How to Winterize a Washing Machine

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With the weather getting colder and the leaves starting to turn, it’s time to do two things: prepare for the upcoming holiday season, and winterize your washing machine. Perhaps the latter is not on your list of top priorities, but if you own a washing machine that you know will be exposed to temperatures below freezing, then winterization is essential.

There are a number of methods to winterize your washing machine, and we’ll be covering two of them in this article. If you have no idea what winterization is, don’t worry because we’ll be explaining that as well. So without further ado, keep reading to find out how to winterize a washing machine quickly and easily.

What Exactly is Winterization?

Winterization, as you may have guessed, is the process of preparing something for winter, whether it’s an object, a home, or a car. Equipment that is designed to be used in areas that experience extreme cold also undergoes the process of winterization.

Various complex devices, like electronics, automobiles, and radios, as well as other common materials, are not meant to be used at very low temperatures. Therefore, they must be winterized so that they can operate without suffering severe damage from the cold conditions.

Winterization can involve a chemical treatment process, the total substitution of new parts, or additional insulation and waterproofing. Weatherization can be thought of as a cold-weather extension of ruggedization.

Why Winterizing Your Washing Machine is Important

If you are storing your washer and dryer in an unheated basement or outside, or you are closing your summer home up for the winter, your washing machine is going to end up being exposed to temperatures that are below freezing. Washing machines - even ones that are not in use - have build-ups of residual water in the pump and holes that are susceptible to freezing in cold weather.

Water expands when it freezes, and when this happens in a washing machine, the inlet valves and pump can become seriously damaged. Even worse, you could face the invalidation of your warranty if your washing machine is damaged due to exposure to freezing temperatures without being winterized prior.

Winterizing your washing machine will ensure that it does not suffer this damage, either by removing any residual water, or mixing it with RV antifreeze.

Winterization Using RV Antifreeze

One quick way to winterize your washing machine is by using an antifreeze designed for use on RVs. The substance will prevent any water that may be trapped inside of your washing machine from freezing, which prevents the serious damage we mentioned previously.

To do this, you will want to start by turning the faucets in your washing machine off, disconnecting the water hosepipes, and letting them drain out. Then, add 1 quart of RV antifreeze to the basket.

RV antifreeze is non-toxic and propylene glycol-based, meaning that you can safely use it in your washing machine without damaging it or polluting your clothes. Run the machine for around 30 seconds to ensure that the antifreeze liquid mixes with any water that is still in the pump.

Finally, unplug the washing machine or simply turn the power off. When you are ready to start using it again, after power has been restored, make sure that you run some water through the hoses and pipes to flush them out.

Then, connect the water hoses again, and turn the water faucets on. Run the washing machine through an extended, full cycle to ensure that all of the antifreeze is removed, using vinegar or detergent.

Draining the Fluids for Winterization

Another method to winterize a washing machine is to drain it of water. To do this, start by shutting off the faucets that supply water to the machine, then disconnect the hose from the water supply and let the water inside them drain out completely. You should then remove the washer’s drain hose from the opening of the drain.

The drain hose is the one that connects to the drain port at the bottom of the washing machine to the drain opening inside your home. Lay it down on the floor and leave it connected to the drain port, allowing the water from the hose to drain into a shallow pan.

Once all of the hose pipes have been cleared, tilt the washing machine at the front so that all extra water that may still be stuck in the hose is drained away. When you are ready to begin using the machine again, allow it to sit at room temperature for a full day and night before you use it.

Then, all you need to do is reconnect the faucets to the hose pipes, drain the water supply faucets, and turn them back on again.

Storing Your Washing Machine for the Winter

The first thing you want to do when preparing your washing machine for storage is to run a cleaning cycle. Just because a washing machine is a machine for cleaning doesn’t mean it’s clean.

A cleaning cycle will remove any pollutants and build-ups to ensure that it is perfectly clean when you place it into storage. Run a hot water cycle without detergent, but feel free to add a small amount of bleach to deodorize.

Then, you will want to take some time to prepare the area you will store your washing machine in. You never want to store it right on the floor in an area that is not climate-controlled.

As the temperature within the unit fluctuates, condensation can form on its underside, which can encourage the development of rust. To mitigate this, you can install pallets that will support the machine and place your washing machine, gently, on top of them.

If you don’t have the space for pallets, a good piece of sturdy cardboard will be just as effective. Moreover, you should make sure that there is plenty of space around the machine, as you don’t want it to get scratched if it happens to move while in storage.

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