How To Winterize A Washing Machine

If you are interested in learning how to winterize a washing machine, you’re at the right place.

Seasons, weather conditions and temperature levels have an effect on how we use our home appliances.

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Now, while summer or warm seasons do not necessarily pose a problem, it is the exact opposite in the winter. 

A lot of appliances usually have a stated temperature range for optimum usage in the care manual.

However, where the suggested temperature cannot be achieved, it becomes essential to take precautionary measures for the safeguarding of the appliance and to increase its life-span.

“Winterize” is a term used for the activity of preparing a thing or object for use during the winter period. 

Machines that are exposed to freezing or below-freezing temperatures without adequate protection can be severely impaired, hence, the importance of winterising.

More often than not, when it comes to appliances that function with water, the process deals with water valves, pipes and their components, electrical sources etc. 

Finding out how to winterize a washing machine should be at the top of your winter to-do list if you do not want to end up with a damaged washing machine. 

Why Washing Machines Are Susceptible To Cold

When you think of your washer, water is the first thing that comes to mind, and this singular reason is why your washing machine is susceptible to extreme cold. 

During the winter season, no part of the house is spared. Therefore, it is immaterial if your washer is locked indoors, in an airtight basement or  in your garage.

Whichever scenario it is, it is ideal for you to winterize your washer. 

It is normal for the washer to retain some water in its pipes after a washing cycle. Not winterising it will transform the water remnants into ice which will damage the hoses and valve. 

But if the water is completely drained out, then there is nothing to freeze. Regardless, you do not want to take chances.

How To Winterize Your Washing Machine

Knowing how to winterize your washing machine is a huge step in using your appliance for an extended period. There are two major way to winterize your washing machine:

  • By draining all the water in the washer.
  • By adding RV antifreeze to the washer.
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Draining The Water

Draining the water in the washer is not a complex task. Yet, it is an important process in getting the washer ready for storage or for winter. 

The effect of this is that it prevents mold from growing in the hoses and it also prevents the water in the hoses from getting frozen and potentially damaging the washer in winter. 

Before draining your washer, the internal mechanisms have to be cleaned using hot water and vinegar to remove any dirt that is stuck in the washer’s components.

Steps to take in draining your washer:

  • Depending on whether your washer is a top loader or a front loader and the configuration of your machine, there should be a drain hose attached to the back of your washing machine. This is different from the hose that supplies clean water to the machine.  
  • To drain the water automatically, you can turn on the drain knob on the washer while it is on.

This will release the water out from the bottom of the machine into the drain pipe.

  • Once this is done, tip the machine forward to ensure that the water completely gets out through the drain hose.
  • In the event that the drain function isn’t working, you will have to manually get the water out.

To get the water out manually, turn off the washing machine. At this point, you must have turned off the water supply to the washer.

  • Get a large bucket, then disconnect the drain hose from the pipe. If the hose is loosely connected, then it should come off by simply tugging at it gently.

Turn the hose in a downward slope into the bucket to spill the water remnant, repeat this process until you are sure that the water has been completely drained

In some instances, you may need to tip the washing machine at an angle in order to get all the water out

  • Attempt to check the hose for clogs in the event that the water does not drain or is getting drained at a slower pace than usual.
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If the drain hose is clogged, you can get rid of the clog by pouring hot water down the drain or use a plumber’s snake to snatch the debris out.

  • On the other hand, the clog might be in the drain pump. And if it is, refer to the manufacturer’s manual for instructions on how to locate and clear the clog.
  • Once the clog is out, drain the water in the pump. If you are unable to drain the water from the washer after trying these tips, you may need to call in a professional plumber or a technician to help out.
  • Once the draining is done, reconnect the drain hose to the back of the machine.

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Adding RV Antifreeze To Your Washing Machine

The RV antifreeze is a non-toxic liquid used in plumbing systems and it functions to keep water from freezing. 

When an antifreeze is added to water in cold seasons, it helps by depressing the freezing point.

Antifreeze often comes in different colours, usually pink for the purpose of identification. 

The components of a typical RV Antifreeze can be ethylene glycol or propylene glycol and both types have great thermal properties. Here’s how to use it:

  • Turn off the water supply to the washer. This may involve turning off the water supply faucets.
  • The next step is to disconnect the hoses from the faucet using a plier and drain the inlet water hoses. 
  • Pour one quart of RV antifreeze into the washer’s basket. Then select the rinse and spin cycle on the washer, turn the start button on.
  • Next, run the rinse and spin cycle for 30 seconds to a minute. This will allow the RV antifreeze and the remaining water to mix properly. After the time has lapsed, turn off the start button
  • The next step is to disconnect the washing machine from the power source by unplugging it from the electric socket and leave it that way till the winter season is over.
  • You might want to stick a note on the washing machine to inform people that the machine contains an anti-freeze.
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Once the winter season is over, you will need to get the RV Antifreeze out of the washing machine by flushing it out with water. 

To do this you have to reconnect your machine back to a power source and then wash the water pipes and hose by running water through them. 

If your water hose is not already connected to the washing machine, make sure to connect it.

Turn on the water source and run two rinse cycles (without clothes) to remove all the antifreeze deposit.

If the winterising process was carried out by a professional, it might be better to get a professional to de-winterize your washer in order to avoid mishaps.

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Additional Tips That Can Be Implemented

  • Insulation of Pipes: Since the pipes are also vulnerable to the freezing temperature, the pipes can be insulated using a snap on foam or padded insulator. 

This is done by wrapping the padded insulator (which can be obtained from any appliance store) around the pipes.

The effect of this is that the insulator acts as an external barrier while offering thermal protection to the pipes.

  • If the washer is located in a laundry room, ensure that the room is well insulated with a heater. 

On exceptionally cold nights, turning on a space heater and directing it toward the washer will keep it warm and help to reduce the risk of the washer pipes from freezing.

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Instruction manuals often come with tips on how to winterize your washing machine properly. So, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s tips in order to maintain your appliances. 

Professional help should be sought if you are unable to carry out the winterising yourself.

Once the washing machine is frozen, the damage can be expensive to repair. It is, therefore, more cost effective to prepare your washing machine for the freezing periods.

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