Sunday, September 20, 2009

Simple Fix for Vibrating Washers

High-efficiency front loading washing machines are fantastic. They clean clothing very thoroughly, yet provide great savings in both energy and water. Yet there is a little known problem with front load washers that come to light sadly only after the owner has purchased and setup these machines in their home. LG, Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, etc... it doesn't matter what make/model, they're all susceptible to this problem. Due to the orientation and high rotational speed of these machines during spin cycle, they can react violently with the floor that they're placed on.

If you're experiencing such problems, before reading further, recommend that you check to ensure that you've removed ALL of the shipping bolts from the back of your machine. If you're not sure what shipping bolts are, or you're not sure that you've removed all of them, or you trusted that young kid installer from where you purchased the machine, or your hubby is so smart that he doesn't need to read user manuals, I think we may have found your problem.

OK, you've tried the reasonable tips in the video, and your washer is still vibrating. Front loading HE washing machines can also build up a resonant vibration at high spin cycles (think tuning fork vibration, it's very similar). These vibrations may be less pronounced on cement or solid tile floors, but can be very pronounced on some wooden floors, especially if installed in mobile homes or on an upper floor of a house (again think placing a tuning fork to wood). Indeed the vibrations can resonate throughout the house, with the machine visibly vibrating, again, just like a tuning fork.

But just as easily as a tuning fork can be dampened by lightly touching it, so can the resonant vibrations of these front loader machines. An extremely simple method of dampening these vibrations is illustrated in the following video. All you need is a $3 piece of swimming noodle foam. (Note: shipping costs bump these up to about $10 if you order online in the Fall/Winter. But if you check your local X-mart stores swimming toys section in the Spring/Summer, they usually only cost $3 in the store. UPDATE 2/26/2010: Just saw these today in Dollar Tree for a buck! All you need is one for the fix. Just cut it in half, one-half length for each side of the washer.).

The foam is cut and wedged high-up horizontally along the sides of the machine. The foam serves to dampen the resonant vibrations of the machine, again similar to touching the sides of a tuning fork. Although it seems too simple to work, it is very effective. If you decide to try it yourself, but do not have a nearby wall or dryer, think of moving other items nearby to provide the side support. This could be a cabinet or other piece of solid furniture. Good luck, and please leave a comment below on how this worked (or didn't) for your situation.

Here's a video with the washer in spin cycle.

And for those would like to see a "before/after" video, I say to them, sure...

As you're rushing out to fix your own vibration problems after seeing the above, remember to use a foam or other "spongy" material to dampen the vibrations. Don't recommend cardboard, rolled up towels, or other non-spongy materials. Stiffer materials may not effectively dampen the vibrations, and may actually transmit them through your walls.