All across North Carolina, businesses and homeowners alike rely on their laundry rooms to keep water flowing and fabrics clean. From utility to high-end style, your laundry room is the heart of a clean and organized space. When plumbing issues arise, they can have a major impact on sanitation and convenience. If you’re noticing unappealing odors or experiencing clogs or water damage, it’s time to have an expert take a look. PlumbV professionals are always ready to help!
Potential Laundry Room Plumbing Problems
Our modern laundry rooms utilize a lot of water and can have a lot of moving parts. Give it enough time, and issues could arise. When they do, the source of the problem will generally fall into one of four categories: (1) faulty parts, (2) degraded materials, (3) needed maintenance, or (4) a broken fixture. Understanding what’s at stake and finding the root cause will help you to determine when it’s best to call a professional.
Washer and dryer. Estimates vary and every machine is different, but anywhere from 7 to upwards of 30 gallons of water are utilized with each wash cycle. Whether the amount is small or great, you don’t want any of that leaking into walls, backing up into drains, or pooling on your laundry room floor. But clogged washer box drain lines or inferior water supply lines could make worst-case a reality. Faulty parts could allow leaks to develop, or even burst under pent-up pressure.
We may not think of dryers as being affected by plumbing issues, but many do utilize water for a steam cycle. If hoses and connections are old or weak, a leak is inevitable.
Water heater. Your water heater is directly related to your laundry room, and it may even be housed there. If you’re noticing wild fluctuations in water temperature or a noisy unit, that could indicate that buildup should be flushed or that the heating element isn’t working well anymore.
Drains. If your washing machine drains into a utility tub, issues can be more obvious. But if the drain line connects to a washer box or directly into the plumbing system, it can be hard to know when the line is clogged, until it’s too late. Water backing up into your washer or improper draining could be first signs. Water damage to walls or floors, bubbling paint, or moldy spots are also telltale signs of overflow and leakage, and could point to improper installation.
If a laundry room is in the basement, various drains from around the building could coalesce into a main drainage line located there. Any problems affecting these lines could also show up in your laundry room drains.
Water supply. Supply hoses are generally rubber or metal mesh and hard water, mineral buildup, and other environmental factors would quickly age these lines and influence water pressure. Leaky lines could be one outcome. “Water hammer” occurs when very high water pressure is inflecting on lines, especially when valves open and close quickly. Washing machines are built to do just that, and the force of the water can jolt the pipes and hoses, causing leaks or worse. Some washer boxes come with water hammer arrestors. Loud noises after the washer draws water is a key sign to listen for.
Utility sink and faucet. Potential problems surrounding water pressure and temperature, dripping, loud noises, slow or stopped drains, discolored water, or foul odors are common. Investigation could lead to aging parts, a clogged drain, deposits, rust, a malfunctioning water heater, or maybe even backflow issues. Standing water in your utility tub could indicate serious draining issues. If the washing machine drains into a utility sink, clogged drains are also likely. But these annoyances could be symptoms of issues that run deeper.
Foul odor. If the utility sink goes unused much of the time, foul-smelling gas could be escaping from the unused drain lines. A basement drain located in the laundry room is great insurance against flooding, but it may be used infrequently. If the trap dries out it could eventually allow odors and noxious gas to escape into the home. Standing water in the base of the washing machine could fester, and the machine could be in need of a thorough cleaning. Hair, soap, and lint clogged in the washer’s drain line could putrefy and as it breaks down, unseemly odors could waft up. A moldy or musty smell could be evidence of an unseen leak in a water supply line or drain pipe. Any excessive moisture could attract insects and mold growth can cause or aggravate breathing problems.
Installation, repair, and replacement. Appliances come and go, and as the owner of a home or business, you know that going in. So if a new washer or water heater is going in the laundry room, it’s worth having a plumbing expert look over pipes, drains, etc. to stave off major problems down the road. And if you’re looking to install a utility sink, or replace, repair or install a washer box, the plumbing pros at PlumbV can help.
Contributing Factors and Solutions
Leaks. Stemming from many sources, leaks are more than just annoying — they waste water, damage property, and can be a top cause behind mold growth. Causes can vary from broken down fixtures and components to hard water buildup and poorly done repairs or installation. Simply replacing small parts or supply lines, or tightening loosened connectors could be the answer. Or clogs in drain lines could put pressure on pipes and sharp movements caused by pressure difference could cause wear. If a quick fix doesn’t work, it could be time to call in an experienced professional. In the meantime, shutting off the water supply to the affected fixture is one way to prevent further damage. If you can see a clear leak, using leak tape and a compression clamp can keep water damage at bay until you can have it serviced.
Pressure. Corroded or deposit-laden fixtures could reduce flow, and the fix could lie in a thorough clean or a basic part replacement. But more serious causes, like backflow issues or a damaged supply line, could bring trouble. An old plumbing system or locally low pressure in the water supply could also cause problems. You can always hope for a simple resolution, but sometimes you need to bring in the experts.
Temperature. It can be hard to tell whether the water your washing machine draws is cold, warm, or hot, but bleeding colors and shrunken or less-than-clean clothes could be signs that things aren’t right. Testing the temperature at a utility sink can determine whether perhaps the water heater could be in need of some service. Flushing its reservoir or replacing faulty parts could solve the problem, but it could also lead to mess and frustration. Some things are better left to the pros.
Faulty parts. From a simple aerator in your utility sink faucet to water supply hoses, there are many parts in your laundry room that can simply wear out over time. But if replacing parts doesn’t help, it’s a good idea to ask a professional to cast an experienced eye before disassembling parts or moving appliances.
Outdated materials. Old fixtures or plumbing lines could suffer from environmental factors that could render them useless over time. And sometimes materials that were once the norm could now be obsolete or even unsafe. Previous repairs may not be up to snuff, and that could bring leaks, odors, and wasted water. When there are a host of factors at play, a trained plumber can be the best person to evaluate the problem and determine a solid plan for repair or replacement. If you’re planning to update appliances, using new and high-quality water supply lines is a must!
Mineral buildup. Hard water is very common in the U.S. Alkaline minerals in the water supply can build up anywhere that water flows, depositing a white, crusty film. Over time, this buildup can restrict flow and compromise hoses and fixtures. Some elements in your water could even cause corrosion inside pipes. Acidic products can work to remove visible deposits on surfaces, but sometimes changing out parts is the only way to deal with internal buildup. A thorough assessment of your water supply could be affecting the appliances or fixtures in your laundry room. If a softening system is in order, a professional plumber can help you navigate the options and provide guidance.
Standing water. Water is often trapped in the bottom of washing machines, where bacteria will cause mold growth and odors. Periodic cleaning and flushing can help manage this problem, but if it’s persistent than there may be another factor at play. If you’re noticing water that won’t drain from your utility tub, a clog is likely to blame.
Clogs. Washing machines and utility sinks are prime places for clogs to develop. Soap buildup, hair, fur, clothing fibers, and other materials are generated during each wash cycle. If drains aren’t properly strained, these substances could cause major clogs. Left unattended, you could be looking at backed-up drains and expensive water damage, which could lead to noxious odors and mold growth. DIY and commercial solutions are available, but more than anything we’d recommend finding the root cause and eliminating it. Using specialty-made mesh to strain dispensed washing machine water and periodic cleaning of the machine can get rid of the sources of clogs. And calling out a professional plumber to assess the damage and help you find the culprit is a good place to start.
DIY or Professional
You may have tackled some plumbing repairs in the past and feel confident in your knowledge. But sometimes what seems to be a simple problem can develop into a complex, messy, and frustrating situation. Without the appropriate tools, supplies, and expert knowledge, some plumbing issues can be more trouble than you anticipate. A professional plumber is efficient, fast, and has the experience to work through tough scenarios.
Trust Your Local Plumbing Experts
PlumbV’s professional team has the needed expertise and resources to resolve your laundry room plumbing problems. We know that while some solutions are simple, others can be complex or even dangerous. This is where a trained eye is invaluable, and it’s good to know that you always have a trusted, local expert to call on.
We know that a clean, functioning laundry room is key to the health of your family or workforce. So we’ll do what it takes to quickly get things back up and running. We are proud to have a strong reputation as the Triangle region’s go-to for all plumbing services, repairs, and installations. And we’re ready to assist! So if you are in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, or Cary areas and your laundry room is in need of plumbing help, look no further. Give us a call at (919)932-8890 or send us a message and we’ll gladly discuss your plumbing needs.