Washing machine shakes house

Hi, wondering if I can possibly get any advice from the folks here regarding an issue with a new Whirlpool Duet front-loader washing machine I recently installed on the second floor of an older house.
The washer works fine -- too well, in fact. During the spin cycle, the vibrations are so intense that the whole house shakes: dishes in the downstairs hutch, front door jamb, chandeliers, etc. When you stand in front of the washer, you can feel the floor bounce.
We've had the Whirlpool guys come in, as well as the servicemen from the company we bought the unit from, as well as our contractor. Everyone has different advice (and everyone says we should never have installed it on the second floor in the first place -- thanks for not telling us before we put in the plumbing and gas line and bought the washer, guys!). I've also talked to mechanical engineers and every appliance repairman in my area. Thought I might get something interesting from here as well.
Here are my options and recommendations so far -- any comments would be greatly welcome.
1. Move the unit down to the basement. Don't want to do this if at all possible, since we just sunk a bunch of money into renovating the room into a laundry.
2. Buy a new unit -- a top-loader. Could do this (the sales company is willing to take the unit back), but wife likes the capacity and lack of agitator, etc. And I have no idea if we'd have the same problem with a top loader.
3. Put vibration absorption pads underneath. Did that already; got some rubber and cork pads from Grainger and put one under each foot. No difference.
4. Lay down heavy tile or a cement flooring underneath unit. Can't see how this would help, since unit is against a wall that has no supporting wall on the floor beneath it -- wouldn't cement bounce as much as wood without support?
5. Move unit against exterior wall (or one with more support). Would have to reroute plumbing and gas line for drier but that may be worth a try.
6. Suspend unit from springshocks drilled into ceiling. Believe it or not, an engineer has seriously suggested this.
7. Install spring-loaded vibration dampers into unit feet. Whirlpool rep says not to do this, as unit is supposed to be set on a stable surface.
8. Live with it. I can jury-rig the settings to run at medium spin, which vibrates the house much less.
Has anyone had any experience with and luck solving this? Thanks much for any and all replies.
Ty
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I just installed a Maytag Neptune front loader for my wife. A different brand, and we installed it on the ground floor, but really, it doesn't shake all that much.
The description of all that shaking has me wondering whether you need to shore up that room a little bit. Take a hard look to see if that floor is starting to bow -- I'd hate to see that damn thing bust through the floor. Maybe you can lay some wonderboard undernieth the washer and dryer to distribute the weight a little better. Also, in what shape is the structure of the floor under your washroom?
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Wow, We had a washer and dryer in an old 70 year old farm house on the second floor. Outside wall, you could hear it but it was not as bad as this sounds. What vibration pad did you use from WW? Is it dense like what the A/C folks use? Did you mount the washer and dryer on one of those stands? I did, sure like the height.
As an interesting project have you tired putting a 2x4 and some plywood below on the first floor ceiling then doing a load? I know leaving a 2x4 in the middle of the room below is not a permanent solution. But if the noise goes away then you have your answer. More structure is needed. Or try a 4x8 sheet of 3/4 - 1 inch plywood below the washer and dryer. It might help span out the vibrations, using one the size of the washer will not help. This solution may be more acceptable to the SO. I remember working in a central plant where the steel cat walk would vibrate hideously when one certain condition presented itself. Since the certain condition was only once a day there was a permanent monthly work order to tighten the bolts holding the catwalk. Harmonic/sympathic vibration is a interesting thing.
Please let us know if you find a solution
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com (Ty Burr) wrote in

The problem is that you are focussing on the wrong culprit. You don't have a bad washer. You have a bad house.
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"Chuckles" IS AN IDIOT!
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Maybe...but the guy who put that washer on the 2nd floor of the house without ever asking or telling anyone first ain't exactly Einstein. And his reasons for keeping it there - in the face of a very possible break through - are dumb and shortsighted.

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Top Posting Perpetuated: No, there is a difference between ignorance of results and acting dumb and shortsighted. You cannot state "very possible breakthrough" because you cannot know that. Your perceptions are not those of the OP. Shortsighted? Maybe. But at least he's doing something about it. Dumb? No, you cannot know that, and do not seem to know the definition of the word. Intelligent? Yeah, I think so - OP is interested in righting a situation he created, and even presented viable alternatives, while also posting to see if there were any better ideas around here.
This newsgroup has too many idiots, closet-spammers, posers, and morphers for its own good. Someone should take them on and piss them off until they crawl back into the wood they chewed their way out of. Trolls are ignored, idiots are despised and humiliated, and morons are tolerated. Intentional idiocy is despicable and those beings should not be allowed to breathe the same air the rest of the normal population breathes. Many people get pissed about things like I'm saying here. That's good, because almost any response to this will be from one of the aforementioned beings, regardless of the protestations made. Me, I don't get pissed, I don't hate, and I do tolerate. I accept others, and I give back to them in the same manner as they give to me. So flame away idiots, spammers, scammers, posers, morphers, miscreants and other unsavory beings. It will be onlyt your spittle that goes to waste, not mine. I may or may not respond; you never know whether I'll feel like the entertainment or not. To use your words, those folk reference above "ain't exactly Einstein"s. The rest of the good participants of this group hower, ARE, when compared to the likes of many who show up.
Pop's popped off again!
Pop

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break
in the upper class neighbourhoods all/most house's come with the laundry on the same floor as the bedrooms.
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See inline comments. I'm with SQLit for the most part. I also agree with his mentioning "testing" with a 2x4 below or just sliding a sheet of heavy ply under the machine to see what changes & how it changes.
...

dishes in the

you stand in

servicemen ...

this if at all

renovating the room

== Understood; vibration is often a major issue on any but the basement floor. It's why nearly 100% of apartment bldgs won't allow washers except in the basement. Well, except my landlady in Chgo many year ago.

sales company is

capacity and lack

problem
== That might help, but I bet vibration would still be an issue, especially with any but perfectly balanced loads in the spin cycles. Intuitively it doesn't sounds like a good working solution.

already; got

each foot.

unit. Can't see

no
bounce as

== GAK!! What? How MUCH cement? Without being over a load-bearing wall? On the second floor? Remind the source of thaqt one of how the old steel bathtubs were installed! I don't THINK so!! Heavy tile? forget it.

support). Would

may be worth

== Might be worth a try, and is likely to have mostly acceptable results. But I'd save it as an "after other stuff didn't work" at this point.

Believe it or

== LOL! You should have asked him for a detailed bill of material requirements and cost estimates, just for grins! Not too sure he'd have done it, and if he did, well it'd be interesting, at least.

Whirlpool
a stable

== Agree with the rep. Your type washer exerts some pretty high up/down, esp down, forces. Allowing the machine to move very much might result in a resonance allowing the clothes inside to remain stationary while the washer jumped up and down around them! Same for the spring suspensions, too! That would be funny! Well,to an observer anyway, not to you.

medium spin,

== Mmm, I'd only live with it if you had to. You're likely to end up with cracking plaster, joints separating, woodwork loosening, maybe even door hinges loosening, and general misalignments over time. The problem here is the span of the joists in the floor (ceiling below, however you want to look at it). The spans allow up/down movement by design and within limits, that's actually a plus to keeping a bldg stable over the years. It lets the bldg flex rather than b reaking as brittle construction creates. But, you've chosen a bad location without, if I recall, even a non-load-bearing wall underneath. You must have installed mid-span of the floor joists,I bet.

== Only sort of, and only a one-up, and only with a top loading agitator type (Kenmore) on the third floor of a Chgo apartment building.

== SQLit's on the right track, in my opinion, and that's the most logical way to start as it's not expensive and doesn't take a lot of time to accomplish, so if it doesn't work you won't mind so much going for other alternatives.
Raising the unit/s up a bit on a "box" is, I think, likely to make it work for you. Hopefully you know whether the joists are on 16 or 24 inch centers, and can locate at least one of them so you can mark off where the rest are. Stud finders are cheap, and usually will work on the ceiling from below to locate the joists.
Following is ONLY opinion and I don't guarantee anything. But...
The "platform" should be abt 6" high. Use PT 2 x 6's and PT 3/4 plywood to build it. Build it with 8" centers, as large as reasonably possible and as rigid as you can. Use screws, NOT nails to assemble it. Keep cuts square and accurate. Perhaps some of the area could be used to add a small laundry holder or detergents or a hamper or something,k so that space isn't lost to the world. The idea is to make the platform as RIGID as possible, and to span as many joists as possible. The centerline of the machine should approximately straddle one of the joists, with a joist under each end of the platform too. I'd say spanning 5 joists with the platform would be good. 7 would be better. Then, because the platform is so rigid, it's going to be a soundbox, but you need to securely fasten it to the floor, so place rubber between the platform and the floor. Use the kind they make to deaden the sound of garage door openers. Fasten the platform securely to the floor. If not, it will vibrate at higher frequencies; less damaging, but lots more annoying sometimes. Fill the platform with fiberglass information to keep it from acting as a sound board. Then mount the washer with the same kind of shock absorbing rubber under it, as mentioned above. That's a little more than I did, and mine worked fine for many years. The hum & buzz of the machines still bugged the people downstairs, especially at night, but that was the worst happened. I was lucky in that there was a closet under mine so though it wasn't a load-bearing wall, it was a supporting wall by nature of its existance, so that did help things, I'm sure.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane - haven't thought about that stuff in a long time! I would be interested in hearing what you finally end up with, and just how successful it was and whether you think it can be permanent.
I can 't resist saying though, that if the laundry center is DOWN, then little chutes make a great way to avoid having hampers sitting around! But, I had to move to NY to get that! <G>. All it takes to get perfection is money!
Pop
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So am I. This sounds like a case of undersized or marginal floor joist sizing/spacing or something similar (eg: missing crossbracing in the floor joists)
The floor itself is bouncing. A lot.
No amount of cork bumpers are going to make a difference to that at the frequency of vibration you're trying to deal with.
Try jumping up and down on the floor. Same thing, right? Try jumping up and down on one of those cork thingies. Same thing, still, right?
If there was something wrong with the washer, I'm sure the dealer would have replaced it rather than suffer with a long term complaint of this magnitude...
Yeah, a couple 2x4s jammed in as braces (from the first floor floor, to the underside of the relevant ceiling joists) will allow you to prove this as being the problem.
An extra sheet of plywood probably will not stiffen things up enough to notice.
Assuming that the 2x4s greatly reduce vibration, you have the following options:
- Move it to a more solid point on the floor. Ie: against the perimeter wall, above/adjacent to an internal wall, especially one that extends down to the first floor (esp bearing wall).
- Tear up the subfloor (or part thereof or ceiling below) and stiffen up the joists - doubling joists or adding cross-bracing if missing. [Ouch!] It's _remotely_ possible that an extra layer of plywood immediately under the washer will solve the problem by doing a bit of stiffening. I doubt it, but it might be worth a try.
- Put it on another floor with a more solid base.
- Putting in a vibration damper capable of handling this frequency - clothes washer floating in a large pan of water comes to mind ;-) Or heavy springs... Think Cheyenne Mountain ;-)
[Strange as this may seem, springs may be the only practical way to solve your problem without having to partially rebuild the floor or move the unit elsewhere. This will require careful design or experimentation, but probably not be very expensive at all. Four _short_ beefy coil springs under a plywood platform might just do the trick. _Might_ need a hydraulic shock absorber to dampen travel, so people walking too close don't get beaten to death. I recommend an extra layer of plywood on the floor under the springs too, so the springs don't punch their way thru. If they do eat the plywood over the years, replacing it is easy.]
- Suspend it with bungie cords from the ceiling. Yeah, it would _work_, but I don't think this is a good idea. But if you do, don't forget springs (or shock absorbers) to limit the travel - otherwise, it hits a harmonic frequency, and the washer is doing a pinball imitation between floors, walls and ceiling.
[My son _loved_ doing that with a jolly jumper ;-)]
That engineer understood the problem, I don't think he was very serious about this solution tho ;-) It'd be fun to watch while the house and/or washer lasted tho...
[I just mention this option because the idea of the washer bouncing like that is so funny. Or not. I have a gruesome imagination sometimes.]
My grandparents built a cottage where if you walked normally from one room to another, glasses and bottles rattled on the other side of the building. No bracing. Duh... Installed same, problem went away. But the floor joists were exposed underneath...
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Don't be so sure that the repairman would find the defect. 3 Sears repairmen looked at mine and fixed different things with no improvement before I told them to send only their best guy. That guy discovered that the base of the cabinet on the front loader was not properly attached to the rest of the cabinet. You could just shake it and see that it wasn't attached right.

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Your washer may be defective. I had one that could not be balenced correctly despite change the internal shock absorbers. Turned out that the base was not properly attached to the cabinet. Once the bottom front of the washer was removed by taking off a few screws, the looseness of the base was obvious. It also had a bad pump. Sears took it away and gave me a new one.
Not withstanding it still vibrates more than the Maytag neptune front loader. I had a Maytag for about 6 years and gave it to my parents and bought the slightly bigger Kenmore Elite which is the same as your whirlpool. I still use a thick piece of oak plywood under it and we did some blocking of the floor joists under neath it.

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despite the 'general opinion', i agree. a brand new washer shouldnt 'shake the house' almost no matter what it's sitting on unless you somehow have a resonance set up in which case doing just about anythign should change that.
i realize its a pain (although you already have a pain) but i think you should try the thing out somewhere solid like outside on the concrete and get a 'baseline' for how much it's shaking.
randy

the
the
was
one.
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Pop, SQlit, others -- thanks much for the all the thoughtful brainstorming, comments, and advice! Am planning to try the plywood next, see how that goes. If that fails, move it to the other wall, which at least has a downstairs supporting wall under it. Will give thought to a platform, too; Whirlpool sells some, but they seem more for height than stability. Re the vibration pads I got, they're 1" thick rubber and cork, and don't do much more than diddly.
I do like the image of the clothes not moving while the washer pings around outside it. :)
Curmudgeon, everyone knew where we were putting this unit -- the contractors and the appliance store that sold it to us. No one said boo. The salesmen at the appliance store still maintain that plenty of people install on 2nd floors without a problem, in direct contradiction of what their service people have been telling us.
As for short-sightedness/dumbness in approaches to a fix, yeah, I'd like to keep as close to our original plan as possible, until such a time as it proves impossible. Renovation exhaustion will do that to a man.
thanks again, Ty
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com (Ty Burr) wrote in message

This is highly unlikely seeing how many service people have looked at it but... I had the same problem with my washer after getting new vinyl installed. Then the fill valve stuck and flooded the hall. When I pulled it out of the alcove I discovered that one of the back leg self levelers had disconnected. After re-installing, no more problems.
Harry K
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Also make sure the nuts on the legs are tight against the washer.

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It is possible that the natural frequency of your home matches that (or a multiple) of the frequency of the washing machine motor. (huh?) Changing washing machines might help, but the new one may be just as bad. You could try using some 4x4s to brace the flooring underneath. Or, possibly make a raised hollow floor and fill it with sand to add weight to dampen the vibrations. A concrete slab may also work. When everything is still and quiet, I can feel my house shake a little too during the spin cycle. My machine is on the first floor.
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Ty Burr wrote:

i remember as a kid we had a front loader washing machine.. it had to be bolted to the cement floor in the garage as it was designed this way and before doing it my day just plug it in and it walked all over the place....get a top loader and get over the problem....
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Current front loaders are nothing like the ones available decades ago.

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