Families in the U.S. wash about 300 loads of laundry every year. Because this appliance is used so often, you can have a real issue if it stops working and you need fresh clothes for school or work. While you may require a professional to come out for repairs, you can keep an eye out for signs so that you can catch plumbing issues before they escalate. Discover four signs your washing machine needs servicing for plumbing problems.
1. The Spin Cycle Works, but Your Clothes Are Still Saturated
While your clothes will be damp after a wash cycle, they shouldn’t be heavy and dripping with water. When this happens, you likely have drain hose problems.
The drain hose runs out behind your washer and drains the water out once a load is finished. A standpipe connects the drain hose to your home’s waste stack. The waste stack pipe is a vertical pipe that can carry away water that doesn’t contain soil (sewage). Waste stacks drain water in washing machines, showers, sinks, and tubs.
Sometimes, the drain hose in the back of your washer hangs too low or too high at the standpipe connection. So, instead of draining water out to the waste stack, it settles in the standpipe, drain hose, and washing machine. A technician can help you figure out the proper height of the drain hose so that this siphoning effect doesn’t occur.
Lastly, if the drain hose is at the right height, but your clothes are still soaked, the problem may be a clog from debris or a foreign object.
2. The Washer Doesn’t Fill Up or Has the Wrong Temperature
This symptom can often indicate issues in your washer’s water inlet valves. The inlet valves connect two water hoses to your machine, which control the flow of hot and cold water.
Sometimes, mineral deposits can build up in these valves, causing restrictions that impede water flow. Hot/cold water hoses connect with solenoid inlet valves, or valves that are electro-mechanically operated. If mineral deposits have built up on these components, then the electric signals to open or close the flow of hot/cold water can be impeded.
One way to reduce this problem in the future is by installing a water softener in your home. Hard water contains minerals that can damage appliances, so softening the water can save you on repairs. Have a professional plumber look at the inlet valves if you suspect a problem since you could potentially damage them if you try to clean them yourself.
3. The Washer Makes Loud Noises
You normally hear some gear noises from your washer during spin cycles or when water valves turn on and off. However, if you hear loud, vibrating sounds, then the pump could have a problem.
The pump connects to the drain hose and helps to push water in and out of the machine. Sometimes, fabrics — especially smaller articles of clothing, like socks — catch between the drum and block the pump.
Check all clothing pockets before putting articles in the wash. Coins, keys, and other small items can get through the pump and can damage fins of your drain pump if they go past the filter. In worst-case scenarios, small objects can shatter glass on front-loading washers or get all the way through the drainpipe and cause a clog.
Put small articles of clothing or clothing with strings in mesh wash bags so that they stay inside the drum and don’t obstruct the pump. Some homeowners know to clean the lint traps in their dryer, but they may not realize that they need to clean the filter screen on their washing machine pumps. If you know that no clothes or small items impede the pump, then check the pump filter screen since grease or lint may be the problem.
4. House-Wide Plumbing Issues Occur After a Load of Laundry
Sewer drain clogs are serious plumbing emergencies since wastewater exposure can leave people vulnerable to foul odors and pathogens. One sign that you have a major clog in your washing machine drains is when you use your washing machine and other drains in your home overflow.
The main sewer drainpipe under your house connects to all of the branching drains in your home, such as showers, toilets, sinks and tubs. Because the washing machine uses so much water, it can cause backups in all of your house’s drains if you have a large clog. If you notice this problem, halt all of your water usage until a plumber can assess the issue.
If you notice one or all of these problems, contact us at Windy City Rooter. We can help you take care of plumbing in your laundry room. And if your washing machine is old, we can help you with remodeling if you need to hook up new appliances.