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When my washer was brand new (not connected to any hoses), I noticed a liquid sloshing sound whenever I moved it around. The washer has been disconnected for about 2 years now and the liquid sloshing sound is still there, so I don't think this is water that has accumulated from washing clothes. I have done some research and I think that it is used as weight to help balance the washer as the drum spins around.

My questions are: what is this liquid, its true purpose, and will it freeze/expand if left in a non-climate-controlled location? I have moved the washing machine to a new storage location that is covered and sealed from the elements, but has no heating or cooling.

  • What make and model is your washer? If such a counterweight existed it would be readily apparent on a parts diagram or listed as a replacement part. – Freiheit Oct 5 '16 at 19:29
  • Either there was water left in the machine as a result of it being tested or the sound you hear is like liquid sloshing but not actually that - the dampers and/or springs could make a very similar sound. If there is water in it, freezing is unlikely to cause a problem if it is not restricted in its expansion. – Andrew Morton Oct 5 '16 at 20:58
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The washers are shipped with water in them. The reason is that, at the factory, they have to test them before shipping. Which means you hook them up and turn them on. Washing machines don't drain 100% of the water from the drum, so what you're hearing is the remainder of that test. In most cases, it's probably 1-2 gallons.

The water doesn't hurt the machine(it's designed to hold this residual water, after all). As to freezing, if the water was frozen the liquid water it would add to start a new wash cycle would likely melt it enough to not harm the machine.

A Sears salesman confirmed this on their site

All washers are tested for leaks with water. It's not uncommon to find a slightly wet spot on the box. The spin basket also has a balance ring attached at the top which is half filled with water that you may be hearing sloshing around. This is normal and the balance ring is sealed to prevent the water from escaping. The balance ring is not likely leaking and the wet spot is likely from when the washer was tested.

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Usually the balance mechanisms are mechanical. Washers are shipped without drain hoses so any liquid in the bottom would drain out. If it is in a cold area you might want to remove the drain hose at the bottom or lay the hose flat on the ground and let it empty the bottom of the machine.

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Many front loaders use a fluid dynamic balance system. They balance the drum at the higher speeds that front loaders spin. Since most of these systems are proprietary designs you would need to contact the manufacturer to find out the specifics for your particular model.

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