Are you beginning to notice excessive vibrations along with noticeable deterioration in your washing machine’s performance?
Maybe you have already done some research and somehow you’ve figured out that your washing machine’s drum is unbalanced.
The question still remains “How to balance a washing machine drum?”.
In this in-depth post you will learn:
- Identifying the symptoms of an unbalanced drum.
- Causes of the unbalanced washing machine drum.
- Measures to fix the unbalanced drum.
- Commonly Asked Questions.
- And More…
Let’s dive right into it.
Symptoms of unbalanced drum
Though unbalanced drums can have a variety of causes, there are some common symptoms to watch out for.
Some of these include:
Drum Gets Unbalanced in the Spin Cycle
One of the most common symptoms of an unbalanced washing machine tub is that it will only become unstable during a wash cycle and it won’t have any symptoms when it performs other activities like self-cleaning OR drying.
This usually happens when the bearings have worn out OR there is something wrong with the agitator OR drum itself.
Wet Clothes after the final wash cycle
If you notice that your clothes come out soaking wet or dripping with water after the final spin cycle, this could be a sign that the balance of your washing machine is off.
This can happen if there are too many clothes packed in the drum or if the balance is off due to a loose drum OR faulty bearings.
If your washing machine drum is visibly shaking or vibrating excessively, this could be another sign that the balance of your washer has been thrown off.
Not only is this a sign that something is wrong with your machine, but it can also be dangerous as it can cause damage to the washer and potentially even to the floor or walls around it.
Furthermore, if excessive vibration is not addressed on time, it can cause damage to the delicate internal components too, thereby increasing the repairing cost.
Long Wash Cycles
If you notice that the wash cycles are getting longer and taking more time to complete, this can be another sign that your washing machine drum is unbalanced.
This can occur if the balance is thrown off due to a loose drum, worn-out bearings, or faulty agitator.
The washing machine prolongs the washing cycle as it tries to self-balance the laundry load inside the washer.
Washer Pauses Intermittently
As the washer tries to self-balance the load, at times it may pause intermittently. This usually happens when the washer tries to self-correct.
If your washing machine pauses intermittently almost every time during a wash cycle, this can be a clear indication that the drum may be unbalanced.
Having said that, if the washer has paused only once and does pause after that incident, then you don’t need to take any action.
If your washing machine makes a loud thumping sound when it spins, this could be a sign of an unbalanced drum.
Another common symptom of an unbalanced washing machine is that it will make a loud grinding noise when it’s trying to spin.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to address the balance issue right away, as leaving it unchecked can lead to further damage and increase the repair costs.
Causes of unbalanced washer
There can be a number of possible causes for an unbalanced washing machine tub.
Some of the most common include…
Uneven Distribution of Laundry Loads
The very first cause and the most common reason for an unbalanced washing machine is the uneven distribution of laundry loads.
A lot of time what happens is, that we simply add the laundry load to our washer and directly hit the wash cycle.
While this sounds like a normal thing, what actually happens is that all the clothes are stacked upon one another in an uneven manner.
This causes the laundry load to become unbalanced and as a result, your washing machine begins to vibrate and shake.
Overloading the washer
This is again related to the uneven distribution of laundry loads.
If you add too many clothes to the washer, it may become difficult for the washer’s balance system to balance the overloaded laundry, thereby causing excess vibration.
Overloaded laundry can tangle with each other and cause the agitator to get stuck, thereby preventing it from performing its regular back and forth movement. As a result, it causes the washer to shake violently.
Another common cause of an unbalanced washing machine is the uneven surface.
If your washer is not placed on a perfectly flat and leveled surface, it can cause the washer to become unbalanced.
An uneven surface can also be caused by a faulty installation or uneven footing. At times, the foot of the washer may be damaged or twisted, thereby causing unevenness.
A loose drum can also cause your washing machine to become unbalanced.
Over a period of time, the washer tends to go through a lot of wear and tear, and the drum is certainly not exempted from the wear and tear.
Due to a lot of wear and tear, the balance of the drum can get affected due to loosening, thereby causing it to become unbalanced.
Another possible cause of an unbalanced washing machine is the damaged OR worn-out drive belt.
The drive belt is responsible for moving the drum and it is connected to the motor. If this drive belt slips, gets damaged, or wears out, it can lead to excessive vibration and imbalance.
Furthermore, a damaged or worn-out drive belt can give a hard time to the drum and the motor. Due to a lot of friction created by the drive belt, your washer may vibrate OR produce an unpleasant sound.
Also Read: How to change the washing machine belt?
Faulty bearings can also lead to throwing your washing machine off balance.
The role of the bearings is to ensure that the drum stays in place and moves freely while it’s spinning.
However, over a period of time, the bearings may become loose OR they may get damaged due to a lot of wear and tear. This further causes the washer to vibrate and shake.
A shaky and constantly vibrating washer can never stay balanced. Therefore, it’s important to get the washer serviced as soon as you notice repeated vibrations.
Faulty Motor Mount
The motor mounts are responsible for holding the washer’s motor in place OR keeping it attached to the base.
If there is any fault with the motor mounts, it can cause the motor to wobble and vibrate, thereby making the washer unbalanced.
Since the motor rotates at high RPM, it’s important that the motor mount stays stable.
A faulty motor mount will make the foundation unstable therefore causing vibration and imbalance during the wash cycle.
Also Read: What causes the washing machine motor to burn out?
Non-Suitable Washing Machine Stand
In some cases, the root cause for an unbalance washer can be due to a faulty OR non-suitable washing machine stand.
If the stand is not firmly set on the ground OR if it’s not leveled, it can cause the washer to vibrate and shake, thereby disturbing the balance.
An unbalanced washing machine can put a lot of strain on the different parts of the washer and can also lead to a lot of noise.
While selecting a washing machine stand, ensure that the foundation is stable so that it does not cause the washer to tilt or move during the wash cycle.
Also Read: Is it Necessary to have a stand for the washing machine?
Faulty Shock Absorbers
The primary function of the shock absorbers is to reduce the impact of vibration and balance out any excessive movements.
These shock absorbers are located between the outer tub and the base.
In some cases, these shock absorbers may become damaged OR they may get worn out due to a lot of wear and tear. As a result, they may not be able to balance the drum properly, thereby causing it to become unbalanced.
Faulty Suspension Springs
The suspension springs support the outer tub and it is responsible to keep the tub steady and balanced. If the suspension spring wears out, gets damaged, OR breaks, it will destabilize the washer.
Your washer can also become unstable if the springs are loose, therefore it’s important to get the springs replaced as soon as you find faulty suspension springs.
Faulty Dampening Straps
Another possible cause of an unbalanced washing machine can be faulty damping straps.
A washing machine has 4 dampening straps, that hold the washer tub from four sides. If any one of the straps breaks or wears down, the alignment goes for a toss, thereby making the washer unstable.
It’s important that you replace the faulty dampening straps as soon as you identify the fault.
Worn Out Snubber Rings
The snubber ring is located between the leg and dome assembly and its role is to keep the noise and vibrations in check.
However, over a period of time, the snubber ring may get damaged or worn out, thereby causing unpleasant sound and excessive vibrations, thereby disturbing the balance.
Loose Washing Machine Parts
A washing machine is made up of multiple parts, while the above-mentioned causes are common, there can be other loose parts such as screws and bolts that may have destabilized the washer from inside.
If you hear a rumbling sound OR something banging inside the washer, it’s an indication that something may be loose inside.
While the rumbling sound can also be due to a faulty bearing, it’s important that you assess the problem by manually turning the drum.
Now that you know, the symptoms and causes of an unbalance washer, let’s look at possible solutions.
How to fix an unbalanced washing machine drum?
Fixing an unbalanced washing machine is generally easy as the problem is not that complex in most cases.
Here are some common solutions which you as a homemaker OR a non-technical person can try.
Pay attention to the Washing machine balance sensor
The balance sensor senses the out-of-balance tub and then tries to auto-correct up to a certain extent (https://patents.google.com/patent/US5713221A/en).
If the drum is not balanced, the washer will either give you an error, highlight the balance error light, OR pause temporarily.
Furthermore, if the balance sensor repeatedly starts showing error, prolongs the wash cycle, OR stops the wash cycle temporarily it means, either the sensor has gone bad OR you are not placing the laundry evenly.
The balance sensor may even give an error if you are overloading the laundry.
Manually rebalance the load
If you are loading the laundry in an unbalanced manner, the balance sensor may not be able to balance it.
In this case, all you need to do is simply balance out the load manually.
To do this, take out some of the laundries and redistribute it evenly inside the drum before you start the wash cycle.
Tighten the washing machine drum
Another common cause of an unbalanced washing machine drum can be loose washer parts such as screws and bolts. If you notice that the drum is loose and starts making noise, try tightening it up by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you are unable to get these parts tightened, it’s better to call a professional as you may end up damaging other parts as well.
Pay Attention to the Agitator if it’s a top loader
If you are using a top load washing machine, pay close attention to the agitator. In most cases, the problem arises due to a faulty or worn-out agitator.
If the agitator is making noise OR is not rotating properly, it’s probably time to replace it.
A lot of time you will find that there is nothing wrong with the agitator, it’s just that you are overloading the washer with laundry, thereby causing tangling.
Tangled clothes in the washer can easily make your washer vibrate and shake as the agitators can’t move freely.
While fixing a balance problem is generally an easy problem to address, if you are unable to identify or fix the problem, it’s always better to call a professional as they are trained to deal with such problems.
Attempting to fix the problem yourself may end up causing further damage to the machine, so it’s best to leave it to the experts.
Also Read: How do you clean the washing machine agitator?
Repair OR Replace the Worn Out and Damaged Components
In some cases, the balance problem may not be fixable as some of the components in your washer such as bearings, drive belts, suspension rings, OR dampening straps may have been worn out or damaged.
In this case, it’s best to contact a professional who can help you identify the problem and replace the damaged parts as needed.
First try basic troubleshooting such as placing the washer on a stable surface, limiting the laundry loads, and manually placing the laundry evenly.
If this basic troubleshooting does not help, look for the symptoms discussed above and then go through the causes.
Lastly, if you are confused about replacing any parts, it’s best to consult an expert and avoid DIY methods. Trust me it can easily void the warranty and to make matters worse, it can damage other components.
Remove transit bolts
If you have just installed a new washing machine, there are chances that transit bolts are still intact.
Transit bolts are generally used to secure the washer during transportation. These bolts are responsible to keep the tub rigid during transportation.
If these bolts are not removed, the washer will not operate smoothly and may produce a rattling sound along with excessive vibration.
Align the Drum
The poorly aligned drum can destabilize the washer, thereby making it unstable which eventually leads to a prolonged washing cycle, extremely wet clothes even after the final wash cycle, and intermittent stoppage at times.
If the washer is not leveled according to the floor, it will cause the drum to wobble, thereby causing vibration and noise.
To align the drum you can either move the washer to a flat surface OR use rubber or wooden blocks to balance the machine.
Clean the Washing Drum
If you notice that the balance problem is occurring only when washing heavy loads, you may need to clean the drum.
Over time, dirt, grease, and detergent buildup can accumulate in the drum, thereby creating a lot of friction, ultimately resulting in balance issues.
Cleaning the drum with hot water and vinegar will certainly help to remove the dirt and grime build-up, thereby restoring the balance of your washer.
If you have a front-load machine, use a cleaning solution to clean the door seal and gasket. This will help remove any dirt or detergent build-up.
Also Read: How to clean a portable washing machine?
Adjust the washer legs
In some cases, a balance issue arises due to an improperly adjusted washer leg.
This is an easy fix, you can either adjust the legs or level them on a flat surface.
If the washer legs are worn-out OR damaged, depending on the type of washer, the legs need to be replaced OR fixed by welding.
Use Laundry Balls
Another easy fix for the balance issue is to make use of laundry balls.
Laundry balls help to avoid tangle as it distributes the load evenly during the wash cycle.
As it avoids tangle, it makes the washer’s life much easier by reducing the stress on the motor.
In fact, it’s a common practice to put in a few tennis balls to wash the laundry.
Switch to a stable washing machine stand
An unstable stand will not only damage your washing machine but can also cause balance issues.
So, if you’re using an unstable stand, replace it with a stable and strong one. This will not only balance the machine but also protect it from damage and stress.
If all the above-mentioned solution fails, consider hiring a professional who can help you identify and balance the washer correctly.
With the right tools and expertise, balancing issues can be quickly and easily resolved.
Diagnosing an unbalanced washer can be a challenge if the above-mentioned basic troubleshooting does not fix the issue.
In that case, the only option left is to go through the symptoms discussed in this article and then correlate them with the causes.
Based on the symptoms and causes you should be able to identify the problematic areas.
If you are troubleshooting the washer for the first time and have not done any technical stuff like replacing belts, Drums, or bearings, I would suggest taking the help from an expert.
Frequently Asked Questions
Phew! It was a long post, isn’t it? while it may still not be possible to cover all the scenarios, I have managed to collate a few questions that are frequently asked.
Here are the common questions that get asked very frequently.
What does an unbalanced washing machine sound like?
An unbalanced washing machine typically produces rattling or vibrating noises, along-with excessive vibration.
Should my washing machine drum wobble?
Mild wobble is ok and considered normal, severe wobbling along with unusual sound and vibration is usually an indication of a balance issue OR worn out bearings.
Why is my washer so loud when it spins?
The loud sound usually indicates worn-out bearings, a damaged motor, OR loose drum. In most cases, it’s the faulty bearings that cause loud rattling sounds inside the washer. Bearings are responsible for the smooth spinning of the washtub.
Why does my washer sound like a jet engine?
In most cases, it’s the faulty bearings OR a damaged motor that causes this loud noise. It’s important that worn-out bearings are replaced as they can cause more damage to the other internal components.
How does a washing machine sense out of balance?
The washing machine has a built-in balance sensor that detects an unbalanced load and signals the motor to adjust accordingly. In some cases, the balance sensor may fail due to many underlying causes, due to which the washer may not balance the load, thereby resulting in an unbalanced washing machine.
Why does the Washing Machine Drum wobble during spin?
There can be many reasons for the washing machine drum to wobble during spin. Some of the common reasons are an unbalanced load, a damaged balance ring, faulty bearings, or a worn-out motor. It’s important to identify the underlying cause and take corrective action accordingly. This will help to avoid further damage to the washing machine.
How To Level Top Load Washing Machine?
There are several ways to balance a top load washing machine. One of the simplest and most effective solutions is to adjust or level the legs on the washing machine to ensure that it sits firmly on the ground. Another option is to use a rubber or wooden block to help balance it.
For more queries related to washing machines, you can always refer to our FAQ Section.