8 Strategies To Extend The Longevity Of Your Washing Machine

As you consider who to call to fix your washing machine, also consider some ways you can help prevent breakdowns in the future. You can extend the life of your washing machine with certain strategies, whether you have a top loader or a front loader. This should allow you to avoid having to buy a new one for many years to come. 

Do Fewer Loads

As with other mechanical equipment, a washing machine can be expected to run a certain number of times before it starts developing problems or breaks down. You may like to run small loads when you don't have a lot of laundry to do, but every cycle you run takes its toll on the machine. It's best to wait until you have a full load.

Avoid Overloading

The flip side of the coin is not to stuff the machine full. That puts stress on the motor and many other parts. If you can't wash a comforter without it filling the entire tub, bring the comforter to a laundry facility instead. 

Not stuffing the machine has the added advantage of getting the fabric cleaner. Washers are more effective when they aren't filled beyond normal capacity. 

Avoid Washing Heavy Items

Heavy sleeping bags, rugs and quilts also should be brought to a laundry facility so they don't put additional wear and tear on your own washing machine. 

Keep It Level

The more the machine vibrates, the faster the parts wear out. Washing machines have little feet on the bottom that can be raised or lowered to make the appliance level. Anti-vibration pads also are available at stores that sell home improvement items. A level tool lets you know the machine is set on the floor properly.

If the washer vibrates because the floor is a bit uneven, placing a sturdy plywood platform under the machine should solve the issue. 

Stop Off-Balance Loads

Some washing machines automatically turn off when the basket becomes unbalanced during the spin cycle, but others continue to run. If yours doesn't turn off automatically in this situation, only run the machine when you're home. You need to stop the washer if the load becomes unbalanced, as the knocking and thumping can cause damage and even break parts. 

You can prevent off-balance incidents by not washing small loads or items that have noticeably different weights. A small load of socks, for instance, may wind up almost entirely in one area of the basket. Washing lightweight shorts with heavy sweatpants also can lead to an off-balance episode. 

Shut Off Water When Not in Use

If your washing machine is set up so you can easily shut off the water supply after running the day's loads, do so. Many systems have lever valves within easy reach. If the water is not turned off, it's always putting pressure on the hose to the machine, increasing the risk of the hose developing a leak or bursting. 

Let the Machine Have Some Air

Unless you have a specific reason to keep the lid or door closed, leave it open when you're not using the machine. That allows the basket to dry and prevents mildew from developing. 

Call a Plumber for Repair

Some people try to fix their appliances themselves, but it's best to hire a professional. Plumbers have the expertise and the precise tools and parts for this type of work, so there won't be any future issues due to amateur attempts at repair.

Plumbers also can take a look at the entire washing system, including the plumbing going to and from the machine, to determine whether any improvements are advisable. For example, a plumber can show you if the hose to the sewer line has deteriorated enough so it should be replaced to prevent leaks.