There are two things I love to do with my spare time. Work on the basement and work on this blog. Oh… and hang out with the kids, wife, family, friends… those guys too. And golf. And sports. And beer. I’m sliding off track here.
This past Saturday I couldn’t do any of those things. My wife Jenn had reported that the washing machine was leaking. Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets my attention faster than something in the house that is leaking water.
I investigate and yes indeed there is water, albeit a small amount, in the washing machine tray, which also happens to have a bunch of cracks in the front of it.
So I soak up the water with some rags. We pull out the washing machine and start digging around behind the washing machine and the dryer.
Journey to the Land of Lost Socks:
If you’ve never been behind your washer and dryer before be sure to bring some form of GPS unit or guide dog because it’s a whole different world back there. Now it also happens that about 3 months ago, one of us (I’m not going to point fingers) spilled an almost full bottle of Costco sized liquid detergent on the floor. We cleaned up a lot of it but a bunch had also congealed under the appliances. So I’m crawling around in a slimy, wet, dusty, lint infested jungle. This is home ownership people!
In addition to investigating the leak, I learned 2 things while cleaning up back there that I think you guys might find useful.
- You should
clean outreplace your dryer duct every 5 years. I know what you’re thinking, thanks Bob Villa, real home improvement gem there, I’ll get right on that. No. Seriously. Here’s a picture of mine after 7 years of normal laundry. A replacement duct costs about $10 and it takes about 15 minutes at most to repair. If not, you risk wasting electricity, ruining your dryer and catching your house on fire. Just sayin’.
- A simple $30 pair of rubber shoes can drastically reduce the vibration and noise caused by a front-loading washing machine. I saw these Anti-Vibration Pads at Home Depot while I was buying the new tray for the washing machine. They work great!
Front Load Washing Machine Vibrations
We love everything about our 7-year-old front-loading LG washing machine. Except… when it’s on the spin cycle it’s louder than a fleet of helicopters. It literally seems to shake the entire house. Did I mention that we have 2nd floor laundry room? We love that too, but that washing machine could wake the dead or a cranky 3-year-old.
We put these little rubber feet on in under 5 minutes. They are awesome! Much better than I expected. I wish I’d bought them years ago. They are worth twice what they cost. I’m definitely going to get a second set for the dryer. [UPDATE: I found a cheaper set on Amazon, $15, very good reviews, but I haven't personally tried them]
The Mysterious Leak
So we cleaned out the entire laundry room. Replaced the dryer venting. Replaced the washing machine tray. Jenn even organized towels and sheets into beautiful little stacks, despite my preference for large jumbled piles. I saw no obvious cause of the leak. Everything seemed to be in order. We ran the washing machine. No leak!
I’m telling you, this never happens to me. I almost always think I fixed something and then go to test it and it’s still very much broken. (aka my dishwasher in January) This time the appliance Gods smiled upon us. Our theory is that a stray sock may have broken the seal of the door at some point in the last load. Perhaps creating just a small enough opening to let some water out. [Update: ran another load... still no leak!]
Turned out to be a great little day. One problem we thought we had turned out to be nothing at all. Another problem we didn’t know we had (the dryer vent) was fixed for very little money before it could cause serious damage. Finally, the world’s loudest problem was fixed with four small squares of dense rubber.
Plus, Jenn and I did this one together. As manly as I am, I could not lift the washing machine without her help. It was perhaps the lamest “date” ever, but still very satisfying. It was fun to solve some domestic problems together.
If you know someone with a front loading washing machine, share this article with them, they will thank you for it, I promise. Have any good laundry room tips? Please share in the comments.
Cheers – Jason
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