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Leak under floorboards when washing machine is on (not coming from machine!)


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  • Leak under floorboards when washing machine is on (not coming from machine!)

    Hi everyone,

    I live in an apartment building, and I have a combined washer / dryer in a small closer (provided by the property managers). I've never had a problem until the last few days....

    When the washing machine runs on any type of cycle, with any volume of water, water appears under the machine and seems to seep under the nearby floorboards, and I can hear it when I step around. (The floor of the closet is tile, but there are fake wooden floor planks only inches away.)

    It takes about 10 hours for the water under the floorboards to dry completely.

    I ran the machine on an extra-small cycle today and watched exactly what happens. To my surprise, the water DOES NOT COME FROM THE MACHINE (at least not directly). With my own eyes, I saw the water come out from under the floorboards and then go under the machine!!

    It seems to happen exactly once in the cycle, towards the end (during final rinse / spin / drain).

    QUESTIONS (any answers or input or comments appreciated):

    -I'm thinking there might be a leak in a drain pipe in the wall near the closet?
    -Why does it only happen so late in the cycle?
    -I don't feel any water on the walls anywhere or on the baseboards...just under the floor planks, seeping into the closet where the machine this consistent with a leak of a pipe in a wall?
    -The amount of water is not nearly as much as what was in the machine...thoughts? Could something in the wall or in the floor be "overflowing" instead of leaking? (Grasping at straws here....)
    -Will this weaken the floor / seep into apartment below / cause some sort of electrical mishap (circuit breaker is on nearby wall) / other really bad thing?
    -Will this be a monstrous job to fix, i.e. tearing wall open?

    Like I said, any advice appreciated.....

  • #2
    It may be possible drain water is overflowing the drain pipe. That could be due to suds in the drain water (possibly from using too much detergent or if a front loading washer model, not using an HE or low sudsing detergent) or the drain draining too slowly. The latter could be caused by a partly obstructed drain line or a problem with the plumbing vent. In either of the latter cases you should probably have the landlord look into it.


    Dan O.
    The Appliance Information Site




    • #3
      It sounds like you may indeed have a leak in a drain pipe near the closet, especially if the water is only appearing late in the washing machine cycle. These suggestions might address your concerns:
      1. The timing may be related to the water flow during the washing machine cycle, which could be putting pressure on the drain pipe and causing the leak to occur.
      2. If you're not feeling any water on the walls or baseboards but it's seeping under the floor planks, it's possible that the leak is coming from a pipe within the wall. This could explain why you're not seeing water on the surface.
      3. The amount of water is not as much as what was in the machine suggesting that the leak may be more of a slow drip rather than a gush. Something within the wall or floor may be indeed "overflowing" due to the leak.

      These suggestions could help address your issues if you investigate further.‚Äč