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How To Troubleshoot Your Washer's Problems

Washer on the fritz? We can help. These tips will help you troubleshoot problems

Learn to diagnose and fix issues with your washing machine

The washing machine is a truly unsung hero in your home. Gone are the days of cleaning clothes with a washboard and bucket thanks to the modern era in which we live. Despite all our technological advances, however, there doesn’t exist an appliance which is immune to failure—although there really should!

Your washing machine is probably not an appliance you give much thought to, until the day it actually stops working. And it never happens at an ideal moment, like when you’re all caught up on laundry and have a bunch of free time on your hands. Instead it’s on that inevitable day when the dirty clothes pile has overtaken the hamper, that your washer decides to throw up the proverbial deuce.

Fortunately, most washing machine malfunctions don’t require a call to an appliance repair pro and are simple enough to service yourself. Here are the top causes of your washer’s problems, along with their recommended troubleshooting solutions.

Safety First!

No matter what your washer’s suspected issue, just make sure you heed this safety warning. When working on any type of electrical appliance, always ensure that you unplug the machine before even attempting a repair. That means absolutely no power should reach the appliance even if you’re just doing some simple troubleshooting. Your life is much more valuable than any washing machine, even if it is a front-load, stainless-steel Alexa-enabled model.

Washer Won’t Turn On

Washers that won’t turn on signify a problem with the flow of electricity to the machine. You’ll first need to use a multi-meter to check the voltage on the outlet where you plug in your washer. If you discover no electricity is running to the washer, you’ll then want to check your breaker box to search for any flipped breakers.

If you don’t find any issue with the breaker, it’s likely that the outlet itself has gone bad and will need to be replaced. It’s recommended at this point to call an electrician to inspect and replace the affected outlet.

Washer Turns on But Won’t Start

If you’ve made it past the power on stage but your washer won’t start up, this may be due to a lid switch failure. Washers rely on the lid switch activating in order to start their cycle. However, if there’s something jammed underneath the lid, even something as small as a lint ball, this prevents the lid from fully closing, and stops its switch from activating. Check under your washer’s lid to make sure there is no gunk or debris, and that the lid switch appears in good condition.

Washer Won’t Spin

The spin cycle on a washer helps to remove excess moisture from laundry, so that you’re not dumping a sopping wet shirt the weight of a bowling ball into your dryer. But when your washer’s spin function goes awry, you’ll need to troubleshoot the cause, as putting soaking wet clothes in a dryer will quickly burn it out.

The most likely cause of your washer’s refusal to spin comes from an overfilled or unbalanced load of laundry. Check to see if you’ve thrown in too many clothes, or if one side of the tub has more laundry than the other and make the proper adjustments to balance out the load.

However, if your washer always cuts off before making it to the spin cycle, it could signal a problem with the main drive motor, which is responsible for the spinning and agitation functions. If you suspect a faulty motor to be the culprit, you’ll want to call in a repair professional to diagnose and remedy the problem, as this can be too complicated for a DIY fix.

Flooding on the Floor

Do you find suds on the floor after running your washer? It may be as simple as using too much detergent, in which case, well, just go easy on the soap next load.

However, if your washer leaks out water every time it operates, you may have a clogged drain hose. Remove the hose and inspect it for any kinks or blockage.

If you don’t find any issues with the hose, you’ll next want to check for any objects lodged between the washer’s tub and basket, which can also prevent the machine from draining properly.

If you find no clog in your washer’s hose and no foreign object lodged inside the machine, this may signify a problem within your drain pump, which you may need to remove from the washer and inspect. There are many possible issues a drain pump may experience, including a damaged belt or pulley, seized bearings, or broken impeller blades, in which case replacement of the affected component is necessary.

Washer Leaking Out Front

If you notice water leaking out the window of your front load washer, your problem may be caused by a damaged seal. A front load washer will often develop a leak here, as gunk and debris can easily build up in this spot, which eventually prevents the door from properly closing.

So, after the initial shock wears off from witnessing your pricey front loader spew water, take a deep breath because it’s not as bad as it seems. The problem is easily remedied by simply cleaning the machine’s seal, and ensuring the door closes properly before each laundry cycle.

When in Doubt, Call For Backup

If you’re still in doubt about the cause of your washer’s problem, it’s always best to contact the manufacturer directly, who can advise you if your appliance is still under warranty and send out a qualified technician.

Resources— Think Tank Home, Family Handyman