How To Balance a Washing Machine

This is probably something we’ve all experienced: as your washing machine enters the spin cycle, it begins to make a sound like a jet airliner barreling down a runway. Alarmed by the noise, you run into the laundry room to find the appliance vibrating violently. In fact, it even appears to be shuffling across the linoleum!

Stop washing machine vibration

While the phenomenon of the “walking washing machine” primarily occurs with top-load washers, both top-load and front-load models may vibrate and make noise if there is a load imbalance and/or the appliance is not properly leveled. If the load isn’t properly distributed or the load is too small, towels, sheets, or a blanket, can bunch up on one side of the tub. During the early filling and wash cycles, you may not notice any problems. But due to the quick rotation of the tub during the spin cycle, the load imbalance acts as a weight that shakes the tub and cabinet back and forth. The imbalanced inner tub may start rubbing against the side of the outer tub, tub ring, or bulkhead creating the loud noise, and the rapidly shifting weight can generate enough momentum to physically move the washer across the floor.

To prevent this from happening, group similar size items in separate loads and make sure larger items like rugs or comforters are not balled up but evenly distributed inside the tub. You should also confirm that your washing machine is properly balanced.

How do I balance my washer?

Balancing the washing machine is all related to the position of the washer’s leveling legs or washer’s feet. While the method for extending or retracting the legs can vary depending on the washer model, here are some common steps and tips you can follow:

  • As a general guideline, the four washer feet should be flush against the base of the appliance (threaded into the base as far as they will go) before you determine if the washer is properly balanced or not.
  • Set a bubble level across the top panel of the washer near front edge to determine if the appliance is level from side-to-side. If the height of the washer is the same on the left and right sides, the bubble will rest directly between the two middle lines. If the bubble comes to rest anywhere to the left of the two middle lines, the left side of the washer is too high; if the bubble comes to rest to the right of the lines, the right side of the washer is too high.
  • Repeat the test by placing the level along both the left and right edges of the top panel to determine if the washer is balanced from front-to-back.
  • To adjust a leveling leg or foot, have an assistant help you to lift the appropriate side of the washer up, then use a wood block or a comparable sturdy object to support it.
  • If the front left corner of the washer is too high, you will need to extend the front right leveling leg to balance the washer (provided all four feet were flush against the base to start with). If the rear left corner of the washer is too high, you will need to extend the front left leg, and so forth.
  • Depending on the model, you may need to use an appropriate-sized wrench or adjustable wrench to loosen a locking nut (sometimes referred to as a “jam nut”) so you can unthread the leg.
  • Unthreading, or rotating a leveling leg counter-clockwise, will extend it, raising that corner of the appliance higher. Rotating the leg clockwise, or threading it further into the base, will lower that corner of the washer.
  • Remove the support and carefully set the washer on the floor.
  • Use the bubble level to confirm the washer is now level side-to-side and front-to-back with all four feet firmly in contact with the floor. If the appliance still isn’t level, you will need to readjust the leg or legs accordingly.
  • Once you’ve confirmed the washer is properly balanced, use the wrench to tighten the locking nuts if applicable.
  • Be aware that some washing machine models have self-adjusting rear legs. Once you’ve leveled the front legs, you can tip the appliance forward then gently set it back down and the rear legs will automatically adjust to the proper height.

Find the right washing machine parts with Repair Clinic

A damaged leveling leg or foot may prevent you from properly balancing your washer. To fix this problem, you will need to replace the damaged leg with a new one. To find the right leveling legs, or feet, that fit your particular washing machine, you should enter the full model number of the washer in the Repair Clinic website search bar. You can then select “Leg, Foot & Caster” from the part category filter to identify the specific leg or foot you need. Repair Clinic stocks the appropriate leveling legs for all the major brands of washers including Samsung, Maytag, GE, Kenmore, Bosch, Frigidaire, LG, and Whirlpool, but you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting the one that is a direct fit for your model.

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