Washing Machine FAQ

UK Front Loading Washing Machine FAQ

  1. Things that get stuck
    If you have a washing machine I can just about guarantee that at some stage something was/is/will be stuck in it somewhere at some time. So what are the things that get stuck and how do they get in there? The list is endless and can get bizarre but I am going to start with my favourite offender – the bra support wire. This curved little piece of under bosom technology could not have been better designed by a washing machine saboteur. What happens? Stage one is the escape from the bra through the end of the strip into which it is sewn, assisted by the action of the machine; Stage two is the migration from the drum to the works through the little holes or the gap between the drum and the door seal; Stage three is the aquatic journey to the centre of the works where maximum damage is inflicted. Stage four is when the repairman has to come in get it out again.
    What else gets stuck? Coins, buttons, ribbons, laces, paper clips, matches, cocktail sticks, rubber bands, hair clips, hair bands, badges, pens, nails, screws, bracelets, rings and plastic cards of all types are all high up on the list but the main contender for the number one slot has to be the small child’s sock. If you want to help its popularity in the ‘Items that get stuck’ top ten, then all you have to do is load your machine to the point at which you know there is too much in (as usual) then add the little sock. Cram or slam the door shut, add soap, turn on, sit back and wait for it to get into your washing machine’s works.

  2. Can I prevent things getting stuck?
    Check all pockets etc for small items, especially screws and nails 5 pence pieces etc. Put socks and small items in first, towards the back of the drum, or put them in a special string bag or pillow case. Rinse off gritty mud. Do not overload.

  3. Water Softening Agents
    There are a few of these around: The idea being to add them to each wash to keep the demon lime-scale away. These are the products that have names that suggest that calcium deposits will be gone if you use them, and are often advertised on the TV by a fine young engineer waving the prong of a heater under a house-wife’s nose. If you live in a soft water area, don’t even think about it! You just don’t need it because you won’t get scale forming. If you live in a hard water area consider the cost of the stuff spread over about 10 years. If that is not enough to buy a new machine, then it should be much more than the cost of repairs that you are theoretically saving. Those repairs might never happen after all! The main part you are trying to save by using a softener is the heater, which is an element similar to that of an electric kettle. Replacement for most machines is around the 70 pound mark, and they don’t often pack up under ten years, however much scale is deposited on them. With lower temperature washes the amount of scale deposited is considerably less, and machines and powders/liquids are increasingly being designed for cooler washing. Having said all that, if money is no problem, it can’t hurt to add some if you really want to: Just don’t expect it to protect against the machine going wrong in other respects, because it won’t!

  4. How Much Can I Get Away With?
    We all play this game: Trying to judge how much can be crammed into the machine and get away with it! If you want to play by the official rules, first look at the handbook for the machine and see what the recommended maximum dry weight capacity is, weigh each item of clothing on your kitchen scales, get out the calculator and add all the weights together and load the small items first. Don’t forget that the dry weight capacity is usually halved if you are washing very absorbent fleecy/bulky materials. What do you mean, you can’t be bothered? Ok, just loosely pack the machine until the drum is about two-thirds full, and you should be pretty well right.
    Having said all that, there are some items that have a label that says ‘Washable’ that should never be put into a domestic washing machine. Lets face it: an elephant is washable, but would you pop in your front loader for a freshen up? The items to be avoided include rubber-backed bath mats, pillows, duvets, old rugs, anything thickly covered in gritty mud, curtains with the hooks on, anything that is so old that it is in danger of disintegrating and single heavy items that cannot be evenly spread around the drum.
    A standard front loader has a capacity of about 4 to 5 Kgs, and below are the approximate weights of some common items that you might be washing.

    Medium Adult Jeans 750 grams

    XL T-shirt 250 grams

    Medium Sweat Shirt 400 grams

    Single Duvet cover 600 grams

    Kingsize Duvet Cover 1000 grams

    Single Sheet 550 grms

    Large Towel 750 grams

  5. What’s That Smell?
    All washing machines start to smell a bit if they are left unused for a few days. Imagine what your bath would look like after a couple of years if you never wiped it out. That is why they start to smell! The biological components of washing powders/liquids probably play a part in the smell situation, but variation between products should minimise the build up of any particular agent. An occasional hot wash should also keep it down, and keeping the door open can’t hurt. If the machine waste is connected under the sink, dirty water can go back into the machine in certain circumstances, and that will cause exceptional smells.

  6. Powder, Liquid or Tablet?
    Washing machines have mostly got a soap and conditioner dispenser nowadays so you can put the powder in easily. When liquid came along it was hard to tell people that you can just put the powder/liquid straight in the tub. The answer was to tell them to put it in a little ball gizmo. Now we have the tablet and some new gizmo to go with it. Whatever the soap format, the machine mixes the soap and water together and the clothes get washed. If any soap format was better in all considerations we would all know about it by now, so just relax and don’t worry about it. Use what you like or what is cheapest and works for you. The only thing to watch out for if you are using powder is to make sure your water inlet pressure is sufficient to flush the powder out of the soap dispenser and dissolve it. If you let lumps of damp undissolved powder get into the machine there is a chance that they could block something up in the works.

  7. What has a washing machine got inside?
    A Front Loading Washing Machine consists of:
    Cabinet – everything mounts on or in it

    Feet – adjustable feet allow cabinet to be firm and level on floor

    Outer Container – contains the water

    Drum – holds clothes and rotates

    Door – allows access to the drum which can be closed water tight

    Door Interlock – A system to ensure that the machine cannot work with the door open, can be mechanical, electrical and pneumatic

    Door Gasket – seals access hole between cabinet and outer container

    Suspension System – allows dynamic movement of outer container

    Weight(s) – stabilises outer container when full of water and clothes

    Timer/program Switch – controls operations using a synchronous motor
    indexing according to periferal signals (pressure switch and
    thermostat(s) and controls the motor speed and direction of rotation

    Selection switches Allow alternative modes of operation in addition to
    main programs

    Soap Dispenser – allows inlet valves to flush soap/conditioner at the
    correct times

    Inlet Hoses – carry water into machine

    Water Inlet valve(s) – electically operated solenoid valves allow water
    inlet

    Pressure Switch – connected to a pressure chamber on the bottom of the
    outer container via an air pipe this pneumatic device controls the fill
    level

    Heater – a solid element mounted in the lower section of the outer
    container, heats the water

    Thermostat – controls the temperature of the water

    Motor – Supplies the motive power for the drum movement

    Module – controls the speed of the motor according to timer switching

    Belt – transfers the action of the motor to the drum via the drum pulley
    and shaft

    Drum Pulley – connects to drum shaft outside the outer container

    Drum Shaft – connects drum pulley to drum through bearings and seal

    Drum Bearings and Seal – allow smooth quiet rotation of drum and power
    transmission to drum without leakage from outer container

    Pump – electrically operated unit with rotary impellor to discharge the
    water

    Outlet Hose – carries the water from pump to drain

    Filter (if fitted) allows user to remove lint and foreign objects that
    have escaped from the drum and got into the outer container

  8. Why does a washing machine weigh so much?
    All washing machines have to have some weights inside them to stabilize them during the wash and spin actions. If the weight of the clothes was greater than the weight of the machine, the thing would go into orbit during the spin cycle. Most machines have concrete weights, some have steel ones. The other components such as the motor, drum and tub add to the weight of course, but a machine is surprisingly light without its concrete weights.

  9. How can I move it out for cleaning?
    If you want to move your machine to clean behind it, first ensure that the power cable, fill hoses and drain hose are long enough. Turn off the water supply taps in case a flexible pipe breaks. Disconnect any pipes that are too short. Some machines have wheels, some have feet and some have wheels on the back and feet on the front. Machines with four wheels should be no problem to roll forward and back but need a slight tilt onto the front or back wheels to change direction. Providing you have a non-porous surface, machines with feet can be moved easily by smearing a little washing up liquid on the feet. On a surface such as carpet, the machine has to be ‘walked’ a little at a time and turned by rotating with one corner touching the ground as an axis point. When refitting always make sure that the drain hose does not kink or pop out of the waste connection, the fill hoses do not kink and the power cable is not crushed or looped under the machine. If you have to disconnect the plumbing to move the machine, try to reconnect and switch on the water while you can still see the joints, because slight leakage is common on these joints and can go on unnoticed behind the machine.


Please note that all the advice given is intended only as a guide and that no responsibility for loss or damage will be accepted as a result of implementation of such advice. If you are not confident about what to do, leave it to a repairman. Under no circumstances remove the top cover,the backcover, or access the underside of the washing machine when the electricity supply is still connected. If you do look inside the washing machine, always disconnect the power completely rather than just switching it off at the switch as there may be an error in the house wiring that means that the live side of the supply is still running through the washing machine.

Go back to the top of the page.

Share

11 Responses to “Washing Machine FAQ”

  1. I HAVE A HOTPOINT WASHING MACHINE, AND RECENTLY IT HAS BECOME VERY NOISY WHILST SPINNING, IT’S BEGINING TO SOUND LIKE A LOW FLYING HELLICOPTER! CAN YOU HELP?
    RICHARD

    [Reply]

    Washing Machine Man Reply:

    Hi Richard,

    Usually most cases of noisy spin cycles are due to the bearings. If you tell me which model you have I can tell you which bearings you need.

    [Reply]

    SanusiIM Reply:

    i have the same problem and my own machine is a Norge model cav2000akw

    [Reply]

    SanusiIM Reply:

    i have the same problem and my own machine is norge LWN204KV

  2. faisal says:

    hi
    can you please help me. i have hotpoint washing machine which have clothes weight limit of 8kg i want to know will it effect my machine if i wash less then 8kg of clothes ( e.g 3 or 4kg).

    please let know if you can thanks

    [Reply]

  3. anthony says:

    i have a hotpoint lft 114 and the two middle lights keep flashing what does mean

    [Reply]

  4. I have a front loader that washed clothes yesterday and the last load gave an E1, F6 error code.
    Model # WFW94HEXR0
    Serial# C04550405
    I do not understand what has happened.

    Thank you if you can help

    [Reply]

  5. Aoife says:

    Hi I have washed a chain by mistake, in the pocket of a cardigan, and cannot find it! It is a beko wmc126w, any tips on getting it back? I have tried front filter, rim and external drain.

    [Reply]

  6. Richard says:

    My washer/dryer a Hotpoint 420 has stopped mid cycle. The 3rd light down (rinse/hold) is flashing slowly and the on/off. Do you have any idea where the fault may lie? TIA

    [Reply]

  7. leanne says:

    Hi why does my soap powder left in draw after a cycle please?

    [Reply]

  8. leanne says:

    Why is soap powder left in draw after cycle please?

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply