How Much Vibration is Normal For a Washing Machine?

HOW MUCH VIBRATION IS NORMAL FOR A WASHING MACHINE
Welcome to GrayLineParis Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

You know from the start that your washing machine will have some vibrations. But now you wonder: how much is too much? I did some research to find out: 

  • How much vibration is considered normal?

  • What causes washing machine vibrations?

And how do you control or reduce the intensity of the vibrations?

This is what I came up with:

HOW MUCH VIBRATION IS CONSIDERED NORMAL?

Direct Answer:

Enough to be felt on your feet, but not enough to tip items over.

There is no vibration measurement standard that differentiates “normal” from “abnormal” vibrations

But we can do a ‘litmus test’ by applying some common sense based on washing machine vibration patterns.

This is it:

WASHING MACHINE VIBRATION TEST

HOW MUCH VIBRATION IS NORMAL FOR A WASHING MACHINE

Placed an egg on your washing machine. If it stays in place while its vibrating, this is considered normal vibration. 

If it rolls off, the vibration is likely too much.

The spinning (rotation) of washing machine drum can cause some vibration. Many household washing machines spin as high as 1600 rpm or even 1800rpm (rotation per minute). 

SPEED (RPM Rotation Per Minute)
400
600
900
1200
1400
graylineparis.com

Technically, the higher the spin the higher the vibration

A washing machine vibration can be felt on your feet because it has direct contact with the floor (or ground).

But when it rolls items placed on it over, this should be a cause for concern. You’ll need to check the cause of the abnormal vibration.

However, it is worth noting that normal washing operations are not the cause of the vibrations that is giving you concern.

This is the cause:

WHAT CAUSES WASHING MACHINE VIBRATIONS

If there is one word that describes the key to machine vibration, it is:

BALANCE

A lack of balance is the cause of washing machine excessive vibrations.

What causes imbalance in washing machines?

  1. Faulty installation
  2. Unbalanced floor level
  3. Installed shipping bolts
  4. Unbalance leveling legs
  5. Overloaded payload
  6. Insufficient payload
  7. Uneven distribution of payload

FAULTY INSTALLATION

During installation, it is good to measure all four sides with plumb. This will ensure that the washing machine is balance.

A faulty installation will result in machines slitly tilted at an angle. Even small imbalance not noticeable with the eyes becomes evident during operation, by excessive vibrations.

If you determine that the installation is the cause, call a professional plumber. He should be able to determine what can be done to remedy the situation.

UNBALANCED FLOOR LEVEL

In private homes, the floor is usually not casted with washing machines in mind. 

Floor level should be factored in, when deciding where to place the washing machine. Some floors are intentionally tilted to aid water flow.

This is common in bathrooms. If you bathroom floor is not level, you should consider installing your washer in a different location. 

Change of location might be all you need to stop the vibrations.

INSTALLED SHIPPING BOLTS

Bolts

Washing machines comes with shipping bolts, also called transit bolts. This is to fix the the washing machine drum to the body.

You see, washing machine drums are built to rotate or spin. This process happens with the whole body fixed to one a place. It doesn’t rotate along with the drum.

This is how your machine was built to function.

During transportation though, the movement of the shipment can triggered the drums rotation.

To prevent this, manufacturers attach bolts to the washing machines to fix the drums to the washer’s body.

This is a protective mechanism.

However, you’re expected to remove it during installation.

If you don’t, the entire machine shakes violently, instead of the washing machine drum alone.

If the washer vibrates too much. Take a look at the rear to see if the bolts are in place.  

I probably should have placed this in number 1, because it is a common problem.

A good number of washer shaking complaints have this as the cause.

This is likely the cause of the imbalance. And will need to be removed by a technician.

If you are good with technical stuffs and have the tools need for the job, you should be able to remove them yourself.

some manufacturers attach spanner that you’ll use to remove the bolts. If yours added it to your shipment, good and fine. Just go ahead and remove the bolts, and your problem should be solved.

UNBALANCED LEVELING LEGS

Some washers come with a set of leveling legs. This is manufacturers compensation for unlevel floors.

If this is not properly set, the machine losses balance. If your washer comes with a leveling leg, ensure that this is properly set.

This fault is usually introduced during installation. So ensure your machine was installed by a skilled plumber. 

You can determine whether the legs are balanced in relation to the floor by using a plumb.

Plumb or Leveler

Place a plumb on top of your washer and see it the plumb bubble is at the center of the plumb’s water case. Do this on all four sides of the washer top

Another way to tell if your machine feet is balanced is to nudge the washer diagonally.

The image below shows a top to bottom diagonal motion. You should replicate this movement when nudging your washer to check the feet’s balance. Except this time you’ll do so on all sides.

If you notice where adjustment needs to be made, simply adjust the affected foot accordingly.

Bottom to Top diagonal movement

OVERLOADED PAYLOAD

What is the maximum payload of your washing machine? If you do not know, then likely your overloading your machine.

Excessive payloads can cause excessive vibrations.

Every washer has a maximum payload, measured in weight. For many front load washers, the maximum is 7kg, that is 15.4lb.

Of course there are many washers with varying load capacity. Ensure you do not exceed the stated capacity.

In fact, it is a safe practice to always give a headroom. So if your maximum capacity is 15.4lb (7kg), strive for 13.2lb (6kg).

The best way to tell if your load measurement is ideal is to have a weigh scale close to your washer. 

Many household, though, do not have weight scales. In that case, fill your washing machine tub (drum) to the brim. Then insert your hands at the topside of the filled drum. 

Ensure you can move your hands 90 degrees to any side. That is, move your hands from the top to the side of the drum. If you are able to do so with a filled payload, you’re good to go.

INSUFFICIENT PAYLOAD

CAN I TAKE MY CLOTHES OUT OF THE WASHER EARLY

As it is said, ‘too much of everything is bad’. Just as overloading your washer can increase vibrations. Not loading enough will likewise do so.

A pair of jeans alone in a washer, not only wastes electric power, but is also the cause of the vibrations that is giving you concerns.

If the vibrations only occur at specific times, it might be those times when you only have one or two clothes to wash.

Some households set the minimum laundry load that can be washed at any given time to be half the machine’s maximum load capacity.

Of course, this is to manage electric power.

But it also ensures that enough load is in the washer at any given time.

So what do you do when you only have a few underwear to wash? You can decide to wash them with hands, or wait till you have enough clothes to wash along. 

Another option is to ask members of your household to do their laundry at the same time. That way, there’s enough clothes to wash, without each member pilling dirty clothes.

UNEVEN LOAD DISTRIBUTION

Alright. So you’ve checked all troubleshooting options, but still get this annoying vibrations… occasionally.

There is one more thing to consider. Your load distribution.

Many people fill their washing machine drums by the types of clothes they want to wash…

All jean in…

Next all sweatshirt…

Then a pile of t-shirts

Ok, its time to file all the spaces with a millions singlets.

This could create payload imbalance. If heavier items are all on one side and light items fill the other side, the drum will have much work to do balancing the load.

This imbalance can result in high vibrations. 

Of course many modern machines are able to detect this and auto-balance the load. But you can make it easier by ensuring that heavier laundry are not packed one-sided.

WASHING MACHINE VIBRATION TROUBLESHOOTING CHECKLIST

S/NFAULTSOLUTIONCHECKCOMMENT
1Faulty installationCall a technician
2Unbalanced floor levelCall a technician
3Installed shipping boltsRemove shipping bolts
4Unbalance leveling legsAdjust levelling feet
5Overloaded payloadReduce items in machine drum. Never exceed maximum load.A 10-20% headroom is practical
6Insufficient payloadAdd more items. Target half of maximum payload
7Uneven load distributionReposition the load

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.