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Getting the Laundry Done Is Challenge Enough, What About Machine Care?
How are your washer and dryer doing? Do you perform routine maintenance on them and check for potential problems? At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain we’re available 24 hours for emergency plumbing repair visits but we’re big fans of preventive care for your plumbing and appliances. Typically, our washer and dryer pairs are lucky if we clean their filters from time to time. Why not go a bit further to make life easier for them and keep them serving us well?
Protecting an Increasingly Valuable Investment
Washers and dryers have, in the past, been basic machinery that sometimes lasts for decades with minimal care. Modern versions can cost thousands of dollars and are full of high-tech electronics, making their basic upkeep even more important. Whether you’ve got the basic rotate and wash, tumble and dry appliance set or you’re getting updates on your smartphone from your computerized appliances, these tips will make a big difference. You’ll keep these workhorses on the job and avoid machine or plumbing repairs.
Your dryer lint filter is your top priority because an accumulation of flammable lint combined with dryer heat is a fire risk. It’s also important to remove lint regularly to allow air to flow so that moisture is carried away from your clothing. Your washing machine likely has a lint filter as well, and we do recommend a filter in your drain line to keep material from flowing down the drain and possibly creating a clog.
Fibers from your clothes, paper fragments from items left in pockets, and pet hair all get dislodged during the wash and dry cycle. It’s better to collect them and put them in the trash than send them down your drain and eventually requiring plumbing repairs.
Hose Checking and Cleaning
Your hot- and cold-water supply hoses have been under water pressure for years, and since they’re often made of rubber they can present a risk of leaks as the rubber ages. It’s important to check them periodically and see if there are cracks or bulges. If you are concerned, or when you replace your washing machine, consider installing stainless steel mesh hoses that are much more durable. If you’ve installed a filter on your drain hose, make sure it gets cleaned and, of course, make sure that the drain hose hasn’t accidentally been pulled out of the wall, ready to jet gallons onto the floor.
Motors and Belts
You can use the sounds that the machine makes to help determine the status of the motors and belts used to move the tub or drum in the machine. If you hear loud noises, something is probably on the verge of failure. You might hear a loud bang between cycles, squeals from loose or slippery belts, and rumbles that could be the result of an unbalanced load or a sign of mechanical wear problems.
Washers draw a lot of current during certain parts of their cycles, and it’s important that your electrical circuit is prepared to handle it. Make sure that no high-powered devices are sharing the power, such as an electric heater plugged into the same outlet. If the breaker doesn’t shut off power from the surge, the wires will likely experience a rise in temperature that, over time, could cause harm.
Water Supply, Washing Machine Drain, Floor Drains
Make sure that your hot and cold-water valves are properly set to provide fast filling during your washing machine’s cycles. Check the drain for visible clogs and clean the filter, if you have installed one, to avoid sudden plumbing repair calls and drain cleaning. Check your basement floor drains, if your laundry equipment is located there, to make sure that any leaks have an escape route. If you experience backups on your floor drains, washer drain, or basement sink drains, that’s an urgent plumbing repair situation which could be a sewer line issue.
You can avoid many plumbing repairs jobs by ensuring that your automatic appliances that use water have correctly functioning intake valves that don’t spike the water pressure when they close. Rather than risk plumbing repairs and equipment problems from pressure spikes, ask us to install water hammer prevention devices to handle the sudden change, which you can usually hear as a brief hissing sound followed by a loud “bang.”
Loading and Sudsing
To lower your water bill, use the economy settings on your washer and load clothes to be washed so that they constitute a full load. Packing in too tightly, though, prevents proper cleaning of the clothes. On modern HE eco-washers, the high-efficiency cycle requires low-sudsing detergent that will also help reduce the amount of scum in the drainpipe and eventual drain cleaning plumbing repairs.
Washers are designed to handle loads that shift as the cycle proceeds, but heavier items, especially as they absorb water, can create a significant imbalance that puts a strain on the mechanism. You can plan ahead to avoid this by distributing thicker and more absorbent items like towels so that they don’t start the cycle close together. If the machine senses a significant imbalance, it will either stop completely if it’s a top-loaded model and wait for you to redistribute the load or on front-loading models will slow the rotation of the tub during spins until it shakes less violently.
New Appliance Installation, and Plumbing Repair Work
Proper maintenance of faucets and drains keeps your plumbing and appliances running well throughout your home. When it’s time to retire your hard-working washing machine, call us to make sure the new one is connected properly and the water and drain connections are still in good shape. If you’ve been finding that you can’t take a hot shower while the wash is running, we can help with that too, since there are several possible causes to diagnose. We’re your plumbing repair, upgrade, and installation experts. Call us at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain.