Washing machines or washers are probably one of the biggest timesavers in all of domestic living. Imagine how long it used to take to wash things by hand in the days before automatic washing machines were invented.
There was a manual “washing machine” invented decades before the automatic electric one. It required human operation to agitate the clothes in a tub. After the agitation, the clothes needed to be rinsed, several times to remove the soap. To do that, the clothes had to be passed through a mangle or wringer, which was a set of rollers with a handle for the user to rotate them. This literally squeezed the water from the laundry items.
Then the laundry items had to be put into clean water, agitated, and then passed through the mangle again. This process had to be repeated until the items were sufficiently clear of soapy water.
If the agitation process wasn’t sufficient, there was the “washboard”, for scrubbing against. The washboard is still popular these days but mainly used in zydeco or skiffle music as a percussion instrument. And of course, prior to all that, there was the old favorite technique of smashing your clothes against a rock down at the local river. There must be a joke about rock music in there…
What could possibly go wrong? Here are a few suggestions:
1) CAN'T SWITCH THE WASHING MACHINE ON
a) Check the power supply to ensure that the machine in plugged in and that there is power coming to the outlet.
b) Make sure that the door is properly closed. There is a switch mechanism that must register that the door is properly closed before the wash cycle can begin.
c) Make sure that the time knob has been set correctly to the desired position and is not stuck between two clicks etc.
2) THE WASHING MACHINE TUB OR WASHER DRUM IS NOT TURNING. This could be caused by whole range of things. Assuming that the machine is plugged in, turned on, a program has been selected, the door is closed properly, AND the machine cycle has not been “paused”...
a) Some machines sit still while the water is being heated to the correct temperature. If there is a fault with either the heater element or the thermostat (temperature sensor), the water may never reach the desired temperature to enable the progam to move on.
b) The motor may have failed
c) The timer (programmer) may be faulty
d) The pressure switch may be faulty
e) The drive belt may have come off or broken
CALL US AT F.A.R. FOR URGENT ATTENTION (301) 683-5959
3) THE WASHING MACHINE WON'T SPIN. Again, numerous possibilities…
a) The pressure switch may be faulty or the tube that enables it to sense how much water in the machine is blocked or clogged. This could make the system think that the machine is still filled with water. The machine should not go into spin cycle if there is too much water in it.
b) The timer/programmer could be at fault
c) Something else in the electronic circuitry could be at fault
d) There could be a fault with the motor.
e) The drive belt may be worn or broken
f) Too much detergent. This can cause too much suds to be produced and this can trick the machine into thinking it is still full.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO USE THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF DETERGENT AND DEFINITELY NOT USE TOO MUCH.
4) THE WASHING MACHINE WON'T DRAIN OR EMPTY
a) This could be caused because the drain pump impeller is jammed
b) There could be a blocked drain hose, or the hose could be kinked
c) The pressure switch could have a fault or a blockage and therefore be falsely registering that the machine is already empty
d) There could be a fault with the timer/programmer
5) THE WASHING MACHINE IS STUCK MID-CYCLE
a) The timer/programmer is faulty
b) The water inlet is faulty and the machine is waiting to fill but will never happen.
c) The heater element is faulty. The machine is waiting for the water to reach the correct temperature but it cannot heat up.
d) The door lock mechanism might be faulty and the machine thinks the door is unlocked.
6) THE WASHING MACHINE WON'T HEAT
a) The heater element is faulty
b) The thermostat (temperature sensor) is faulty
c) A cold wash has been selected by the user. This can sometimes be an "override" option on the front panel of the machine.
7) THERE IS A LEAK FROM THE WASHING MACHINE
a) This could be coming from the door seal on a front loader, which has either become worn out or is damaged in some other way
b) The drain hose might not be sealed at a join
c) The drain pump could be damaged
d) The fill hose might not be sealed at the join properly
e) The tub itself could have become damaged because of improper installation
f) The pressure switch could be faulty and not register that the machine is full and is allowing the machine to keep filling and overflow.
IF THE WASHER IS CONSTANTLY FILLING AND OVERFLOWING, IMMEDIATELY SWITCH IT OFF AND UNPLUG IT FROM THE OUTLET, AND TURN OFF THE WATER INLET TO STOP THE FLOW.
8) WASHER IS SHAKING VIOLENTLY
a) This can be caused by a heavy load that has become tangled tightly in a ball. To correct this you should pause the machine and untangle the load.
b) The washing machine might not be level on the floor and is unbalanced.
9) WASHER / WASHING MACHINE IS SMELLY
a) This can happen if machine has not been used for a while and the door has been left closed. Open the door to allow air to circulate.
b) If you tend to use mainly cold washes, it can be a good idea to occasionally do a very hot wash, even empty, just to dissolve and flush out the machine.
10) THE WASHER DOOR WON'T OPEN (Front loading machines)
a) There is always a delay after a wash cycle before the door lock will release. This is for safety reasons to ensure the drum is not turning after a spin.
b) Could be because the washing machine has not drained completely. The door will remain locked to prevent water pouring out of the door.
c) The washing machine may still be in the middle of a cycle.
d) The door lock mechanism might be faulty
11) THE WASHER / WASHING MACHINE IS MAKING A VERY LOUD NOISE WHEN THE DRUM IS TURNING
a) This can simply be a foreign object accidentally put into the machine with the laundry, like coins or anything that can cause a clanging noise.
b) The other, much more serious, problem could be the drum bearing. If the machine is old, the drum bearing could have worn out. On many washing machines, the drum bearing can be replaced, although this can be a fairly expensive repair. Some judgment about whether a replacement is the best financial option is needed here. If it's an expensive machine, in otherwise good condition, that would cost a lot for a similar replacement, then replacing the bearing could be a good option. Give us a call and we'll be able to give you the facts to help with your decision.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of possible problems we see with washing machines, but it includes the more common ones. Please contact us at Frederick Appliance Repairs on (301) 683-5959 for help and advice.