Jeff Flowers on March 11, 2015 21 Comments Most of us aren’t experienced repair technicians, especially when it comes to various laundry-related appliances. As such, the odds are great that most of us won’t know when our washing machine needs to be repaired, or simply needs to be replaced completely. Learn how to spot six warning signs of an impending breakdown so you can start saving for a new washer rather than wasting your money on useless repairs. 1. Excessive Leaking A leaking washing machine is usually the most obvious sign that your washing machine has a problem. Typically, this problem is the result of overflowing or a loose connection. If you have an older machine, it probably uses the same amount of water for every size load. You can take steps to minimize leaking by determining how large of a load you can fit in your washer and still have room for turning, spinning and shaking. If the above method isn’t effective, your problem may be that the water hose located in the back of your washer has suffered from years of wear and tear and has come loose. Your water hose might also have come loose from excessive vibrating or movement. While you’re saving up for a new washer, see if a pipe tightening or replacement hose can take care of the problem for you. If not, you would need to call a technician to determine that the true cause of the leak is a cracked tub, you’ll need to buy a new washing machine as soon as you can. 2. Excessive Noise If it sounds like your washer is about to take flight whenever you’re using it, it’s probably just unbalanced. Typically, this is an easy fix and not necessary for you to call out a technician. However, before you shrug it off as a simple defect, it’s still a sign that something is wrong and you should take action before it leads to something worse. One temporary fix to stop the excessive noise, is stopping the wash cycle and rearranging your clothes so that they’re more evenly distributed. This will only work with top-loading washers, however. For a more permanent fix, try repositioning your washer so that all four of its feet are on a level surface. You can do this by building or buying a platform for it to sit on, assuming your laundry room has enough space available. Or, check to see if your washing machine has adjustable levels on its feet. Many units do, and they are easy to adjust to help you make the unit balanced. If neither of those options are effective, your motor mount or drum may need to be tightened. Call up a service technician to see whether it can be fixed, and how much it would cost to do so. Depending on the cost of the repair, you’ll have a better assessment of whether you need to start looking for a new washer. 3. It Moves Your washer should remain in place while cleaning, rinsing and spinning your clothes. Whenever it sways from side to side so hard that it looks as though it’s walking—or actually is walking—you need to plan on getting a replacement sometime in the near future. There are a few things you can do to try to fix this problem. Much like when your washer is making lots of noise, be sure to check if all of its feet are level. This may be all it takes to stop it from moving excessively. Also, keep in mind, even though a walking washer might still work like a stationary washer, it’s definitely a sign of a problem, which may lead to even bigger issues. For example, there’s a good chance your “walking” washer will start sloshing water outside the unit, which may not only ruing your floors, but can lead to the development of mildew and mold. Another common danger of a walking washer is that it’s just a matter of time that it will pull itself free of its connections. 4. Water Doesn’t Fill the Drum If the drum of your washer isn’t filling up, there may be a delayed cycle selection, kink in your hose or a problem with your hot and cold water faucets. If you check all three and none are the culprit, there might be some sort of complication with your water intake valve or filter that needs to be looked at by a professional. Another problem you can have with your drum is that it fills with water but doesn’t turn like it should. Take a look at the lid switch and belts to ensure they’re working as they should be. Belts are rather easy to replace, but a malfunctioning lid switch takes more work. Depending on how old your washer is and how much the replacement costs, you may be better off getting an entirely new washer. 5. Your Washer Is Older Than Eight Years Old Even though newer washers can last up to 11 years, it’s usually in your best interest to start looking for a newer model when you’ve had your current washer for eight years. The closer your washer gets to the end of its life-expectancy the more expensive repairs can start to become, not to mention the frequency in which problems arise. After a while it just makes more sense for you to spend all of that money on a newer washing machine that’s more energy and water efficient than the one you have now. Any extra money you spend on a more efficient model can be saved on energy bills, and that’s especially true of your household does a lot of laundry. 6. You Have an Older Top Load Washer If you have a top loading washer, the cost of your repairs can be much more expensive than those needed for a front loading washer. The reason for this is that the parts needed for top loading washers are simply more expensive than front loading washers. It’s not unusual to hear of repairs for top loading machines that are half the cost of a brand new washer. On a related note, you might want to consider a front loading machine while shopping for a new washer. Front loading machines are popular because they don’t use as much water as their top loading counterparts. Rather than focusing on the price of a new machine, focus on the overall efficiently and how much you can save in the long run. If lack-of-space is a problem, you should consider buying a washer dryer combo unit. These handy all-in-one machines not only wash your clothes, but also dry them before the cycle is complete. These units are becoming increasingly popular in recent years, especially for apartments, tiny homes and any household that lacks the necessary laundry connections. The Best Time to Buy a New Washer Now that you know more about the warning signs of needing a new washer, it’s time to learn about the best time to buy that new washer. Buying online is going to be your best bet at finding year-round deals. In order to compete with the big-box stores within your community, it’s not uncommon for websites to offer much cheaper prices. In fact, many of these websites even offer deep discounts around holidays, as well as exclusive coupons for their email subscribers. If you want to buy a washer in a big-box store, it’s best to wait until September and October. These are the two months where appliance manufacturers usually reveal their new models, which means their older models are likely to be on sale to help move them out and make room for the newest models. No matter which direction you go, holiday weekends are some of the best times buy a new washing machine. Just be sure to do the proper research and compare different types, brands and models. If you take the time to do the research, you stand a much better chance of getting the best deal, and even better smelling clothes. Bottom Line: By looking for the signs listed above, you will have plenty of warning to start saving up and looking for a new machine. If you have any qualms about whether you need a new washing machine or not, call in a professional technician to give you a better idea of how many years your washer has left before it ascends to that great laundry room in the sky. When it comes to shopping for a new washer, give yourself plenty of time and do your research. Instead of putting yourself at the mercy of a high-pressure salesperson out to make a commission, look at buying online. You’re likely to find year-round deals that will save you tons of cash in the long-run without even leaving your home.