Washer and Dryer Maintenance: Protecting Your Home From Water and Fire Damage

Washing machine drum interiorA burst washing machine hose can spill hundreds of gallons of water in your home in just an hour. Dryers with excessive lint build-up can burst into flame and cause a fire in the home. Property damage from ill-maintained washers and dryers can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. These kinds of emergencies can be easily avoided by taking care of the washer and dryer throughout their lives. These maintenance tips will illustrate how to take care of your home through proper washing machine and dryer maintenance.

Upgrade Old Parts

The hoses of older washing machines are often made of rubber that can burst much easier than newer hoses. Replacing these old hoses with steel-jacketed ones will prevent their splitting open and spewing water into the home. Older dryers also come standard with vinyl ducts that are flimsy and flammable. It’s no wonder they are so prone to fire. Regularly cleaning the lint trap is not enough to prevent dryer fires as lint can also become trapped in the ducts; replace those vinyl ducts with non-flammable metal ones.

Clean Filter Screens

Filters are built into washing machines to catch debris and sediment as it washes off of your clothes. If this screen becomes too backed up with sediment, water cannot flow properly into it. Clean the filter screen with a bristle brush to keep water flowing quickly.

Add a Drip Pan

By placing a drip pan underneath the washing machine, any potential leaks are caught in the pan and fed into a floor drain. This not only prevents your home from water damage, but it also provides a convenient way to check for leaks. After washing a load, check the pan for any excess water that is flowing from the machine. In this way, you can catch leaks while they are still small and call for some home appliance repair.

Turn Off Water If Not In Use

If you are planning on going on a long vacation or do not plan to do laundry for an extended period, turn off the water flow to the washer. This relieves the constant water pressure felt by the washer that can create leaks or cause them to become worse. Going out of town means you won’t be able to detect the leak until it’s too late and water has already flowed out and damaged the home.

Use Gently

Overloading a washer or dryer makes it run inefficiently as it works extra hard to accommodate the load. Break up larger loads into several smaller loads to prolong the life of your washer and dryer. You should also leave the lid of the washer open if it is not in use to let the drum dry out. Odors can sometimes arise from a continually wet and mildewy drum. If the washer is a front-loader and the door cannot be left open, towel dry the drum and rubber gasket after each load is removed.

Treating your washer and dryer gently can go a long way to elongating their lifetimes. Regularly check for leaks and for hose brittleness. Old hoses need to be replaced and not ignored to prevent a burst or split hose. It is much better to spend the money now to take care of the washer and dryer than to spend thousands of dollars later to repair damage to your home. Water and fire damage are expensive problems to have; steps should be taken when possible to limit the possibility of their occurrence. Keep your family and your home safe and sound by keeping regular washer and dryer maintenance a priority.