5 Common Washing Machine Problems

Washer Problems

Question 1: Why does my washing machine do nothing when I turn it on?

Answer 1: Is your washer getting power? The first things to check if your washer suddenly stops working are your circuit breaker, lid switch, or fuse box. After making sure there is power to the appliance, you can start troubleshooting other problems. To verify there is power at the outlet, try plugging in a small electric appliance such as a hair dryer or radio.

Sometimes the motor will overheat and then requires a cool down period before it will restart.

Is the machine in a pause cycle? Is the lid up? Washers will not spin or agitate if the lid is up. There is a lid switch probe that can sometimes become dislodged. This is generally a little plastic piece that is in the hole under the lid on the washer. This probe activates the lid switch when the lid is put down. Manually advance the timer if the pause is too long.

There are some washer models out there that will not run at all until the water is filled to the level that has been selected. Sometimes the mechanical timer knob on certain washers doesn’t exactly line up with the graphics on the control panel. You can try advancing the timer slightly and pull the knob out again to see if it will start.

Question 2: Why is the washer not agitating and/or spinning?

Answer 2: Make sure the lid is closed. There is a switch inside that completes the connection. Your washer may not spin or agitate if this connection is not completed. Make sure that the speed selector switch is not between speeds. Verify that the washer is not in a soak cycle. You can also reset the water level up or down to make sure that the water level control switch isn’t stuck. If you hear a humming sound when the washer is full of water, you may have something stuck in the drain pump.

If one of these is not the problem, check the belt. The main drive motor has two distinct functions. The first function is to spin the basket; the second function is to reciprocate your agitator. Inside your washer’s transmission is a crank type gear and connecting rods that are used to agitate the washer, with the spinning coming from the washer motor itself. This usually entails some sort of clutch mechanism. Some things to check if your washer is not agitating and/or spinning are:

If you notice weak or no agitation, the splines connecting the agitator to the drive shaft may be stripped and need to be replaced.

After a lot of use, belts can become worn or damaged. Replace any worn or damaged belts immediately. If you have a broken belt, replace it and check the pulley to make sure it’s not seized.

Sometimes the drive pulley can wear out and it won’t turn the drive belt. Look for wear marks, pits, or uneven spots. It’s best to just replace it with a new pulley.

Many washers use a reversing motor. Sometimes it will continue to work in one direction even if it won’t spin in the other direction. If your washer has a drive motor issue, you probably need to replace the motor with a new one. Call a professional appliance repair person to verify this first.

The lid switch is a safety device that’s there to protect you from sticking your hands into a spinning washer. If this switch goes bad, the washer will not work. You will have to replace it. It is inside the main housing for the washer, and located near the door frame.

The coupler connects the motor to the transmission. After lengthy use, this plastic and rubber coupler can wear out. If this happens, you need to replace it.

Transmission and clutch assemblies can cause agitator and spinning problems They are fairly complex, so if you suspect you have transmission or clutch issues it’s probably in your best interest to call a professional appliance repair person.

Question 3: Why won’t the washer drain the water?

Answer 3: If there is a drain issue, sometimes there is an obvious solution. Check the drain hose for any kinks, as well as checking any lint filters in or on the drain hose. Is there a lint sock on the end that’s full? Perhaps the drain line itself is plugged. You will want to make sure that the house drain system is not backed up or plugged. Always make sure that the washer drain hose is above the level of water in the drain tub. Some Whirlpool/Kenmore washers make use of a side-check valve near the tub outlet which may get clogged. A standpipe should be at least 1 1/4 inches in diameter, and never seal a drain hose into a standpipe. This can lead to back-siphoning. You also want to make sure that the standpipe is less than 96 inches in height.

Pump problems show various symptoms. Sometimes the pump will lock up and seize. If the motor is running, it will continue to try to turn the pump. In the case of belt-driven pumps, the belt may break or burn through. The pulley may shear off. If there is enough tension on the belt, and the motor continues to try to turn it, you may wind up with a seized motor as well. The pump itself may have seized bearings, be jammed by clothing or another object; or the impeller blades may be broken off. The usual fix is to replace the pump.

If you think your pump may be jammed, drain out your tub and remove the hoses. Look inside the hoses and see if there are any obstructions. Feel around inside the pump inlets for anything that may be jamming the pump itself. You can also use long-nosed pliers to feel around inside the pump for any items that may be causing a jam. If you haven’t found a jam, and you still believe there may be a jam in the pump, you can completely remove the pump from the washer and inspect it more closely.

Occasionally, transmission gears may become worn, or some other internal part may go bad. Some older washer models have an electric-mechanical shifter. If it won’t shift, it’s best to call a professional appliance repair person to address this issue. If your transmission is leaking oil, there are really only two options at this point, either run it until it dies completely, or replace it now.
Question 4: Why won’t the washer finish the cycle?

Answer 4: If the washer won’t finish a cycle, it probably means that your timer went bad or stalled. You can take the control panel off and look at the contacts for scorching or corrosion.

Question 5: Why is the washing machineĀ leaking?
Answer 5: If it only leaks during a spin cycle, it’s probably caused by a leaky drain hose.

Over-sudsing is a common problem in homes with a water softener. Soft water and hot water use less detergent, while hard water and cold water need more detergent to clean well. This product, SofChek, will help you to determine if you have soft or hard water in a minute or less. These easy-to-use strips measure the hardness of your water in less than a minute. Just simply look at the color chart provided on the bottle for an instant read-out of the strip to help determine the proper amount of detergent. Lowering the amount of detergent used may alleviate any over-sudsing issues.

Leaks on a front-load washer can occur around the door seal. This can happen because of a build-up of dirt and soap on the seal itself preventing a proper seal from taking place. Wipe the door seal carefully making sure that the edge of the gasket is clean.

Parts of a plastic bleach dispenser can crack or break off, causing a leak intermittently during the flush process. This is because bleach is a very corrosive chemical. Heavy use of liquid chlorine bleach can pit and rust stainless steel parts. Consider switching to oxygenating bleach, although this type of bleach doesn’t get your whites as white as they can get with liquid chlorine bleach. The bleach dispenser is a replacement item.

You’ll want to confirm that the fill hoses are connected and properly tightened. Always use new rubber washers when re-installing the hoses. Take care not to over-tighten the connection. Other leaks may be caused by the drain hose being cracked, or by a leaky connection at the water-inlet valve. Too many suds may cause the appearance of a leak when actually it’s just a sudsy overflow. Sometimes a drain hose leak occurs at the end of the hose where it attaches to the washer. If the hose is long enough you can cut the leaky end off and re-clamp the hose back on. Usually though, when a hose begins to leak, it is best to just replace the hose.

Many pump leaks happen around the seal on the pulley. Some pumps have a weep hole that lets water drip out when this seal begins to go bad. The solution is to rebuild or replace the pump.

Tub leaks are usually caused by a rotted tub. If this is your problem, consider buying a new washer. Sometimes a constant imbalance can be the culprit. This imbalance can rub a hole in the tub if it consistently runs off-balance. It may be possible to repair the tub with an epoxy kit. Tub replacement isn’t usually very economical.

The main tub seal can also leak. This is located where the transmission and the outer tub in the center. If this seal goes bad, it can be very difficult to replace.

Sometimes the water-inlet valve develops a buildup of mineral deposits and rust. To check this, remove the water-inlet valve and visually inspect the surface.

There is a cool product that is designed to help prevent water damage from a leaky washer. It’s called a Washer Floor Tray. This tray catches water leaks and prevents floor damage from overflows. This product is a must for upstairs laundries.

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