Your washing machine is an essential part of your home. For many households, it is the constantly running cornerstone of the chore roster. But with the washer running non-stop, shaking and vibrating can cause a real disruption. A shaking washer can make a serious racket, not to mention that it’s bad for the machinery itself. A shaking washer may rattle, vibrate, or thump periodically. Your washer might shake all the time or only during specific points in the washing cycle. You may even be worried that the shaking is the result or cause of damage to your washing machine.Fortunately, washer shaking is a problem you can solve. There are a number of easy DIY solutions to a rattling washing machine and a few expert repairs that might do the trick. Let’s get started with the things that you can fix at home and then explore more complex solutions.
1) Level the Feet
The first and most common cause of a vibrating washer is a machine that is not level. Appliances, especially those with water and moving parts, rely on a level floor and level feet in order to function properly. If your washer is not level, it is also not stable when the drum starts to spin. This instability as the drum spins can result in shaking, banging, and vibrating.There are two easy ways to identify if your washer is not level. Start by grabbing your washer at the top and shoving it. If the washer wobbles when you push, then the feet and/or floor isn’t level. You can also use a manual bubble-level which detects if any surface is flat. Place the bubble level first at the front of the washer top, then on top of the control panel. If either reading is non-level, then you’ll need to adjust the feet.Adjusting washer feet is the way to make the machine level. Most washing machines have adjustable front-feet and self-adjusting back feet. Use a prybar and a piece of wood to lift up the front of your washer. Then extend or retract the front feet until the front is level. If the back feet are self-leveling, tap them with a wrench to help them adjust. If they are not self-leveling, then manually level the back feet as well. Don’t forget to tighten the locking nut to hold the washer in place on its feet.
2) Balance the Load
Load balance can also play a part in washing machine vibration. Load balance is especially important for top-loading washers but even front-loading washers need a relatively balanced load to spin evenly. When the fabric in the washer drum is unbalanced, the drum will wobble when it spins. This wobble applies an uneven centrifugal force which can shake the entire washer. And if the whole washer doesn’t shake, the drum might start bumping the inside of the frame.For a top-loading washer, you must make sure that the fabric of about the same weight is distributed all the way around the center column. For example, lay towels in a circle so that there is never more towel-material on one side than another. If you are washing only one or two items, add a few towels or shirts to even out the load.For a front-loading washer, evening the load is your best bet. Don’t wash just one heavy-fabric item, which will rise and fall alone inside the drum. A more complete load is best. Wash several items of similar weight with each load. And, of course, try to avoid overfilling your washer.
3) Pad the Sides
Sometimes, your washer will vibrate and there’s nothing particularly wrong. Washers do tend to wiggle a small amount when the drum spins, especially during high-speed spin cycles. This can be considered normal, but it can also be unpleasantly noisy or shake nearby objects. For this reason, many people choose to apply pads or padding to the sides of their washing machines in order to reduce the sound and effect of washer vibrations.There are special anti-vibration pads designed for washing machines and other similar appliances that can be applied in a small variety of ways. There are specific pads that go under the feet, for example, that are often called anti-walking pads because they prevent a vibrating washing machine from wiggling out of place. Rectangular stick-on pads can also be applied to the sides of your washing machine. These pads, like acoustic panels, reduce the amount that your washing machine vibrates and cushions any shaking it might cause to other nearby objects, walls, or appliances.
4) Remove Shipping Bolts
One surprising cause of a shaking washing machine is the shipping bolts. Shipping bolts are a type of clunky plastic bolt that is put in to prevent the drum from wobbling inside the washer during shipping and installation. These bolts protect the drum and the internal components when the washer is not in use. But they are supposed to be removed after installation, before the first use of the washer. Someone may have forgotten to remove the shipping bolts from your washer.You can tell if the shipping bolts are there in two ways. The first is to reach inside your washer and press on the inside of the drum. If the drum wobbles, that’s because it is balanced to spin and free to move. If the drum does not wobble, the shipping bolts are likely still holding it in place, which can cause the whole washer to shake instead of just the drum inside. You can also tell by flipping your washer on it’s back or side to look at the underside. If you see brightly colored and/or clunky plastic bolts in the bottom, pry them out. Those are just for shipping and your washer will shake less without them. You can often twist or pry them out by hand. But don’t be afraid to use pliers or a prying tool if necessary.
5) Replace the Shock Absorbers
Finally, the last reason why your washer might be shaking is the shock absorbers. Every washer has two to four shock absorbers and, like in your car, they reduce the amount of movement that is transferred to the assembly. Shock absorbers allow the drum to spin and shake without shaking the rest of the washer. If nothing else works in resolving your shaking washer problem, your shock absorbers may be broken and in need of replacement.
If your shock absorbers are out, this is not an easy DIY repair, as it involves delving into the housing and inner workings of your washer. Contact us today for a detailed shock absorber guide or an in-home consultation and repair of your shaking washer.