Handy Tips to Avoid Washing Machine Repairs
Please note: Metropolitan Plumbing does not undertake washing machine repairs. This is for two reasons:
- In many cases it can be cheaper to simply replace the washing machine rather than repair it.
- There is the potential of voiding the warranty if anyone other than the manufacturer carries out the repair.
Many common practices that lead to washing machine repairs can easily be avoided.
While some machine faults might be complex and require a professional service, there are common washing machine problems and solutions that are worth learning about, perhaps with help from the owner’s manual.
If you’re going to do a DIY check before calling a washing machine repairer or installer, put personal safety first. Make sure you turn off the washing machine and unplug the power cord from the outlet before attempting any washing machine repairs.
So here are some of the most common faults and possible solutions to help you avoid washing machine breakdowns.
Water Not Flowing into Washing Machine
This is one of the common problems that may cause you to call a washing machine technician and consider replacing your machine, but the remedy could be something simple.
Before calling a professional repairer or installing a replacement model, consider these causes:
- Is the water supply valve open?
- Is the filter clogged?
- Is the washing machine door closed properly?
- Is there a kink in the water inlet hose?
- Has the pressure of your water system dropped?
These problems can be easily solved but if you can’t isolate the cause, it might be a more serious fault that requires a professional service.
Washing Machine Does Not Start
This can be caused by a number of faults. The first step is to check the power outlet is working properly.
Unless the power point looks damaged or burned, test it with another appliance and, if it’s functioning, consider some other factors.
If you use the machine for extended periods, it may be a case of the engine overheating. Give it a chance to cool down before attempting to use the machine again.
Most washing machines won’t work if the lid or door has not been closed properly. They have a switch sensor which is responsible for activating the lid switch when it is properly closed. If the sensor is damaged or dislodged the lid switch won’t work and the washer may fail to start.
Another fault which may stop the machine from starting is a defective water level switch, which will tell the machine the water level is insufficient. If you’re unsure about fixing these sensors, it might be time for a service call.
Machine Does Not Spin
If the washing machine is not spinning, once again it could be a simple fault or a mechanical problem.
The main causes could be:
- A blockage stopping the water from draining efficiently. Check that the drain hose is attached properly and the lint trap is clear.
- Make sure you’re not trying to spin a load which is too small. A small load of washing is detected as a risk by the machine’s balance sensors.
- Check the washer’s pump, which is near the base of the machine. This can be accessed through the front kick panel and may need to be cleaned out to remove blockages.
- Check the carbon brushes in the motor. Most washers use two carbon brushes which get a lot of wear and tear. They should be about 25mm in length. If they’re under 10mm the motor will probably not function and the carbon brushes will need replacing.
If the machine is only spinning slowly it could be a more complex issue and it would be best to consult a qualified technician for washing machine repairs.
Machine Does Not Drain
Gravity is what allows the water to drain away from the washer, if the drain hose is not attached at the appropriate angle the drum might fill up with water which hasn’t drained.
In this case the washing machine needs draining, so make sure you’ve moved it to the nearest basin or drain before releasing water from the drain hose.
There could be a blockage in the drain pump or recirculation pump. Make sure you check the front filter for blockages as well as the sump hose. If none of these remedies work, you might have a broken-down pump which may need replacing.
Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?
A musty smell in your washing machine indicates you’ve got bacteria or mould growing in the area.
Bacteria and mould thrive in the darkness of a moist interior tub.
Regular washing will leave residue and this will build-up. This surface of wet matter will start to smell bad over time and can affect the smell of the laundry.
There are several ways to get rid of the smell:
- Use less fabric softener and detergent, which cuts off the food supply for bacteria and mould.
- If you mainly use cold water, run a hot soak or wash as the last cycle to dissolve the surface of wet matter.
- Clean out your drain pump at least once a month.
- Check out various washer cleaner products that are on the market.
There are several faults that can cause a washing machine to vibrate or move too much, including:
- Bad installation – Make sure your washing machine is on a level surface. Most machines have adjustable feet that must be in contact with the floor to prevent the machine from shaking and bouncing.
- Shock absorbers – Unbalanced loads (it’s important to avoid overloading) will cause the washing machine to vibrate and move if shock absorbers are damaged. To access them you must remove the rear or front panel. These need to be replaced if they’re damaged or worn.
- Suspension rings – These are used to either stabilise the tube assembly of the unit’s base or suspend the assembly from the cabinet. When these springs are damaged, detached or stretched there will be excessive vibration. Replace them by removing the top of the front panel.
Washing Machine is Leaking
A washing machine can leak from a number of places.
Generally, a leak will be caused by faulty pipes, but this is not always the case. You must first work out where the leak is coming from before attempting washing machine repairs.
- Leaking pipes – If the water is clear, it has no detergent in it. This means it could be leaking from the inlet pipe or hose. If the water is dirty, it could be a fault drain hose. Remove the cabinet and inspect pipes and hoses for cracks or other faults, which are easy to repair once you’ve found the problem.
- Door leaks – This will usually only happen on front-loading washers. The source is almost always a faulty door boot seal or door catch. To replace the boot seal, you must remove the door assembly and front panel. A door catch must provide a tight seal and is relatively easy to replace.
- Leakage from the drawer – Water can drip from a unit’s detergent dispenser drawer. If it leaks while filling, the water pressure might be too strong, so turn the tap down. If it leaks during the rinse or wash cycle, the tub could be overflowing. In this case, you may need to replace the pressure switch. If water only leaks from the detergent dispenser drawer during the spin cycle, it could be a partial blockage in the draining system. You may need a new pump or filter.
- Underneath leak – If the unit is leaking from underneath, it could be the fill hose. If this is the case, you may need to replace the hose or possibly just the small rubber seal inside it. This type of problem might also indicate a faulty sump hose or water pump, which could need replacing.
These are just a small number of problems that can stop your washing machine from working efficiently. If you’ve got the DIY spirit, some faults can be fixed by the amateur, but don’t forget a warranty can be voided if washing machine repairs are carried out by non-qualified people.
But the best idea is to put safety first and don’t attempt to do any electrical repairs. These should be done by a qualified electrician.
If you’re looking to install a new washing machine, don’t hesitate to call Metropolitan Plumbing, 24/7, every day of the year.