Washing machines are one of the most common sources of water damage in the home, and the damage can be costly. After paying the deductible, the national average claim for water damage caused by washing machines is over $5,000.
Since each washing machine has multiple ways of causing water damage, many homeowners do not fully understand the risks, prevention options, or cleanup options. Knowing just a little about how your washing machine can cause water damage can help you save thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches.
Supply Hose Leaks Cause Most Washing Machine Water Damage
More than 50% of all washing machine water damage claims can be traced back to a supply hose failure. This can be caused by:
- Pinching the hose while installing or replacing a washing machine, causing a hairline break
- A poor connection to either the washing machine or wall
- The hose’s own aging, which can lead to brittleness
Washing machine intake hoses are high-flow lines and can output over 600 gallons of water in an hour.
If your washing machine’s supply hose is more than 5 years old or isn’t steel braided, replace them as soon as possible. It may sound a little excessive until you realize that a new pair of hoses can cost under $30 and can easily be installed without a plumber.
You may also want to consider high-durability washing machine supply hoses from Floodchek.
The good news is that intake line water damage is category 1, which means it contains relatively few biological contaminants.
Washing Machine Drainage Issues Can Cause Flooding
If your sewer backs up, if there’s a clog in the drainage pipe, or if your drain pipe simply isn’t lined up right, your washing machine’s drainage system is going to cause at least some water damage.
The most crucial issue is to avoid a sewer line clog. If your sewer backs up, you could be faced with category 3 water damage, which is filled with contaminants that can pose serious health risks. Be extremely careful when running your washing machine if your home’s sewer line has a history of backing up, or if you’ve recently experienced a storm.
Internal Leaks are Also a Common Cause of Washing Machine Water Damage
A washing machine doesn’t have to be old, poorly installed, or poorly built to cause internal leakage. Simply overloading your washing machine on a regular basis can be all it takes to cause cracks and loosen valves, bushings, and gaskets. It may take a little more time and water to run more, smaller loads, but it’s worth it to keep your washing machine from shaking itself apart.
Washing machine internal leaks are considered category 2 water damage, since exposure to water that contacts detergent and machine parts could cause health complications.
When Does Your Washing Machine Leak?
If the leak is constant, you almost certainly have a supply hose issue. If the leak happens during the wash cycle but before the spin cycle, it’s most likely an internal leak. If you see water on the floor during the spin cycle, or immediately after the machine shuts off, then it’s most likely a drainage issue.
Preventing Water Damage from your Washing Machine
The most effective ways of preventing damage from your washing machine are to:
- Replace the washing machine intake hose every 5 years
- Check your sewer line after a storm, before running your washing machine
- Don’t overload your washing machine
- Have your machine professionally installed to avoid water line pinches and drainage issues
- Shut off the intake valve behind your machine at the first sign of trouble
- If you can’t access the intake valve, know how to shut off your home’s water main
Is Washing Machine Water Damage Covered by Insurance?
The good news is that your average homeowner’s insurance policy will absolutely cover water damage caused by your washing machine. The bad news is that the damage to your appliance will most likely not be covered, which is why it’s best to purchase a washing machine from a manufacturer with a long parts and labor warranty. While shopping around, keep in mind that almost 80% of all washing machine related water damage claims involved units less than 11 years old.