Just outside my laundry closet lays a wall-to-wall carpet. I can only imagine the kind of damage that would be done if my washing machine started leaking from the bottom. There is a multitude of reasons why this might happen.
If your washing machine is leaking from the bottom, it could be due to the following:
- A loose or missing hose clamp
- A broken or damaged seal tub
- A defective water pump
- A clogged filter or catch basket
- A cracked or broken coupler
The good news is that many of these problems can be easily fixed!
Loose or Missing Hose Clamp
Your washing machine has a drain hose that is fitted to a drainage pipe that protrudes from the washer. They are connected by a hose clamp, which should seal the two parts together. The hose clamp should be easily visible on the outside, however, some models have an internal hose clamp.
The clamp could be causing the leak if it feels loose or if it’s missing altogether.
If the clamp is loose, you should be able to hand-tighten it. If it’s missing, you’ll need a replacement. This problem can be easily solved on your own.
Broken or Damaged Tub Seal
The tub seal acts as the main water seal for the washer. It’s fitted to the washer’s transmission, which is in the outer tub under the spin basket.
If your washing machine starts leaking during the rinse cycle, the tub seal is most likely the problem.
The only way to fix this is to replace the tub seal. Because of its location, the tub seal is difficult to get to and may even require the washer to be flipped over. It’s best to call a repairman for this issue.
Defective Water Pump
The water pump is usually located beneath the washing machine which makes it a likely culprit when leaks appear at the bottom. If the pump is the issue, it’s usually because the two large hoses connected to it are loose.
Leaking aside, you can identify a problem with the water pump if you notice the washer rumbling or shaking during a cycle.
If the hoses connected to the pump are loose, simply tighten them. If they are clogged, you can use needle-nose pliers to remove the obstruction. If the actual pump is defective, and needs to be replaced, follow these steps:
- Unplug the machine and drain any remaining water in the basin. Clamp the hose to prevent any further leaking.
- Remove the face of the washer. This process is different for top-load and front-load washers. For a top-load washer, prop the machine on 2x4s and unscrew the front panel after locating the screws on the bottom. For a front-load washer, removing the face is dependent on the make and model. Check the manual for specific instructions.
- Disconnect all drain hoses that are attached to the pump. Be prepared with a bucket or towel to catch any leaks.
- The pump should only be attached by a few more screws. Remove them and take out the broken pump.
- A new pump can be replaced by reversing the above steps.
Clogged Filter or Catch Basket
A washer’s catch basket is similar to a dryer’s lint trap. It catches excess fibers during a cycle which can build up over time, clogging the basket and causing a leak.
Most new high-efficiency washers don’t have a catch basket. Instead, they have self-cleaning pump filters to get rid of the lint.
For older models, you can locate the catch basket in several different areas: along the top edge of the drum, the top of the agitator (the center column of the drum), or at the end of the draining house where there may be a removable screen.
For high-efficiency washers with a pump filter, you can run an empty wash cycle once a month. This will help clear the filter without adding any more fibers from a laundry load.
For older models with a removable screen, soak the screen in hot water and detergent for 10 minutes. If the filter screen is not removable, get rid of the lint with a small brush or paper towel.
Cracked or Broken Coupler
Between the washing machine’s motor and drum, you can find the coupler. It can be either plastic or rubber. A coupler is designed to break as a way to save the machine during a malfunction.
Aside from leaking at the bottom, a good way to tell if your coupler is broken is if your laundry is still soaked after a cycle.
If it’s cracked or broken, the coupler needs to be replaced. Because this is such a common problem, replacing a coupler is a cheap fix, though how to do it is dependent on the make and model. There are many videos on how to do it yourself. But you’re still hesitant, you can always call a professional.
Is it worth fixing a leaking washing machine?
It’s all about weighing the cost. If your washing machine is still under warranty, then you should absolutely take advantage of a repair!
If the washer has a few good years left and the repair would cost 50% less than the price of a brand new machine, then it’s worth it. Depending on the cause of the leaking, it could be a quick and cheap fix.
Replacing the machine would be best if the washer is near the end of its life or repair costs add up after consistent issues.
What is the average lifespan of a washing machine?
A washing machine can last between 10 and 13 years. Typically, top-load washers last a bit longer than front-load washers.
Who do I call if my washing machine is leaking?
While many people tend to call an electrician, a plumber is the best choice to fix a leaking washer. Electricians can only help with the electrical side of things. That usually isn’t what causes leaks. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable fixing it yourself, then call your plumber.
Summing It Up
When a washer leaks from the bottom it can cause a lot of damage, especially if it’s not dealt with right away. Fortunately, many of the problems can be easily solved either by yourself or with the help of a professional.
Some of the fixes may cost a good bit of money, especially if you enlist the help of a professional. However, locating and fixing the problems above can save you from spending much more on a new machine.