Washing machines are essential household appliances that make our lives easier.
They are used on a daily basis, and sometimes they can cause frustration when they start moving around or vibrating during cycles.
This movement can not only be dangerous for the machine but it can also damage the flooring.
Fortunately, there are several solutions to this problem, and in this article, we will explore what can be put under a washing machine so it won’t move.
In a Nutshell
To prevent your washing machine from moving, you should make sure that the washer is level and placed on a flat or even surface. Additionally, make sure the load is evenly distributed inside the washer, and if possible, place the anti-vibration pads or a suitable stand beneath the washing machine.
- Improper placement and excessive vibration can cause the washer to move.
- It’s important to install the washing machine on a flat surface and have something that can dampen the vibrations, such as thick carpet, rubber pads, or anti-vibration pads.
- Try placing the washer on a stable washing machine stand to minimize the vibration.
- It’s important to address the underlying cause of vibration before resorting to external fixes such as placing the washer on the stand or using anti-vibration pads.
- The vibration and noise can be caused due to several reasons, some of the common reasons being, Overloading, uneven level, faulty bearing, problematic drum, loose or broken parts, etc.
Table of Contents
Why Does a Washing Machine Move Around?
Before we explore the solutions to prevent washing machine movement, it’s important to understand why it happens in the first place.
The most common reason for a washing machine to move around is an uneven load.
When clothes are not distributed evenly in the drum, the machine can become unbalanced, causing it to move or vibrate during cycles.
Other reasons include:
Unbalanced Loads and Centrifugal Force
Washing machines spin clothes during the cycle to remove water.
If the load inside the drum is unevenly distributed, the drum becomes unbalanced.
As the drum spins, the unbalanced load generates an unequal centrifugal force.
This force can cause the machine to vibrate, move, or “walk” across the floor.
This phenomenon is governed by Newton’s laws of motion.
Washing machines naturally vibrate due to the complex interaction of their parts, including their motors, drums, and other components.
When these parts or the machine itself align with a specific natural frequency, a phenomenon known as harmonic resonance can occur.
This occurrence holds the potential to magnify vibration amplitudes, introducing challenges such as amplified noise, mechanical strain, and even structural deterioration.
Appliance manufacturers, well aware of these intricate dynamics, employ strategies to mitigate the risks of harmonic resonance.
They meticulously design and engineer components to circumvent frequencies that might trigger resonant vibrations.
The incorporation of dampening materials, slight modifications to component forms, and fine-tuning of the operational frequencies of the machine’s various elements are often a part of this strategic approach.
Should you find yourself grappling with a washing machine that’s prone to excessive vibrations or emitting bothersome noises, the root cause could likely be linked to resonance-related complications.
In such instances, seeking assistance from the manufacturer or a skilled technician is a logical step.
They can expertly diagnose the issue and apply the necessary measures to reinstate your washing machine’s smooth and quiet operation.
Angular Momentum and Center of Mass
When a washing machine’s drum spins, it generates angular momentum.
If the center of mass of the load inside the drum is not aligned with the axis of rotation, it can lead to wobbling and imbalance.
This is comparable to how a spinning top will wobble when its center of mass is off.
Bearing and Suspension System
Bearings in the washing machine’s drum support its rotation.
If these bearings are damaged or worn out, they can cause the drum to wobble, leading to vibrations.
Additionally, the suspension system that holds the drum may weaken over time, impacting stability during operation.
Imbalanced Drum and Rotational Inertia
An imbalanced drum, due to manufacturing defects or uneven wear and tear, can lead to vibrations.
Rotational inertia, a property of rotating objects, can affect how the machine responds to changes in load distribution.
An imbalanced load can cause the drum to “fight” against these changes, leading to movement.
Damping and Absorption
The material properties of the floor and the area where the machine is placed affect how vibrations are transmitted.
Some floors may absorb vibrations better than others.
The choice of materials placed under the machine, like anti-vibration pads, affects how vibrations are dampened and absorbed.
Washing machines exhibit mechanical vibrations, which are oscillations of the machine’s components.
These vibrations can have distinct patterns called mode shapes.
Different modes of vibration can cause the machine to move in different ways, depending on the frequencies involved.
These mode shapes are influenced by factors such as the machine’s design, material properties, and the way it’s mounted or supported.
Some mode shapes might be undesirable, leading to excessive vibration, noise, and potential damage if not properly controlled.
Center of Gravity and Stability
The center of gravity is the point where the weight of the washing machine is concentrated.
If the machine’s center of gravity is not aligned with its base or support, it can become unstable.
Proper leveling and placement are crucial to maintain stability and prevent movement.
The center of gravity can also be disrupted through:
- Uneven floors
Overloading your washing machine can cause it to shake and vibrate.
Make sure to distribute your clothes evenly in the machine and don’t overload them.
A good rule of thumb is to fill your washing machine to about 75% of its capacity.
Uneven floors or an uneven washing machine can cause vibrations and shake during the spin cycle.
To check the leveling, place a level on top of your washing machine and see if it’s even.
If it’s not, adjust the legs of the washing machine until they’re level.
Shock Absorbers and Dampers
Washing machines often have shock absorbers or dampers to mitigate vibrations.
If these components wear out or malfunction, they can no longer effectively absorb vibrations, leading to increased movement and noise during cycles.
Also Read: What happens if you overload your washer?
A problematic drum can also cause shaking and vibration.
Check the drum for any signs of damage or wear and tear, and if you notice any issues, get it replaced by contacting a professional.
The best way to diagnose a problematic drum is to move it with your hands when the machine is off and see if you notice any resistance or an unusual sound.
Loose or broken parts
Loose or broken parts in a washing machine can also cause it to vibrate excessively.
This can occur when parts such as the drum, agitator, or pulley become loose or damaged.
As the machine operates, these parts can move and shift, causing the machine to vibrate or make loud noises.
Note: These are some of the common reasons, and not the only reasons, why a washer may vibrate and move. The washer may move due to many reasons, and a thorough technical diagnosis is needed if the above factors are not responsible for the vibration.
Here are a few ideas and tips that will help prevent your washing machine from moving
The most important factor is choosing a flat surface to install the washing machine.
If the floor or surface is uneven, this can cause the washing machine to move around during operation.
So, you should always inspect if the washing machine is level after placing it in the desired spot.
To do this, simply take a leveling tool and place it on top of the washer to ensure it is level, and do it in all directions.
If the floor isn’t level, simply change the spot if possible or shift the washer a little left or right and see if that helps.
Secondly, most people install a piece of plywood underneath the washing machine on the floor, you can do the same too.
It can be a waterproof plywood sheet or another sturdy material that is usually fastened to the floor securely.
If the floor is not level, shims can be used under the plywood before setting up the washing machine.
Finally, putting a few strips of non-slip material between the plywood and the washing machine will help prevent the machine from slipping, moving, or vibrating too much during operation.
Note: Make sure the material (plywood sheet or other sturdy material) is at least half an inch thick and large enough to cover the entire area where the washing machine will be installed.
Anti Vibration pads
If the washing machine is level and placed on a flat surface, you can still add a layer of safety to prevent it from moving, such as floor padding or insulation between the floor and the washing machine.
Doing this will not only help reduce vibration and noise but also prevent the washer from moving or walking across the floor.
They provide stability and cushioning to the washer and prevent it from moving around during function.
Anti-vibration pads are made from a variety of materials, including rubber, foam, and cork.
Additionally, they are designed to meet specific sound and vibration reduction requirements.
Apart from preventing your washer from moving around the floor, these pads also help reduce wear and tear on the floorboards.
What’s more, these are inexpensive investments available in various sizes and shapes to suit most washing machines.
You can buy them online or at local appliance stores, but make sure they are compatible with the model of your washing machine.
How to install Anti-Vibration pads to prevent the washer from moving?
Start by powering off the washing machine and unplugging it from the wall, followed by tilting the machine back and placing a pad under each of the legs.
Next, lower the machine and make sure the pads are securely in place.
Now test the washer by running a test cycle and seeing if it has done the trick or not.
Rubber Sheets (Anti-Slip)
Rubber sheets are anti-slip mats that can be installed on floors or below your appliances, including the washing machine, to prevent them from moving.
Before installing the washer and dryer on top of the anti-slip sheet, you should make sure the floor is level.
Just make sure the sheet covers the entire area where the washing machine will be placed, especially the four legs at the base.
Washing machine stands
Placing washing machine stands or pedestals is a great way to prevent the machine from moving, and banging against walls, floors, and other objects.
It prevents your washing machine from moving by holding it firmly in place and providing a stable base to absorb the vibration and shock from the washer during function.
Additionally, it keeps your machine level, reducing the risk of it becoming unbalanced and potentially damaging itself.
Washing machine stands are usually constructed from durable materials, such as steel, aluminum, and hard plastic.
These materials are strong enough to provide a stable base even when dealing with heavy loads of laundry.
Moreover, some washing machine stands come with adjustable legs and sizes that make it possible to adjust the height of the stand. In most cases, such stands are universal and can fit different sizes of washing machines.
Note: Make sure the stand is compatible or suitable with your washing machine model and type.
Washing machine Pan/Tray
A washing machine pan or tray is typically employed to catch any water that may leak from the machine.
Do you know that you can use them to prevent the washer from moving as well? This is because most washer pans also often come with anti-slip bases and baffles built into them.
It not only helps reduce the noise generated by the washing machine but also secures the washer in place, which further prevents it from moving during function.
They are usually plastic, metal, or fiberglass containers placed beneath a washing machine to catch leaking water and protect floors.
Most importantly, the pans come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so it is important to measure your washing machine before selecting the correct pan.
Finally, you can also find washer pans with an integrated drain line that connects directly to the home’s sewer system, thus helping to keep the water from pooling and getting onto the floors.
Also Read: How to install a washing machine drain pan?
Tighten the feet of your washing machine and check if it’s damaged
Over time, the feet of your washing machine can loosen or become damaged due to regular wear and tear.
This can cause the machine to become unstable, causing it to vibrate excessively and walk.
To prevent this, you can use a wrench to tighten the feet of your washing machine so that they are secure and cannot move.
Ensure that the transit bolts have been removed
Transit bolts are used to secure the drum of a washing machine during transportation to prevent damage.
However, if these bolts are not removed before operating the machine, they can cause excessive vibration during cycles.
So, make sure you have this on your checklist, especially if the washer is new and has just been delivered to you.
Recheck Load Distribution
Make sure the load is distributed equally inside the washing machine drum.
Unbalanced loads can still lead to movement even with anti-vibration measures in place and avoid overloading the machine.
Double-check that the machine is properly leveled using a leveling tool.
An uneven machine, even with anti-vibration pads, can still experience movement.
Check for Mechanical Issues
Inspect the machine for any loose or damaged parts, such as the drum, agitator, pulley, or shock absorbers and tighten or replace parts as needed.
Assess Floor Stability
If the floor itself is unstable, it can contribute to movement.
Consider placing the machine on a sturdier surface or using a plywood sheet to provide better stability.
Evaluate External Vibrations
External factors like nearby machinery, vibrations from adjacent rooms, or heavy foot traffic can influence washing machine movement.
Try and minimize these factors if possible.
If movement persists despite trying various solutions, it may indicate a more complex mechanical issue.
Contact a professional appliance repair technician to diagnose and resolve the problem.
Verify Shock Absorbers
Check the shock absorbers or dampers for signs of wear or damage.
If they are no longer effective, replacing them can significantly reduce vibrations and movement.
Inspect Mode Shapes
Different modes of vibration can cause the machine to move in specific patterns.
Observe how the machine moves during cycles and compare it to common mode shapes.
Adjust the machine’s position accordingly.
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines:
Consult the manufacturer’s user manual for specific recommendations on reducing machine movement.
They may provide insights tailored to your machine’s design.
Ensure Correct Installation
If you’ve recently installed or moved the machine, ensure that it’s correctly positioned and leveled in its new location.
Consider Professional Repair
If all else fails and the machine’s movement persists, consider seeking professional repair services.
An experienced technician can identify and address complex issues.
Note: Remember that persistent washing machine movement could indicate underlying problems that require expert attention. Diagnosing and resolving these issues promptly will not only prevent further damage to the machine but also ensure safety and performance.
Preventing washing machine movement is important to ensure the efficiency and longevity of the machine.
As a general rule of thumb, always use a leveling tool after placing the washer to ensure that it’s level.
If the washer is not level, adjust the legs so that it’s even from all sides.
If you’ve tried leveling the washer and it’s still vibrating, try loading it with no more than 75 percent of its maximum capacity.
In most cases, leveling the washer and reducing the load should fix the vibration issues; however, if there is an underlying mechanical issue, the vibration issue may continue.
If that’s the case, get your washer diagnosed by contacting a professional appliance repair person.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use cardboard or wood under my washing machine to prevent it from moving?
Cardboard or wood can help in the short term; however, it may compress and break down over time, causing the washing machine to become unstable.
Can washing machine movement cause damage?
Yes, washing machine movement can cause damage to the machine itself and the surrounding area. The excess vibration may have a negative impact on other internal components inside the washer.
Can I use carpet or rugs under my washing machine?
Technically, you can place the carpets under the washing machine to absorb the vibration and noise. However, carpets or rugs can compress and move during cycles, causing the washing machine to become unstable, so it’s important that the carpets or rugs are thick.
Is it necessary to use anti-vibration pads if my washing machine is new?
No, using anti-vibration pads is not necessary; however, new washing machines can experience movement due to an uneven load or improper leveling. So, it’s a good-to-have item but not a must-have item.
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