Does your household panic when the washing machine develops problems, or just mysteriously stops working? Clean clothes are a constant priority, and in large families a laundry backup of even a few days is considered an emergency. But before calling the repairman, there are some simple steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix common washer malfunctions.
1. Washer Won’t Start
Make sure the machine is plugged in properly. Pets and falling objects can knock the plug loose.
Check to see if there’s a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Replace the blown fuse, or reset the breaker.
Determine if the problem is with the outlet by plugging something into it that works in other outlets (e.g. a small lamp). Call an electrician if the outlet isn’t working
Lid or Door Switch
For top load washers, the lid switch has to engage when the lid is closed for the machine to work. With some machines, the lid switch controls the water inlet valve. If the switch is faulty, the machine will not fill with water. In other cases, the machine may fill with water, but not go into the spin cycle.
The switch can become coated with lint and detergent residue, preventing the washer from starting. Use a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol to clean the contact areas.
If the switch is broken, you’ll have to have it replaced.
For front loaders, it’s the door switch that must be closed and the door lock activated before the machine will start.
Check the strike where it engages in the door lock assembly, and replace it if it’s warped or broken.
Replace the door switch if it no longer locks properly.
The washing machine will shut down if the motor overheats.
Restart the machine once the motor cools down.
Call a repairman if this happens frequently.
On some models the timer knob has to line up exactly with the graphics on the control panel. If the knob is even slightly out of alignment, the washer won’t turn on.
Move the timer forward.
Start the washer again.
If the knob is worn out, it won’t be able to turn the machine on, and you’ll have to replace it.
2. Washer Won’t Fill
Make sure both the hot and cold water valves are open. They will be either labeled or colored red and blue.
You may only wash with cold water, but some machines won’t operate unless both valves are open. If your machine is getting water, but filling slowly, make sure the valves are fully open.
Ensure the water hoses are fully extended and not kinked.
You could also have clogged inlet screens that need to be cleaned. This simple cleaning could get your washing working again.
Unplug your machine, and turn off the water valves.
Get a bucket, unscrew the hoses from your machine, and catch any remaining water from the hoses in the bucket.
Spray the filters with water in a spray bottle to remove any dirt.
Use a small stiff brush to get rid of any remaining dirt or debris.
3. Washer is Making Noises
For noise prevention in standard top loader machines, distribute the clothes evenly around the tub, never just on one side of the central agitator. In high efficiency top load washers without a central agitator, don’t overload the tub.
A thumping noise in a top loading machine during the spinning cycle usually indicates the load has shifted. Stop the machine and redistribute the clothes.
Underloading in front load machines can result in noise where one heavy item is flinging around during the final spin.
A gurgling sound could be an indication that something is blocking the drain line. Locate and remove any blockage before it becomes a full-blown clog and causes a flood.
A clicking sound might mean there’s an object caught in the washer drain. You might have missed an item (e.g. buttons, coins, tiny toys) when checking pockets before loading clothes into the machine. Check the drain and remove any item.
Buzzing or humming may mean a foreign object is lodged in your pump, which can sometimes cause it to jam. Removing the object will stop the noise. As the pump is not easily accessible it may be necessary to call the repairman. If there was serious damage, however, you may have to have the pump replaced.
Squealing and screeching sounds indicate an internal mechanical problem. Call your repairman.
4. Vibrating and Moving
Make sure your washer load is balanced.
Check that your floor is level. If not, put your washer on a piece of plywood, using shims if necessary.
Ensure all the washer feet are there and that they’re firmly on the floor. If necessary, level the front two legs, and secure the lock nuts in place. Most washing machines have self-adjusting back legs. Tilt the washer forward until the rear legs are about three inches in the air. Then set the machine down to allow the legs to automatically adjust.
5. Washer Odors
Although front load washing machines are known for developing a musty or mildew smell, top loaders do as well.
Use the right amount of detergent — too much creates excessive suds, leaving a dirty residue that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew.
Do a monthly cleaning of your machine by running a vinegar solution through a hot water cycle.
6. Water Leaks or Puddles
Many times this problem is an easy fix or replacement of an inexpensive part.
Make sure the hose connections are secure and that they’re in good shape, free of cracks. Check that the hose washers are seated in the hoses properly, and also in good shape, free of cracks.
Check the drain hose for any clogs.
Verify the water lines aren’t leaking.
Make sure the washing machine drains properly.
Don’t use too much detergent. Your leaking problem could be the result of over-sudsing.
Use a high efficiency (HE) detergent if you have a front loading machine. A high-sudsing detergent meant for standard top loading washers can overflow with foam and leak onto the floor.
Clean the seal around the door of a front loading machine. It’s a common area for debris build-up, and water will seep out when the door no longer seals properly.
If these tips don’t do the trick, it’s time to call in the pros at C&W Appliance Service. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 for prompt repair to your washing machine and other major appliances.