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What are the Main Causes of an Unbalanced Washing Machine Load?

Top-loading washerAll appliances, especially washers and dryers, require regular maintenance to keep the machines working their best over the lives of the units. However, home appliances do break down from time to time, and the thoroughness of preventative maintenance plays a significant role in the longevity of these wonders of electromechanical technology.

A clothes washer is the most “mechanical” of all the appliances in the home. That said, they also perform an essential function in the normal flow of things to keep the home operating smoothly. From a homeowner’s perspective, going without a washer for only a day typically upsets the daily routine of washing clothes, and going to a laundromat is out of the question.

Let’s go over in detail about a problem that plagues every homeowner at one time or another. That problem is not knowing what to do when the washing machine goes off balance. There are several reasons behind the causes of that familiar loud and disturbing banging sound when the washer begins its spin cycle. The most common causes are listed below:

• If a top load washer’s tub begins to bang against the sides of the washer when the spin cycle begins (before reaching top speed), this indicates a likely unbalanced load. Just pause the cycle and arrange the clothes in the basket and try again. However, if no amount of rearranging corrects the problem, there is a high probability that a mechanical issue exists. Most newer top load washers (less than eight years old, for example) use suspension rods to support the weight of the tub, basket, and gearcase (transmission). At the end of each rod is a spring designed to support the weight of a typical wet wash load. The springs and rods help limit the amount of side-to-side and front-to-back movement during the spin cycle. When the springs begin to weaken from use, the tendency for the tub and basket assembly to overcome the limits of springs dramatically increases, and the assembly bangs against the sides of the washer, thus creating the loud and disturbing noise. The type of repair to correct this issue is complicated and requires a professional well-versed in washing machine repair.

• A similar issue occurs in front load washers as well. However, the reasons vary from those of a top load washer. A front load washer is much heavier and larger than its top load counterpart. An out-of-balance condition can result from an unlevel machine, or a worn out tub bearing that allows radial play in the wash basket shaft which causes the entire tub and basket assembly to spin wildly out of control. If a worn out tub bearing is the cause, this is a significant repair that requires a rebuild of the tub and basket assembly. Many times a fix of this magnitude and cost results in a total replacement of the machine.

• A front load washer uses dampers (shock absorbers) and tub hangers (heavy springs) to help limit the upward and downward travel of the tub and basket assembly during the spin cycle. These dampers wear out, and just like weak springs in the top load washer, the tub and basket assembly can produce the banging noise. Once again, this is an involved and highly technical repair that requires the skill and knowledge of a skilled technician.

The most common causes of an unbalanced load in both top load and front load washers highlight the importance of using only skilled and proficient washing machine repair technicians experienced with the specific model considered for repair.

The experienced repair technicians at Dave’s Appliance Repair can get your unbalanced washing machine up and spinning. Call (262) 253-2200 today for an estimate.

Ask us about our repair specials. Senior Discount: Seniors ALWAYS receive $13 off any repair service.

Photo by HomeSpot HQ from Flickr using Creative Commons license.

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