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Three Steps After a Washing Machine Leak

Thursday, March 5th, 2020
washing machine leak

A typical household washing machine uses from 4,500 to over 13,000 gallons of water in an average year. If nothing goes wrong, all that water cleans the family’s clothes, then passes into the household drain system without incident. If not, here are some typical washing machine leak scenarios and what to do if it happens.

Ruptured Supply Hose

Hoses connecting the unit to the hot and cold faucets on the wall behind are frequently rubber. Over time, the hose becomes brittle and may rupture. A broken washer supply hose can release 650 gallons of water per hour into your home. Indoor water damage due to ruptured washing machine hoses can exceed $10,000 if nobody’s home when it happens.

What to do: Studies show a washing machine supply hose lasts an average of 8.7 years. Don’t press your luck. Replace risky rubber supply hoses now with more reliable braided stainless steel lines.

If a rupture occurs, turn off both water supply faucets on the wall to stop the flow. Flooding from these cases typically requires professional water damage recovery services.

Leaky Pump

The internal water pump removes water from the machine tub after each cycle. Pump leaks generally appear as intermittent pooling on the floor beneath and around the machine. In most cases, leakage is intermittent, occurring only when the unit is running.

What to do: Turn the washer off and unplug it from the wall. Turn off water at the supply faucets on the all. Mop up the water and call for professional appliance service.  

Clogged Drain Pipe

A flexible hose connects the washer to an open PVC drain pipe on the wall behind the unit that conveys wastewater into the house sewer system. A blockage in this pipe typically causes overflow out of the top of the pipe when the washer drain cycle empties the tub.

What to do: Shut off the unit. Mop up the water around and behind the unit. Clearing a clogged washer drain pipe requires a professional plumber. Don’t run the washer again until the plumber has resolved the issue.

Simple Tips To Prevent Water Damage From Home Appliances

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

leaky applianceWhen thinking about ways to prevent water damage, don’t overlook home appliances. While ruptured water supply lines are certainly a major cause of indoor flooding, appliances connected to those pipes also contribute to the risk of household water damage.

How to prevent water damage

To prevent water damage, be aware of the condition of these common appliances, follow manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance and keep the following tips in mind:

Washing Machine – Washers usually come standard with rubber water supply hoses. Over time, they become brittle, crack and may rupture without warning. Make it a habit to replace rubber washer supply hoses every five years. Even better, replace them with braided stainless steel supply lines, instead, that have longer service life. Another preventive measure: Don’t start a load in the washer and then leave the house. If you’re going to be away for an extended time, turn off the water supply to the washer at the valves on the wall behind it.

Dishwasher – Dishwasher water supply is under household pressure of 40 p.s.i. or higher—enough to cause water damage like any broken pipe elsewhere in the home. Early signs of dishwasher leaks often occur at plumbing connections that are out of sight beneath or behind the unit. It’s a good idea to remove the front kick plate two or thee times a year and look underneath the dishwasher with a flashlight for dripping or other signs of water. Check both while the unit is off and also while it’s filling.

Refrigerator – The 1/4-inch plastic or copper water tube that supplies the icemaker with fresh water connects to the rear of the refrigerator. If the unit is shoved too close to the wall, a plastic tube may be crushed or otherwise damaged and leak. If the refrigerator’s pulled too far away and over-stresses the supply tube, the connection may leak or totally detach and flood the kitchen. Be careful when moving the refrigerator and always check behind the unit for leakage when you do.


3 Common Home Water Leaks And How To Prevent Them

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

leaking washing machineWhen it comes to home water leaks, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises. Generally, the same leaks occur from a few common sources inside a house and resultant water damage follows a fairly predictable pattern. Here are three of the usual suspects when home water leaks happen and how to prevent them:

Water supply lines. A 1/2-inch indoor supply line feeding individual bathroom or kitchen fixtures is under anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds of water pressure. Slow leakage can silently saturate the immediate area causing structural rot and triggering mold growth. Total pipe rupture can inflict widespread, expensive damage. Regularly inspect all visible supply lines under and behind fixtures. No amount of seepage or dripping, no matter how minor, is acceptable. Contact a plumber if you see any signs of leakage.

Washing machine hoses. Connecting fittings on the back of the washer to hot and cold water valves on the wall, many original-equipment washing machine hoses are cheap rubber. Over time, these hoses become brittle and may crack and leak or, worse, rupture without warning. Don’t wait for signs of deterioration. Replace rubber washing machine hoses now, before damage occurs, with flexible braided stainless steel lines that offer long expected service life and reduce the danger of water damage.

Air conditioner overflows. A central AC unit produces many gallons of condensation on a humid summer day. If everything works, the condensate drip pan under the indoor air handler drains condensation into the household sewer system. If the system becomes clogged, however (algae growth is a frequent cause) the pan quickly overflows and spills water every time the AC cycles on. This can cause substantial structural water damage before the problem is even noticed. Schedule annual AC preventive maintenance including drip pan cleaning. During cooling season, check the pan frequently for standing water—a warning sign of a developing clog. If water is accumulating, shut off the system and contact an HVAC contractor immediately.

For more about how to prevent home water leaks or deal with the aftermath if one occurs, contract the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc.

3 Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips For Your Home

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

corroded pipeSerious indoor water damage can result from something as simple as neglecting basic plumbing maintenance. The water supply lines inside your house carry water at an average of 60 pounds per square inch. That’s more than enough pressure to inundate your home in a matter of minutes. Other less dramatic but chronic plumbing problems can increase monthly water bills and cause fixtures and appliances to perform less efficiently.

Observing a few basic plumbing maintenance practices is always better than dealing with the inconvenience and expense after the fact if water damage occurs. Here are three things you can do on your own.

  1. Look for leaks. No amount of water supply line leakage—including tiny pinholes or minor oozing at joints—is acceptable. In fact, these are often warnings of internal corrosion which could trigger a total pipe rupture at any time. Inspect water supply lines anywhere they are visible, including beneath sinks and in the basement or crawl space, for dripping or seepage. If you find any, call a plumber immediately.
  2. Check washing machine hoses. Ruptured rubber washing machine hoses are frequent culprits when unexpected indoor water damage strikes. Regularly inspect the hoses that connect to hot and cold water faucets on the wall behind the machine. Look for cracks and test flexibility. If the hoses feel hard and brittle, replace them now. Braided steel water lines are a superior, longer-lasting replacement than rubber.
  3. Inspect the water heater. Look for signs of leakage underneath. Any water dripping from the bottom of the unit is evidence of internal corrosion and an impending tank rupture that could flood the house. Also check the temperature and pressure relief valve on the side or top of the water heater for dribbling. Open the valve by lifting the spring-loaded handle and verify that you can see or hear water spurt out, then allow the valve to snap shut. Make sure the valve seals properly afterwards. Report any tank leakage or a dribbling relief valve to a qualified plumber.

Ask the experts at Rytech for more basic plumbing maintenance tips to prevent water damage.

What to Avoid to Prevent Plumbing Leaks

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Anything you can do to prevent plumbing leaks is better than the alternative. Leaks from water supply lines, no matter how apparently small and trifling, should never be acceptable. A water supply pipe is under pressure and even minor leakage may be the sign of a pipe or joint that’s about to fail. Once it does, it can rapidly inundate the house with hundreds of gallons. If it happens when nobody’s home, the consequences can be even more catastrophic. Prevent plumbing leaks and you not only prevent needless waste and increased water bills, but you also may prevent expensive water damage.

prevent plumbing leaksCheck Your Water Pressure

High household water pressure — generally above 80 p.s.i. — may trigger or exacerbate leakage. A qualified plumber can test your supply pressure. If it’s above limits, he’ll investigate causes such as a misadjusted pressure regulator, typically located at or near the meter.

Replace Washing Machine Hoses

Cold and hot water supply hoses that connect to your washing machine are usually rubber with a life of only about 5 years. A leaky or ruptured washing machine hose is a common cause of water damage. Don’t wait for them to fail. Replace rubber washing machine hoses with braided stainless steel lines that have long expected service life.

Soften the Water

If the local municipal water has naturally high mineral content, mineral deposits forming inside water supply pipes may cause pressure to increase as well as accelerate corrosion. Installation of a whole house water softener will extend the life of water pipes — as well as your water heater — preventing a common cause of corrosion and plumbing leaks.

Don’t Let Them Freeze

Insulate all exposed spans of plumbing you can access. Seal any external openings that allow frigid air to contact water supply lines. When temperatures drop into the danger zone — below 25 degrees — keep the household thermostat at 55 degrees or higher and open taps very slightly to allow water to dribble out as long as freezing temperatures persist.

The water damage specialists at Rytech, Inc. have more ideas to help you prevent plumbing leaks and avoid water damage.