drum.

The drums are constructed in halves, with the halves secured by bolts.

If the halves break or come loose, they will leak water and cause water to pool under the machine.

Malfunctioning or leaky drums require professional maintenance.

Do not attempt to fix your washing machine drum by yourself, and prepare yourself for the need to purchase a new machine altogether.

Call a professional washing machine repairman if you have water under your machine.

They will be able to tell you if you need a new machine or if they can repair the machine.

Water on the Top

If you have water flowing from the top of your machine, you most likely have a problem with a sensor or a water valve or pressure switch.

Valves, switches, and sensors all require a professional repairman as well.

Do not attempt to replace or repair these on your own.

You might be wondering at this point, what exactly does a water valve or pressure switch do?

This little switch detects the water level settings in your machine.

The switch measures the air pressure inside a small tube inside it.

So, as your machine fills up with water, the pressure builds, and the switch turns off the water once the water has reached a particular level.

The pressure switch exists to keep your water levels in check.

If you have water flowing freely from the top of your machine, your pressure switch has most likely malfunctioned.

Inspecting the Water Level Tube

A leak may require you to inspect the water level tube.

You could have a blockage that is causing water to back up and then pool on your floor.

As always, unplug your machine before you begin working on it.

Then break out the flashlight and move the machine away from the back wall so you can get a good angle to see what’s going on.

Then disconnect the water tube from its fittings.

You will find clamps attaching the tube to its fittings. You will need a screwdriver or pliers to loosen those clamps.

Once you’ve loosened the clamps, pull the tube off from its fitting.

Inspect the tube on both ends. You could find solids like basic debris or sediment.

You may find some thick water.

Then inspect the hose itself.

Does it have any kinks or holes?

If the tube has any kinks in it, straighten it.

If you cannot adequately straighten it, you will need to purchase a new tube.

If you do find a tube with debris in it, you need to clean it and clear it.

Use a snake or a long wire to clean out the tube.

Make sure you do not puncture it in the process.

A wire clothes hanger can work great as a makeshift snake.

Disassemble the hanger and straighten it.

Then slide it into the water tube.

Swirl the wire around in the tube to catch any debris that’s stuck to the side.

Then flush the tube with water.

If the tube isn’t clogged, you may have a problem with the switch.

Unless you’re an electrician or have significant electrical expertise, call an electrician.

A Leaky Detergent Drawer

If you have a detergent drawer, you may have a leak coming from there.

If you think the detergent drawer is leaking, start by checking your manual.

Are you using the correct type of detergent and the prescribed amount of detergent?

Using a different type of detergent or using more detergent than prescribed can cause an overflow and a leak.

Always make sure your detergent does not go beyond the fill line.

So start by using less detergent.

Make sure you always close your detergent drawer.

If you’re teaching one of your kids how to use the washing machine, an ajar detergent drawer may be the cause of your leak.

Errors That Cause Leaks

Your leak will come from one or two different mistakes: a connection error or an operator error.

Connection Error

Check your wall to see if your hoses are connected properly to the machine.

Run a cycle on the machine and watch those hoses carefully.

Look out especially for cracked or ripped hoses.

Use your small tools to tighten the hoses to the walls to make sure they do not leak.

Even a small drip can cause big problems down the road.

Always check your O-rings or your washers.

You will have four different o-rings to replace if you do this.

If you feel like replacing the o-rings is beyond your scope of expertise, then call an experienced repairman.

Check your mesh filters as well.

Each hose has a mesh filter that keeps garbage from entering a water line.

Make sure those filters do not have debris clogging them.

Clean the filters out or replace them.

Then water can run freely and not back up on your floor.

Operator Error

Our own ambition can cause leaks as well.

If you overload your washing machine, it could easily leak.

Look at the manual and follow directions.

Do not load the machine with more than what the manual recommends.

When you overload your machine, you will throw it off balance, and this could eventually cause wear and tear that leads to a leak.

Always make sure you’re using the right soap as well.

If you’re using HE soap when you should be using normal soap, you can create a leak.

If you use regular soap when you should be using HE, you can cause problems like excess suds and thus leak.

You can also cause your own problems if you do not properly maintain your drain hose.

Check to make sure the hose is securely fastened to the drain stand.

Examine your drain stand or tub carefully.

The hose should not hang any more than six inches into the tub.

Make sure to securely fasten the drain hose to the tub so it does not slide over or down.

Use a zip tie to keep it secure.

Make sure your standpipe is somewhere between 18 and 96 inches.

It should not be shorter than 18 inches and no higher than 96 inches.

Also, double-check the drain hose and standpipe’s air.

It should not be airtight.

An airtight pipe and hose will cause problems.

Just make sure the hose has a hose retainer to keep it stationary.

Check the level of your washing machine.

Your washing machine should have adjustable legs so you can make it level.

Make it completely level.

Do Not Fear Leaks

Do not be afraid of washer leaking problems.

If you run through these checklists and still cannot solve your problems, call a professional.

For all of your appliance service needs, contact us.


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