Why Your Washer Moves Across the Floor

Fleet Appliance
July 20, 2020
Washer Repair

When a washing machine whirs and agitates the clothes, it creates vibration. That vibration can be strong enough to shake and even move your washing machine across the floor. There are several conditions that can cause a washing machine to wiggle as it agitates, which causes the feet to “walk” across the floor. You may have noticed that your washing machine is always out of place, further forward or back than it should be. You may notice your washing machine skewed at an angle, or constantly knocking up against the wall or the dryer. Washing machines walk the world round, though some designs are more prone to walking than others. The key is a balanced centrifugal force and level feet.

When you can accomplish both, your washer will stop walking. There are also several methods you can use to reduce the amount of walking a slightly off-balance washer. 

Level Your Washer Legs

The most fixable issue with walking is the unit not being level. Consider the amount of force going on inside the washer. It needs a stable base to contain the spinning motion. If the feet are not level or if the floor is uneven, then the washer will wobble. When a washer wobbles, it tends to walk. Walking is the simple result of centrifugal force that is unevenly distributed.

Uneven legs can cause the feet to ‘skitter’ and pull the machine across the floor.  The wobble itself can lurch the machine forward as it tips the internal weight in a specific direction.

Measure if your washer is even using a bubble-level. Test both the top and bottom surfaces.

Fix the washer’s legs in one of two ways. If the legs or feet are damaged, order replacements that suit your make and model. If the feet are just un-level, twist until they are the correct height for each corner of the washer to make the whole appliance level. 

Keep Your Washer Loads Balanced

You can also help by balancing the loads put into the washer. Remember that anything that goes in will be drenched in water and spun around. In terms of physics, and pushing your washer around, an unbalanced laundry load packs a serious punch. Especially if you pack something heavy into only one side of the drum. Consider the impact of two pairs of jeans, much less a blanket balanced unloaded.

The answer is easy. Distribute your washer loads when you load them. Drop clothes in a circle into a top-loading washer and loosely wrap towels in a semi-circle to distribute. Pay special attention to bedding and other large or bulky items that will tend toward unbalanced loads if not managed. 

Make Sure the Floor is Dry

Skidding is also much more likely if your laundry room floor is wet. There are three common ways this can happen. Your washer can spring a leak, your washer’s drain can back up, and your dryer might be exhaust-venting into the room.

If the problem is the drain, some DIY plumbing skills are needed or hire a plumber. If the washer is leaking, investigate the water lines or call for appliance repair.

If the dryer is exhausting into the room, the air humidity will be very high. Moisture from the wet clothes disperses into the air and can re-condense on the floor. It should be flowing through a vent that leads outside. Therefore the correct solution for a wet floor caused by dryer exhaust is to build a correct vent and exhaust duct. 

Add No-Slip Food Pads

When or if the floor is dry, you can prevent walking with foot pads. When the feet walk across the floor of the washer on a dry floor, it’s often because they don’t have a firm grip on the floor to hold still. Vibrations of the washer then cause It to walk or skitter across the floor. With better traction, each foot would hold on and resist a certain amount of force while keeping the washer in place.

Washer feet do not naturally have much traction and the surface can wear down against the floor over time. By applying an adhesive traction, you can significantly increase the stability of your washer.

Start by cleaning the washer feet, as they are often filthy and unable to hold adhesive. Give them a quick scrub before peeling and applying the adhesive on your no-slip footpads. 

Apply Vibration Pads to the Sides

When your washer walks, stopping the movement across the floor may only be part of the problem. Walking is caused by vibration. You can level the feet, you can balance the drum, and you can check on the motor. But if your washer just shakes when functioning normally, one of the best solutions can be vibration padding.

You can buy larger adhesive pads that stick to the side of the washer and you can cut pads to shape specifically where your washer rattles against other surfaces. You can also drape things over your washer to provide some insulation and vibration control. A blanket, quilt, or even a large towel can make a real difference. Some small amount of adhesive tape can help your insulating material stay in place. 

Is Your Washer Walking?

If you think your washer is moving, pay close attention to where it is when you start. Take the effort to position it away from the walls and other appliances. Apply padding with adhesive and take note of the space.

Start the washer and keep an ear out. Does it rattle, thump, or eventually start to tap against another surface? When the washer is done, take note of the location to confirm whether it is walking.

With these techniques, you will be able to both know why your washer is walking and help reduce the problems that cause walking. By controlling the vibration of your washing machine and ensuring the feet are flat on the ground, you can keep your washer in place when it runs. If you’d like a professional to take a look at your washer or enact hard-to-reach repairs to improve the problem, contact us today. 


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