Model #WFW8400TW0, this front load washer began leaking from somewhere in the front during the wash cycles. The water appeared from somewhere under the unit and could be seen running down the front of the access panel. With the panel removed, standing water on the bottom tray could be seen along with water on the inside of the access panel. Water leaks on front load washers are not very common since the tubs are essentially sealed, but if water is leaking from the front, the door seal is the likely place to start look.
The tubs on front load washers are not totally water tight as there does need to be an exchange of air from inside to outside, and air must be allowed to escape as water is added. Vents are used to allow for this air movement which are located usually on the rear panels and can be a source of water leaks especially if there has been an high level of suds created during a wash. Besides the vent, the front door seal is probably the most likely place to find water leaks because it needs to seal each time the door is closed, and it is exposed to more contact from clothing items and detergents.
These seals, or bellows, as this washer part is often called are designed to maintain the water tight integrity of the doors while allowing the tub to move during the wash cycle. Depending on the load size and consistency, they can be subjected to large amounts of movement especially during the spin cycles. And because of this movement, they are also a common place for objects left in clothing pockets to migrate to. Generally any items that fall into the bellows lie harmlessly out of the way and are often missed by customer, but some items can and will cause problems, namely in the form of permanent seal damage which is what happened on this washer.
Because the leak was from the front of this washer, I immediately removed the front access panel to have a look around. My normal coarse of action will be to inspect the door bellow for any damage and to remove any objects that have collected during prior washes. There were only the usually bits of lint and hair, but while stretching the seal with my hand, I did find a nice cut in the seal off to one along the bottom.
With the source of the leak found, I replaced the door bellow on this washer and instructed the customer on ensuring pockets are checked before clothes are put in the laundry. The customer noted that a pocket knife had been left in a pair of pants recently and was found blade open in the bottom of the door seal. Well at least this mystery was solved, and the customer has a washer that no longer leaks.
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