An average washing machine uses 41 gallons of water per load. If you live in a household with four people, you will be doing an average of 2 loads a day, which means you’re cycling 82 gallons of water through your machine daily. That’s a lot of water and it all runs in and out of your house.
We’re happy to give you a few tips regarding maintenance of your laundry room to avoid unpleasant plumbing surprises
Your laundry room is different!
The plumbing setup in your laundry room is a little different from other rooms in your house.
Typically, laundry rooms have drains. In case you have to deal with a broken pipe or a leaking washing machine. These drains along with a few extra exposed hoses give you the opportunity to be creative with the plumbing in this room.
Keep an eye on your hoses
You will find a few different hoses attached to the back of your washing machine. Like any rubber part, these hoses can wear out after time. If your hoses are showing signs of wear such as cracks, begin looking for new ones. Make sure you look for a high quality hose, you may regret getting the cheapest one.
We at the Pipe Doctor recommend stainless steel braided hoses. Steel hoses do not break apart as typical rubber hoses do. They also can handle the strain of water pressure without breaking down as quickly as a rubber hose.
You will most commonly find laundry plumbing problems near the back of your machine where the supply line is. Make sure to check those supply lines regularly. Every year when daylight savings time rolls around, make a mental note to check your supply lines. In particular, look for cracks, leaks, blisters, and bubbles in the hose.
Also, examine the faucet and the washing machine carefully. You may just need to tighten a connection to avoid a fountain of unwanted water from flowing into the laundry room.
Check all of your washers when you check your hoses. The washer is a thin metal plate with the hole in the middle that goes between your hose and its connector. A metal washer will distribute the load of the fastener to which your hose is hooked. So if your hose is loose, the washer will make a rattling noise when your machine is going.
Take time to replace those washers since they can wear out over time and lead to leaks. They can also make some pretty obnoxious sounds if you do not care for them.
That special drain
The drain in your laundry room is a unique feature of laundry room plumbing. If your laundry room was built to be what it is, it will have a floor drain. While this floor drain is helpful for all laundry drainage purposes, you need to maintain it to prevent problems.
If it starts to smell like a sewer, flush your laundry drain. Gases in the pipes can back up over time and then seep into your laundry room. So instead of your room having that pleasant smell of fresh laundry, it ends up smelling like a public restroom.
Contact the Pipe Doctor for the best products to use for flushing. There are also very good natural solutions we can provide you with. Plan on flushing your drain once a month to keep sewer smells under control. Check if the machine feeds into a sink or directly into a drain. We can install a drain filter to catch debris that drains out with washing water.
Your drain can clog because of debris and lint in the washing water. A drain filter can catch those particles and hopefully prevent a backup of water. If flushing the drain does not fix your problem, you have other options. If the smell is coming directly from your washing machine, you can flush out your machine.
Strainers are fine
If your laundry room currently has strainers, you’re well on your way to preventing problems like clogged lines and backup water. However, you need to maintain those strainers as well. Strainers will collect lint, hair, and anything else that could accumulate and clog your plumbing system.
Put a note in your calendar once a moth to check your strainers. Make sure they’re still working, and if necessary, clean them out. This will protect your laundry room and give you peace of mind.
There will always be exposed pipes behind your washing machine and pipes in the wall to which your hoses feed as well. Ideally, you should secure your exposed pipes with rope or zip ties. This way, when your washing machine begins agitating, the pipes will not shake loose. Make sure all hoses are securely attached to the machine and the wall.
Why are there laundry sinks?
There are plenty of good reasons to install a laundry sink. Not only can you do some handwashing in it, but your washing machine may also drain to it. Just like everything else, check the laundry sink drain and sink itself for leaks or cracks regularly. Listen as you use it and run water. Strange noises could mean you need to check the metal washers on those connections as well.
If your laundry sink is clogged and you can’t solve the problem on your own, give the Pipe Doctor a call, we are here to help you out.
What to put where
When you build a new home make sure you have enough room in the laundry room. Your washing machine will not sit flush with the wall. Instead, pull the machine away from the wall so your supply lines have plenty of room. Make sure your supply lines are not kinked. If you keep your appliances an inch apart they will last you longer.
If you washing machine isn’t level it can also lead to damage and expensive repairs, so keep an eye on that.
Think of the environment
If you want to reduce your water bills and care about the world your children will have to live in, then look for a high-efficiency washing machine if you want to run less water in your lines. You will end up spending less money on water usage and on plumbing problems because your plumbing will last longer.
An average family does up to 10 loads of laundry a week. That means 16,800 gallons of water a year. Remember that clean water is still a privilege in this world that many people don’t even have access to. You sure don’t want to waste any more than you have to.
Often your local water company or electrical company will offer rebates when you purchase a high-efficiency machine. So while the machine itself may cost you money initially, it will save you money. Plus, your plumbing will last longer. Interesting fact: Small loads of laundry are actually harder on your plumbing than big loads. When you are washing a single pair of jeans with 40 gallons of water, you’re using your plumbing wastefully.
You might want to consider not washing clothes every day. If you’re a single person or even just a couple, consider having laundry day one day a week to keep your laundry plumbing from being overrun. This way you’ll have full loads and clean laundry once a week.
Keep the temperature down
Hot water takes energy and also wreaks havoc on plumbing. Laundry soap companies have developed laundry soap specifically for cold water washes, knowing that cool water will save energy and save your plumbing. If you have something to wash that isn’t heavily stained, to to keep it cool.
Just like you take your car in for regular maintenance to make sure you don’t get stuck on the side of the road, you should do the same thing with your laundry room. The Pipe Doctor’s Lifetime Diamond Membership is actually the ideal way to get your yearly plumbing inspection for free.
The trained eyes of our plumbers will find laundry room problems before they turn into huge disasters. While having a plumber come in just to maintain your plumbing might seem like an extravagant cost, catching a problem early will save you money and the pain of remodeling from a disastrous leak. The Pipe Doctor will give you recommendations that you need. In addition to having a plumber come in regularly to inspect your lines and ensure everything is working as it should, you can also install a flood alarm. Flood alarms come at all sizes and prices. You can purchase a simple water-sensor for as little as $12.
The simplest alarms consist of a sensor that you put on the floor or in a place where you’d expect water to show up first. When water touches the sensor, the alarm blasts a high-pitched squeal until either the battery dies or the sensor is dry again. More modern versions connect to your phone and will notify you if something is wrong, which may be very convenient for those who have a summer home on the Cape.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions: