Finding the source of a leak in your washing machine

Whilst many claim that it is less expensive to replace a washing machine than to repair one, many common problems can often be dealt with quickly and inexpensively with no more than common household tools. Leaking is a common complaint, and serves as an excellent indicator of what is actually wrong. Here are a few tips to help you find the source of your leak. However, if a leak isn’t your problem please see our more general DIY washing machine repair advice here.

First, make a note of where the water seems to be coming from on the machine, and at what point in the wash cycle it begins to appear. If it is difficult to access your washer, try sliding a newspaper under it and looking at that to determine where the water is coming out. If that doesn’t work, you may have to open the machine up. Never do this without unplugging it first!

Next, look for wet components. Remember, though, that water doesn’t generally stand still. A wet part is more likely to be below the source of a leak than the source itself. Always track leaks upwards.

Now, since the machine isn’t running, you may have to look for stains or rust marks rather than actual flowing water. Dissolved soap, limescale and discolouration form iron content all point to water having been present in some quantity. If the stain is dry, though, it probably wasn’t recently. To make this easier on yourself  next time, clean up all stains and water marks after you fix a leak, and you won’t chase the same leak twice.

If you still haven’t found the source, you’ll have to (carefully) plug the machine back in, and watch it go through a full wash cycle. At some point, you should see the leak manifest. This is probably the step where you want to think about calling a professional repairman, if you haven’t guessed.

Your last resort, if you haven’t found the leak yet, is to run a cycle full of clothes. A few leaks won’t appear when it is cycling empty. If you haven’t found the leak by now, you might not actually have one.

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