What to Do if Your Washer is Leaking from the Back

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Washing machines, by nature, move a lot of water. Water goes in, is thrown with great force around the tub, and then rushes out through the drain. It speaks to the great accomplishments of modern appliance engineering that they don’t leak all the time, but it’s no surprise when the occasional puddle of water winds up on the floor. You can often tell what’s wrong and how to fix your washing machine by identifying where the leak is coming from. Leaks most commonly come from the backside or underside of the washing machine. Either the issue is with the connections, the water lines, the drain, or the pump. Here’s how to hunt down and repair that leak in the back of your washer   

Check Your Detergent Choice

If you have a front-load washer, leaking from the back or underside can be the result of too much suds in the detergent. This happens when your water is soft and you use too strong, too much, or too concentrated of soap in the front-load washer. You can tell if you’ve done this by inspecting the water. If there’s soap in the water, if the leak is visibly sudsy or if it’s slippery to the touch, this is a detergent issue. If it’s clean water, then it’s an issue with the connection or the water line. If it’s mixed with lint, it might be the drain instead.

Front-loading washers need detergent labeled “HE” or “he”. The HE stands for High Efficiency. It’s concentrated soap that you can use less of, and should. Follow the instruction on the bottle. 

Turn Off the Water Valves

The next step is to turn off the water. Go to the valves behind the washer and twist them clockwise, to the right. If the handles and connections are wet, or if one handle or contact is wet, then this may be the source of your leak. If the valves are dry, twist them both firmly shut. This will stop the flow of water, which can be necessary for further troubleshooting investigations of this leak.

If either of the valves is wet, assess how wet. Determine if this is a slow dribble from a slightly loose connection or if it’s the source of a puddle-creating leak. Either way, you will want to check out that connection. Replace the o-ring and seal generously with plumber’s tape. 

Secure the Water Line Connections

The next natural step is to check the water lines. These run from the valves to the back of the washer. Run your hand along each line and find out if each is wet on either side. A leaking line will usually drip from the lowest point or at the outer corner of a bend but the water dribbles down to where it falls into a puddle. If both of your water lines are dry, check the washing machine connection points, which may be comparative low enough that the connection drips directly onto the floor instead of wetting the outside of the line.

If you do find dampness, identify where it’s coming from. If there’s a flawed connection, disconnect it, replace the sealing pieces, and then reconnect it very securely with a new rubber o-ring and tape. 

Clear the Coin Trap

Some washing machines have a unique feature called a coin trap. This is like the lint trap for small heavy things that fall out of pockets and flow out in the drain water. Rather than clogging the drain with quarters and lost earrings, they collect in this little trap that almost no-one knows about it. Check your washer for a small, openable panel on a side or front panel, possibly the back.  If you have one, and didn’t know it, there’s a good chance that it’s full and causing a clog overflow. Empty that coin trap and reclaim a few dollars worth of treasure. As a bonus, your washer will work correctly afterward and stop leaking around those quarters and lost keys. 

Check the Drain for Clogs and Water Backing Up

The next culprit is the drain. Check the drain underneath or behind your washer. These drains connect to the house drains and flush a reasonable amount of lint. Sometimes, a sock will get through. Make sure that your drain line, as far as your tongs or home snake can reach, is not clogged. Pour a little chemical cleaner, vinegar, or boiling water down the drain to improve it’s speed.

Also check the drain line, the flexible drain hose that leaves the washer and hooks into the drain. Make sure this line is not clogged with lint or a rogue sock. 

Secure the Drain Hose Into the Drain

Another issue is a high-powered drain line. If the line is too high-pressure due to the washer’s speed or a half-clog, the drain line can actually lift itself right out of the drain and drop water onto your laundry room floor. There are special clamps or you can build a DIY clamp to hold that line in the drain no matter what the balance of water pressure may be. Give the water nowhere to go but straight down the drain with a few inches of hose making sure there’s choice for the water except in cases of a house-wide drain problem. 

Secure the Internal Water Lines

The next step is to open up your washing machine back panel to find the water lines. These are the internal hoses that run the hot and cold water into the drum. Just like the previous lines, check each end and the outside of the tube to see if you can identify the source of a leak. If the connections are loose or leaking, tighten them or reseal them. 

Unclog or Replace the Drain Pump

Last but not least, it could be the drain pump. Your drain pump is what pulls water out of the washer drum and pushes it out the drain. The drain pump can wear out, it can break, and sometimes it, too, can be clogged with a sock or something more slippery. Your drain pump is inside the housing, accessed wither the back panel or the underside. The drain pump will need to be cleared of its obstruction, reconnected, mildly repaired, or replaced.—Do you need a professional to take a look at your leaking washer? We can help. Contact us today for professional appliance technician services!

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