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A Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

The case of the vibrating washer

Ask This Old House Crew
Photo by Matt Kalinowski

I have one of those front-loading clothes washers, with the dryer stacked above. It's located on the third floor of a brick town house. Unfortunately, when the washer goes through its final spin it shakes the whole house. The washer is level, and at the suggestion of a service technician, I now have it resting on a piece of ¾-inch plywood screwed to the floor joists. But after a portion of the ceiling broke loose in the room below, I'm worried that all this shaking might be bad for the house. What do you think?
— Cyril, Leonia, NJ


Tom Silva replies: Anything that causes ceilings to collapse isn't good for a house. The service tech was following the manufacturer's troubleshooting instructions for a vibrating washer, but the plywood solution only works if the problem is an unsturdy floor.
Front-loading washers are actually supposed to vibrate less than top-loaders, so recheck yours to make sure it's level and that loads aren't just getting out of balance by bunching up on one side of the drum. Also check to be sure all the legs are in contact with the plywood. If that doesn't correct the problem, then try isolating the vibration by resting the washer on hard rubber pads. I've made my own out of an old truck flap (I used them to isolate a garage door that vibrated every time it opened or closed.) And if that doesn't do the trick, think about moving the appliances downstairs.


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