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It’s that time of year – back to school! And with it comes an increase use of your washing machine. There are more clothes to clean as the kids change multiple times out of their school clothes, into their after-school clothes, into clothes related to after-school activities, and so on. Your laundry room is seeing a ton of loads. With so much laundry you probably are not thinking about potential plumbing problems with your washing machine.

Burst washer hoses are one of the major reasons for water damage in homes, costing tens of thousands of dollars. And although that is not the only plumbing problem you could have with your washing machine, it is one of the most costly if not caught early on. Other problems could result if you don’t properly connect your hot and cold water supply or if you have leaks from your machine.

Here is a quick review of five problems that could occur with your washing machine and what you can do about them:

  1. Burst washer hoses – When the hoses burst you can get a real mess with water flooding your laundry room. The statistics for home water damage and floods caused by rubber washing machine hoses bursting are high. To avoid a potential disaster, replace your rubber hoses with steel braided hoses. Braided hoses can handle more pressure, they don’t get leaks as easily, and they will provide better protection against bursting. Plus, they are very easy and inexpensive to change.
  2. Leaking outer drums – The outer tub or drum of the washing machines are prone to leak. For many years these drums were made of metal or stainless steel but more recently they have been made of plastic. Plastic is susceptible to cracks so any obstruction in the washer like a coin or screw left in a pocket can crack the tub. Other objects can punch a hole through the plastic. To avoid this, check everything that goes into your washing machine carefully so you don’t add coins, tools, or other objects that could damage your machine.
  3. Filling and draining problem – If you have a washing machine that is filling with water and draining it at the same time, it could be a plumbing problem. This sometimes happens when you move the machine while cleaning or relocate it to a new home. The problem with filling and draining could also be caused by overfilling or overheating, which is a machine problem so you will want to understand the differences. The potential for it being a plumbing problem occurs when the machine is not siphoning water correctly and taking in more water. Siphoning occurs when the end of the drain hose is lower than the level of the water inside the washing machine. In this circumstance, check the hoses to make sure they are positioned correctly.
  4. Other leaks from the machine – Although your washing machine involves water that sometimes doesn’t drain or leaks from the machine, it might not be a plumbing problem. If you are experiencing problems with the machine’s pump or a clogged filter, check the owner’s manual. Preventative maintenance is always the best way to avoid problems.
  5. New machine won’t work – Low water pressure is sometimes a problem with a new washing machine. You might find that your old washer was slow to fill because it didn’t have a good water pressure, but it still worked. Now that you have bought a replacement it refuses to work because the internal software creates an error. First, check to make sure the valve supplying the washer is turned fully on. If this doesn’t fix the problem and you think it is a pressure problem, contact your plumber to get the pressure in your water lines checked.

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