Eight Possible Causes of a Leaking Washing Machine

Appliance Express
November 25, 2019
Washer Repair

There are few things more upsetting than coming in to check on the laundry to find a spreading puddle over your laundry room floor. Washing machines are not supposed to allow water to leave their self-contained system which means something is seriously wrong. And usually, it’s not just that someone used the wrong soap and the washer has comically sudsed bubbles over the edge. Particularly not if you actually have a well-sealed front-loading washer.

However, if your only clue to go on is a puddle. the problem could be any number of possible containment failures inside and even outside the washing machine. Washers, understandably, have a complex system of tubes and valves which allow it to supply and drain water in the process of cleaning your clothes. If anyone of these goes wrong, you may wind up seeing water on the floor. So today, we’re going through the most likely causes of a washing machine leak one by one to help you gain some perspective on the problem. 

Understand How the Water Flows

The first step is to understand how water flows through your washer. it starts at the supply valves in the wall which control whether your washer can access hot and cold water in the process of washing. The water flows from the valves through two hoses (often shiny metal) that lead into the washer itself with two more valves. Inside the washer are hoses that fill the tub and hoses that drain the tub. These are combined with motors and pumps that manipulate the water as it washes your clothing. A malfunction in any stage of the process can result in a leak. 

1) Loose Water Supply Valves or Hoses

The best place to start is on the wall. Check out the water supply valves in the wall located behind or next to your washing machine These look like two metal taps, often with a red knob and a blue knob to indicate hot and cold water. If the taps are wet, they may have come loose from their fixtures. But even more likely is that the problem lies with the hoses connecting the supply valves to your washing machine. Check the connection of the hoses at the wall valves. Then trace the hoses into the back of your washing machine and ensure that the connection there is both secure and watertight. If the hoses connecting the valves to the washer are damaged or the connections are imperfect, you’ll experience leaks. 

2) An Unsecured or Clogged Drain Hose

The next most checkable problem is the drain hose that allows the washer to dump out the soapy water and rinse water used to clean your clothes. The drain outlet for this is often in the same aperture as the supply valves, often located between them, though you might have a drain closer to your floor instead. Look for a third hose (or pipe) leading out of your washer and check it for any signs of wetness or damage. If your washer drain hose or pipe is damaged, this could easily be the source of your leak. You may also want to consider the possibility of a clog. A clog in your washer drain line or in the drain beyond the washer outlet may be causing a backup which can result in puddles. 

3) Damaged or Disconnected Internal Water Hoses

For further investigation, you may need to open up your washing machine to inspect the internal hoses and components. Inside your washer are several hoses leading to and from the tub. There are two internal hoses that lead from the inlet valves to the tub to supply hot and cold water. If either these hoses or their connections are damaged, this can result in a leak. There are also hoses leading to the drain pump and away from the drain pump to the outlet hose or pipe which could equally be part of your problem. 

4) Broken or Disconnected Drain Pump

Then there’s the drain pump itself. The drain pump is what is responsible for sucking water out of your washer tub and pushing it down the line into the drain, even if the drain is located above the washer tub as it often is. A broken drain pump or a drain pump that has come disconnected from one of its hoses can dump water all over your floor through the washer housing. 

5) Top Loading Washer: Damaged Tub Cover Gasket

If you have a top-loading washer and the problem is occurring during the spin cycle, the leak could be coming from your tub cover gasket. The tub cover gasket provides a seal between the outer tub and the tub cover. When the washer spins, it may be throwing water out the top if the cover gasket is damaged or has become loose. 

6) Front Loading Washer: Door Boot Seal

For a front-loading washer, the problem could be your door boot seal. This is the big folded rubbery ring inside your door pocket that your washer door fits into. The door boot seal is what ensures that water doesn’t splash all over your floor when you can see it swishing around in there. So if the boot seal is damaged or if any of its many spring clamps have come loose, then you may start seeing water leaking out the door during a wash cycle. 

7) Malfunctioning Water Level Switch

The water level switch is what tells your washing machine how much water to fill with and when to stop. So it’s easy to see that if your water level switch is broken or if it begins to malfunction, your washer tub may overfill which can cause a leak. The water level switch is actually made up of three different parts, including a pressure switch and air dome tube which help identify the water level. If any of them break, you could be seeing overfilling and leaks. 

8) Faulty Door Catch

Finally, there’s the simple problem of your washer door staying closed, particularly for front-loading washers. If your door switch thinks it is closed but the latch doesn’t hold on tightly, your door may fall open during the wash cycle and water can escape even if your door boot seal is in good condition. Looking for more repair guides? Need assistance with a faulty home appliance? Contact us today!


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