When Washing Machines Go Bad: 3 Tips For Emergency Leaks

Electric washing machines are one of modern life's conveniences. If you have a washing machine in your home, you likely don't take the time to consider how to react to an emergency leak until it's too late.

If you want to prevent a washing machine leak from causing serious damage to your home, here are three tips you can use to help you respond appropriately to an emergency leak in the future.

1. Identify the leak as quickly as possible,

Water damage can cause structural problems within your home, so catching any plumbing leaks as quickly as possible is essential when it comes to minimizing the damage these leaks cause. Since you probably don't stand next to your washing machine during a wash cycle, you might not catch an emergency leak until it's time to switch your laundry load over to the dryer.

To help you catch an emergency leak as soon as possible, it may be helpful to invest in a water leak alarm. These alarms come equipped with two external metal strips that have electrical currents running through them. When water comes into contact with both strips, the electrical current is disrupted. This causes an alarm to sound, alerting you to the presence of a leak. Being alerted to leaks as quickly as possible will help you prevent more costly water damage by calling a plumber to immediately address the problem.

2. Stop the water supply to your washing machine.

Once a leak has been detected, you want to prevent further leaking by stopping the supply of water coming into your washing machine. This can easily be done by turning off the hot and cold water valves located behind your washing machine.

Most valves are easily visible, but yours may be hidden behind an access panel in the wall behind your washer and dryer. Once you have located the valves, turn each one clockwise until the valve no longer turns. Stopping the supply of water to your washing machine once a leak has been detected will help you prevent additional water damage until a plumber can arrive to repair the leak.

3. Turn off the electricity to your washer and dryer to avoid electrocution.

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, so if you have a leak, it's imperative that you turn off the electricity to your washer and dryer to avoid electrocution. Start by unplugging both appliances from their outlets.

Be sure to secure the electrical plug in a position where it won't touch the ground or the water that might be on the ground. Next, shut off the circuit breaker powering your washer and dryer to eliminate any electrical currents from the area. The typical electric dryer uses a double pole 40A breaker, so look for this type of breaker at your fuse box.

A leaking washing machine can be a serious plumbing emergency. Knowing that you need to identify leaks early, and shut off both the water and electricity to your machines while waiting for an emergency plumber to arrive can help you avoid serious damage the next time an emergency water leak occurs in your washing machine.