During normal operations, washing machines exhibit several noises, including minor squeaks and grunts, which are part of the normal operations of the washer. Some noises, such as excessive squealing during washing machine operation, are an indication of a larger problem. In fact, squealing is traceable to several causes.
A washing machine spins a full load of laundry between 800 and 1800 rpms in its wash tub. This kind of power means that if the machine is not level, the spin can put extra stress on one side of the washing machine. Over time this causes wear and breakage in the bumpers and bearings surrounding the wash tub. An early warning sign that the washing machine is imbalanced is a regular squeaking noise whereas signs of more advanced damage to the washer include a regular squealing that occurs throughout the spinning cycle, usually when the wash tub is not buffered by bumpers and bearings. This is an indicator that serious help from a professional repair worker is required. If the squealing is minor, readjust the feet of the washer until it sits level on the ground.
Filling the dryer to the brim can also cause problems for the washer, including squealing. Overfilling a washer means the washer will spin with greater force at the same velocity. Too much force during spin and the excessive stress will cause buffers to buckle and destabilize the washtub. Load size also plays a part in how clean your clothes get, so reducing the amount of clothes in each load will not only eliminate squealing and save your washer but also will help save the clothes as well.
Over time the drum in the washer is damaged by coins, zippers, corrosion and other types of wear, which can cause holes but more often causes dents and sometimes bends in the metal. If the metal drum warps enough, it can touch the metal of the outer drum, causing metallic squealing that lasts throughout the wash, including the spin cycle. Replacing the drum will eliminate this noise.
Like many appliances and machines that use a motor, a washer runs via a drive belt that attaches the motor to the rest of the mechanism and creates spin. A damaged or frayed belt, or one that is poorly adjusted, will cause squeaking and squealing throughout the spin cycle. A certified repair professional can diagnose a drive belt and determine whether it needs readjusting or replacement.
Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.