Washing Machine Repair Self-Help Guide
UK Washing Machine Repair Self-Help Guide
If you are following this advice or want to look inside the cabinet of the machine click here to read an essential warning first. The idea here is simply to give a few tips that might help to get you out of trouble.
It is worth remembering that many washing machines get thrown away every year and as a general rule it is always cheaper to get a washing machine repaired than to buy a new one. The choice comes down to you and when decideding you need to consider the age of the machine and use of the machine as a 15 year old washing machine that is used 3 times a day probably isn’t worth repairing.
- 1. Dead Machine
You go to use the machine and it is completely dead.Make sure that the power is on and plugged in. Make sure that the door is completely closed. Check that the control knob is pulled out or that the on/off switch is on. Try a few different programs. Plug in another appliance such as a table lamp to test the socket.
- 2. Dead but hums quietly.
If it is dead but there is a slight humming noise, check that you have the hot and cold water supply turned on. Sometimes only the plastic tops of the taps turn but not the actual tap shaft itself, so it is worth unscrewing the pipe from the machine (if you feel confident to do so) to check that you have a good supply of water to the machine. Check that the water inlet hoses are not kinked, stopping the water supply. In cold weather consider the possibility that the pipes are frozen, particularly if the machine is in an out-house or garage.
- 3. Not draining, Machines with filters.
If your machine has a filter this is a prime suspect. Do not take the filter out when the machine is full of water as this will give you a massive flood. If you have access to the waste hose of the machine the water will usually drain out if this is laid down on the floor into a washing up bowl. A bucket is usually too high. You may have to release the hose from a clip at the back to do this. On most machines it is only the height of the drain hose that keeps the water in, so if the waste hose comes out of the machine at the top it is not possible to use this method. In these cases there is often a small drain down pipe at the front behind the kick panel. The water flow may be very slow. Once drained, check and clear the filter. If the filter is not blocked, do not refill the machine with water until you know why it did not drain.
- 4. Not draining, General advice.There may be a blockage that is stopping the water from flowing. On machines that have their waste pipe connected under the kitchen sink it is always worth checking that the plumbing is not blocked with fat or lint at this junction. Check for kinking of the waste hose, this may of course release itself as you pull the machine forward. As for blockages and obstructions inside the machine itself it would be difficult to give any real guidance as there are so many models.
- 5. The drum does not rotate.
The belt may have broken. The drum may be jammed by an item of clothing. The main motor may be faulty. There may be a broken wire to the motor. The main thing in all these cases is to be absolutely sure of the diagnosis before proceeding. It is very common for people to assume that a major component is faulty, when the fault is really quite minor.
- 6. The drum fails to strike into spin.
If the machine has out-of-balance spin protection, then a small load or single heavy item may prevent the machine from striking into spin, even though all the water has pumped away. The control system for the fill level may need attention, or there may be a broken or shorting wire somewhere. More serious faults may be due to module, timer or motor failure.
- 7. The door won’t open.
This is often caused by the fact that the water has not pumped away. Refer to the not pumping section if this is the case. Forcing the door open is never a good idea as it usually breaks parts that are not at fault and increases the cost of repair. If the door will still not open the machine is empty, it may be because the lock is defective, parts of the actual door handle are broken or the mechanical parts of the interlock system inside the machine have been damaged. Unless you are confident of your diagnosis it is probably best to call a repairman.
- 9. Noisy spinning
Often this is caused by wear of the drum bearings. If the drum bearings are worn there will often be a brown rusty stain under the machine towards the back and/or the drum will seem loose on its spindle. Getting the machine repaired before the bearings collapse is a good idea, since persistent use in this condition often results in other parts getting damaged! If there is no rusty stain and the drum does not seem to be excessively loose on its spindle, the noise may be coming from the motor or the pump or from a foreign object inside the machine somewhere. Clonking can be caused by loose components or loose concrete weights inside the machine, or even simply because the machine is not standing squarely on all four feet or wheels.
- 10. Machine jumps about.
Sometimes a large item or a few items of clothing form into a ball and cause the machine to become unbalanced. Reloading the machine will cure this. If the machine is not installed so all the feet or wheels are firmly against the floor it will jump about. If there is a partial blockage of the waste system and the machine begins to spin with some water still in it may cause this too. On the more serious side many machines can develop a fault which causes the motor to drive the drum at the wrong speed at the wrong time which causes sudden violent lurching of the machine. If this is happening do not use the machine until it is repaired.Some machines give an occasional lurch as the motor adjusts to the load of the washing. As long as this is not too bad or too often it should not cause a problem.
- 11. Major flooding or Overfilling.
If there is a sudden major flood from the machine without warning, first check that wherever the machine drains to is not blocked and overflowing. This cannot usually happen if the machine is connected to the plumbing under the sink. If the machine itself has much too much water in it the control system for the fill level needs to be checked. The same fault can cause the machine to begin washing and heating with no water, causing smoke inside the drum, which can be very alarming.
- 12. Leaking during use.
Leaks coming from the actual machine can be caused by component failure such as the door gasket, various hoses, the pump, or from defective or loose seals or joints.
- 13. Leaking when not in use.
This is usually caused by faulty washers on the inlet hoses, faulty inlet hoses themselves or defective inlet taps. If the pump is leaking very slowly it may take a day before the water stops seeping out after the machine has been in use, as there is always some water left in the sump of the machine at the end of the wash.
- 14. Smoke inside the drum.
This is commonly caused by a problem with the control system for the fill level. The heater may have come on with no water in the drum. Switch off the machine and do not try to use it until the problem has been properly diagnosed and fixed. If the machine appears to right itself, do not be tempted to use it as there is a danger that the fault will happen again or even worse cause a major flood
- 15. The fuse blows.
First check to make sure that you are not trying to run too many appliances on one socket with a multiple socket extension lead or plug adaptor. The washing machine should be plugged direct into a socket on its own, or wired up to a spur on its own. Assuming this is the case, if the fuse on the washing machine blows, or the household electricity cut out switches off the power when the machine is used, take it as a warning that there is a fault on the machine that requires expert attention. Avoid repeatedly changing the fuse as this can cause further damage to the machine itself.
- 16. Fills with water when not in use.
If the machine waste is connected directly to the plumbing under the sink, it may be that the water draining from the sink is flowing back into the machine rather than going to the main drain. Unless the waste pipe to the main drain is blocked, this can be rectified by raising the height of the washing machine waste hose at some point so that it is higher than the outlet pipe from the sink. The only other cause of this fault is one or both of the inlet valves of the machine letting water in all the time, much the same as a dripping tap that will not turn off completely. Turning off the water supply to the machine should stop this until the valve(s) can be replaced.
- 17. Fills and drains at the same time.
This is normally caused by a faulty installation where the end of the waste hose is below the fill level of the machine and syphoning begins at some point in the cycle. Never poke the waste hose right down into a u-bend, have the waste pipe too low or the open end below the water level in the machine (even if part of the hose is above the normal water level)
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.
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