Maybe you have saved up enough money to say farewell to laundromats and buy your first washing machine. Or perhaps you’ve used one in your home for years. To avoid malfunction, there are some best practices to prevent washing machine leaks.

Older, top loading washing machines use 30-45 gallons of water per wash load. When something causes all that water to flood your basement or laundry room, it can cause a lot of damage. Newer models and high-efficiency versions use far less water. However, leaks can happen with any type of washing machine, so here are some tips to follow.

Use proper water intake hoses

Rubber hoses used to be common on the water intake side of the machine. But they often split or developed small cracks, causing gradual leaks or all-out floods in the area.

Stainless steel braided hoses last longer. They are flexible, with tight-fitting ends that secure to the water inlet pipes. Make sure the correct size is installed, and the ends are screwed tight enough without over-tightening.

Prevent knocking pipes

There’s a lot of water flowing through the pipes into the washing machine. When the valve closes or the machine shuts off, the pipes can vibrate and cause a loud knocking sound. Secure the pipes to the wall with copper clips that hold them still.

Upgrade intake hoses on washing machines

Install a timed washing machine valve

Burst hoses can be a problem with washing machines. If it happens when nobody is home to notice, it can also cause damage when water starts to flood the basement floor. Installing a valve on the connections allowed a homeowner to easily turn off the water when the machine was not in use.

Better valves available now help that process automatically. Water can be manually turned on to start washing, and a timer will automatically shut off the water in about 2 ½ hours. This is usually adequate amount of time to complete a normal wash and rinse cycle.

Prevent clogs from water discharge

Water leaving the washing machine can be full of lint, hair, forgotten tissue fragments, and other unwanted messes. All this can cause problems if your wash machine drains into a utility sink.

A simple, inexpensive solution is to attach a “lint sock” to the end of the machine hose. Often made of nylon or fine metal, it acts as a screen to trap debris inside the sock, while still allowing water to filter through. Remember to replace the link sock every couple of weeks, or when you notice it looking full.

Add a laundry tray pump on utility sinks

Ideally, water leaving the washing machine would drain down into the sewer pipes. But many homes have this drain into a utility sink instead, especially if the drainpipe is elevated higher into the wall.

A laundry tray pump installed under a utility sink has a float switch and motor that helps project water out. This projection is usually strong enough to force the water up and out through longer, higher lengths of pipe than a normal sewer line. Setting a check valve inside this discharge line will help prevent water backflow.

Make sure drainage is adequate

A washing machine needs to drain water away and vent gases safely out of the house. A slow drain on a washing machine could be due to problems in either area. Check to be sure the vent pipe hasn’t become clogged. It needs to equalize air pressure to allow water to flow freely down the drain.

Likewise, the size of drain should be adequate for the machine and amount of water being removed. Older machines drained water at a much slower rate than newer models, so smaller pipes could handle the water flow. Replacing the drainpipe with a larger diameter pipe could help water flow out faster.

Have a plumber install the system

No matter what type of washing machine you have, a qualified plumber knows the best way to tie in all the incoming water, venting, and drainage for proper operation. Schedule a call now with Naugle Plumbing & Heating to prevent washing machine leaks.