Your washing machine is among the most valuable major appliances in your home, and its repairs can be expensive in more ways than one. In addition to parts and labor, some washing machine problems can result in water flooding your laundry room and causing extensive damage -- so it pays to take a little time to inspect and maintain your washer now and then.
You should already be used to cleaning the lint trap on your dryer with every load, but laundry pros will also give their washing machines a little TLC after each final spin cycle. And it all starts with removing the wet load of clothes in a timely fashion -- leave them in there too long, and musty smells with start to develop. Leave them in way too long, and it will progress to mildew and mold.
When you’ve finished your last load of the day, take a moment to inspect the washer door’s gaskets for moisture. Mold can develop in the cracks, so it’s worth a few seconds to wipe it dry. When you’re done with that, leave the door open for a few hours so that air can circulate and any remaining moisture can dry.
Some washing machines, like high-efficiency machines, are only designed to work with certain types of detergent. Using the wrong kind can cause serious damage, so knowing your machine and purchasing the right product is critical.
You should also reach into your toolbox and bring out the level to make sure your washing machine is on an even keel. If it isn’t level, the drum can spin out of balance and put stress on parts that may eventually break under the pressure. Most models have adjustable feet that allow you to get it perfectly level, no matter how uneven your laundry room floor may be.
Every Once In a While
Some of the most important maintenance is only really necessary a few times per year. At least every other month, carefully inspect all hoses and connections for looseness, cracking or other signs of wear. If a hose breaks or falls out of place, catastrophic flooding could result! Replace aging hoses proactively -- every five years is a good interval.
Modern washing machines may have multiple filters, and the location and cleaning procedures vary by model. Be sure to acquaint yourself with your model and keep up with any filter-cleaning schedules recommended in your manual.
It’s also good to do a thorough cleaning every so often. Special washing machine cleaning products can be used to clean built-up detergent residue from the drum, and you can clean out the fabric softener dispenser with a damp paper towel. If your washing machine is right next to the dryer, it’s also smart to pull it away from the wall to vacuum up lint that can stick to the sides.
These tips should help you avoid many washing machine problems, but if you ever have trouble with the water supply that keeps it going, call upon your local plumbing pros right away!