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Prevent Water Damage in the Laundry Room
By Terry Allen
Clothes washing machines and dryers are usually located in the laundry room and generate heat and moisture. A simple maintenance routine will help in avoiding water-related problems and the growth of bacteria.
The washing machine is connected to both cold and hot water lines. Check both water lines.
Start with the connections and fix every leak you find immediately. Be sure to check both ends of the water lines for possible leaks.
Check the filters and clean or replace them periodically. A clogged filter slows the water flow into the washing machine, causing it to sometimes malfunction.
A slow flow problem is more common in areas with "hard water" (water that has a lot of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and salts, dissolved in it from the rocks and earth in the area that the water is collected).
Inspect the shut off valve by looking for drips into the washing machine while it is not in use. If you detect a leak, replace the valve. Consider installing a single-handled valve that makes it easier to turn off the water supply to the washing machine.
Hoses & Filters
Like with most appliances, washing machine problems often originate in the hoses.
Preferably, there should be at least 4 inches of clearance between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. This space will help reduce the chances that the hose will kink and burst. Periodically check these hoses and replace them if brittle or old.
When replacing hoses, be sure to install new hose washers and consider installing longer-living steel-braided hoses.
Do not ignore the discharge hose. When inspecting, search for kinks and cracks.
The dryer is connected to a ventilation hose. Check it carefully.
The dryer ventilation hose must be connected to the outdoors. Search for lint accumulation behind and under the dryer and make sure the vent pipe is not clogged and that it is debris-free.
Make the exhaust route as short and straight as possible for the dryer to vent efficiently.
The utility sink is sometimes the source for water-related problems.
Start by searching for leaks under the sink. A drip in the trap under the sink can be a sign for drain problems and should be repaired immediately.
Then, look around the sink; slow draining pipes may indicate a partially blocked drain. A constantly dripping faucet must me repaired right away. Replace sink seals if they are cracked or loose.
Damp, soft, or stained walls and floors around plumbing pipes indicate an internal leak that must be fixed before additional damage occurs.
Smart Tips for Water Damage Prevention in the Laundry Room:
- Unclog the drain with a drain opener.
- Clean out the dryer lint trap after each load.
- Shut off your hoses when not in use.
- Do not leave your washer on when you leave the house.
- Clean around and behind the washer and dryer frequently.
- Seal up poorly connected washer and dryer hoses.
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