Washing machines bring ‘loads’ of convenience into the home, freeing up your schedule by cleaning clothes with ease. Several times a week, we toss in our clothes, add soap, and let the machine do all the work. But like any appliance that uses water, a malfunctioning washing machine can cause indoor flooding.
A typical load of laundry uses at least 30 gallons of water, roughly the amount to fill a standard bathtub. While washing machines are built to last, it only takes one hose or seal to fail and you have a huge problem. If a water disaster happens in your Columbus home, contact water damage professionals in your area like Mammoth Restoration.
When Does Your Washing Machine Fail?
The most common problem with washing machines is a faulty washing machine hoses. Most washing machines have two water supply hoses, a hot and a cold, that attach to the rear of the unit. The hoses can wear out and become brittle; the connections can get loose or corrode. More than 50% of all washing machine water damage claims can be traced back to a supply hose failure, which can spill out 5 gallons of water per minute. This can be caused by:
- Pinching the hose while installing or replacing a washing machine, causing a hairline break
- A poor connection to either the washing machine or wall
- The hose’s own aging, which can lead to brittleness
Drainage Issues Can Cause Flooding
The drain pump empties water from the wash tub into the drain line during the wash cycle. The drain line allows dirty water to flow from the machine. Over a number of years, lint and other debris can clog the drain line. This will cause your washing machine to back up into the tub and may even cause it to overflow. A partial drain clog will also put more stress on the tub seals and drain pump seal.
Seals and Latches
One (or more) tub seals keep water from leaking out of the unit during regular operation. Over time, these seals can stretch or wear out, no longer forming a water-tight seal. If you have a front loading washing machine, the door will have a latch that can become loose over time. Water can leak from your washing machines if the door is misaligned, kinked, or damaged.
A washing machine doesn’t have to be old, poorly installed, or poorly built to cause internal leakage. Simply overloading your washing machine on a regular basis can be all it takes to cause cracks and loosen valves, bushings, and gaskets.
The most effective ways of preventing damage from your washing machine are to:
- Replace the washing machine intake hose every 5 years, upgrade to steel braided mesh. Tighten the connections regularly and look for signs of corrosion.
- Check your sewer line after a storm, before running your washing machine.
- Have your machine professionally installed to avoid water line pinches and drainage issues.
- Avoid excessive detergent; it’s more likely that soap suds will overflow the lid and cause a huge mess.
- Be proactive. We use our washing machine so often, yet, a recent Expert Home Tips survey revealed that a surprising 35% had never washed their washing machine. Check often for mold build up, which could be a sign of a larger problem ahead.
Emergency Clean-Up Steps
If you return to the laundry room to find a puddle, turn off the water at the water shutoff valves near the water hoses immediately. Step one is to stop more water, step two is to unplug. Focus on staying safe and preventing more water from getting pumped out of the unit.
As you call the water damage specialists, use towels, sheets, or even a mop to soak up as much water as possible. When the restoration team arrives, they might 1) pump the water out of the area or 2) use wet/dry vacuums to extract the remaining water left behind. Let the team decide how to remove the heavy washer with minimum mess. Professional industrial tools are much better at pulling water from porous materials like drywall, carpeting, cabinets, and wood. Then they will focus on thoroughly drying the space using air movers, blowers and dehumidifiers.
Another aspect of your clean up will be the removal of unsalvageable materials; they may need to remove damaged flooring, cabinets, or furniture. Then they will sanitize and deodorize the area to prevent mold or bacterial problems in the future. Depending on the extent of the damage, restoration may only involve repainting. However, it may also include installing new flooring, drywall, cabinets, or other items.