Help! my washing machine is leaking!

Why is my washing machine leaking water?

Washing machines leak for several reasons. Often the problem is relatively easy to fix so you can buy replacement parts and repair it yourself. Sometimes, however, the problem is of such a technical nature that you need to call a professional to fix the leak. Leaks can come from several different areas in the machine, and they can occur during a number of different stages in the wash cycle, including when it is off. We’re going to give you an overview of problems that might result in your washer leaking water, as well as some tips to exercise your DIY skills and get your machine up and running again.

5 of the most common washing machine leaks

  1. Hoses
  2. Door seal
  3. Wash cycle
  4. Tub/drum
  5. Drain pump

A deeper look at why your washer is leaking water

Hoses

Washing machines have a lot of hoses that serve various purposes, including pumping in water, pumping out water, and drainage. Each hose can leak at various points along its length.

For example: You can get a leaking washing machine hose connection or the washer hose might be leaking at the tap. There may be holes in the hose from sharp objects left in pockets, and then there is regular wear and tear that can cause hoses to split.

It’s easy enough to check the hoses. All you have to do is remove the back panel to gain access and then a visual inspection is usually enough to find any damage. If the washer hose is leaking at the connection then you can cut off the damaged end and reattach it at the connection point. Insulation tape finishes off the repair. Insulation tape is also usually sufficient to repair any cracks, splits, and holes in the hose.

It’s also worth checking the drain hose for any blockages which could cause water to seep (or run) out elsewhere.

Check the connection to the tap. This hose also wears over time, and can gradually work itself loose, going from a slow leak to something more substantial.

Door seal

The door seal on your washing machine works hard, so it’s not unusual for it to tear or split. It also has virtually direct contact with the washing, and the resulting build-up of debris and soap scum can damage the seal or build-up to the extent that the door no longer seals properly.

A damaged door seal can cause water to leak down the front of the washer, as well as down the inside. You can help prevent your washing machine door seal leaking by keeping the door and seal clean. If it’s already leaking then you should check the seal for tears, breaks, and tackiness (from residue build-up). If a good clean doesn’t fix the problem then you’ll have to replace the seal.

Wash cycle

Leaks can happen during the wash cycle. This can lead to water leaking from the detergent drawer. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. The detergent dispenser might not be working properly due to a build-up of excess powder and jellified liquid detergent and fabric softener. The water has nowhere to go except up and out. Giving the dispenser a good clean can solve the problem.
  2. The dispenser hose could be blocked. Again excess detergent or softener that has not dissolved can cause blockages that push the water back the way it came, which is up and out of the detergent drawer.

Tub/Drum

The washing machine tub (top-loader) or drum (front-loader) is a somewhat essential component, so you need to take steps to repair a leak in this area as soon as you notice a puddle underneath your washer.

The problem could be a hole due to uneven wear (the machine is not level or springs and belts are not what they should be). Or, the problem could be related to the tub seal.

Either way, the average layman is out of his depth, so call a professional repair person. If the problem is particularly serious it might make better financial sense to replace the tub or drum rather than repair it.

Drain pump

Problems related to the drain pump will usually manifest during the draining part of the wash cycle. The age and model of your washer will dictate the type of pump used. It could be a belt-driven pump, an electric pump, or a direct-drive pump. The problems could have to do with a fault in the pump itself or with the pump seal, but could also have to do with the inlet and outlet hoses to which it is attached.

You can check the hoses yourself, but if everything appears hunky-dory then the problem is probably more technical and you’re better off calling a professional repair person for help.

Super-important: Always switch off or unplug your washer before you attempt any investigatory or repair work. You are working with an electrical appliance and even though you may only be checking out the door seal, there is still a risk you could electrocute yourself.

Last tips

Before we go, we’ll give you a few quick tips from Peter Tyson Appliances on how to find the source of the water leaks in your washing machine.

  1. Put a newspaper under your washer when you start a wash cycle and remove it regularly to see where water appears. It’s important to check, otherwise the water spreads all over the show and you can’t tell one direction from another.
  2. Look for marks. Look for a white snail’s trail of dried soap marks; this will help pinpoint sudsy-related leaks. Rust indicates long-term leaking so tackle the problem ASAP.
  3. Use your normal load as a leak test. Some leaks only present when the washing cycle is on and there is laundry in the machine. The load changes water levels and the way in which the drum or tub moves, as well as water pressure and so highlights problems that an empty run might miss.

Finally, use your common sense. If you know you’re not great with a screwdriver and wrench, don’t attempt to fix your leaking washing machine on your own. Call the pros and don’t negate your appliance insurance policy.