Common Washing Machine Problems & How to Troubleshoot Them

A washer filling up

Which household appliance is the most important in your home? That’s a difficult question to answer. Most people would say the refrigerator, some might say the stove, but we think that one we tend to overlook is actually the most vital: the washing machine. For most of us, laundry machines are something we take for granted.

We use them at least a few times a week and rely on them to keep our household functional, but rarely think about them until something goes wrong.

Unlike other appliances, we rarely have an alternative around. Your microwave can be used in place of the stove, coolers and ice can replace the fridge, but do you have the equipment needed for handwashing?

Because of this, it’s important that your washing machine is repaired as soon as something goes wrong. To help you navigate any potential trouble, take a look at a few of the more common washing machine problems below.

You Press the Button, but the Washer Does Nothing

The most likely culprit of the entire washing machine not working is something wrong with the power source, but there are other possibilities. There are several possibilities here.

  1. Somehow, the washing machine has become unplugged. This should always be the first thing you check anytime an appliance quits working altogether. If it is plugged in, move on to the following items.
  2. The outlet is no longer receiving power. While you will likely first conclude that the problem is with the machine, it could be the outlet. If there are two plugs in the outlet, try the other one and see if the machine receives power. If not, bring another small appliance over and test it to see if it works. If it does, the problem is with the machine. If it does not, the problem is most likely only with your power source.
  3. If there is power, consider that perhaps the motor in the machine is overheated. Allow it to rest for a few hours and then try again. If it works, you do not need to fear using the machine to complete a load or two, but you also need to call in a professional to determine why the machine is overheating, ensuring the machine will work in the long term and also ensuring your safety.
  4. If there is power and the machine does not start working after having time to cool, check to see if the machine is paused, if the lid is up, or if the lid is not latching. If it is paused, you can manually switch to the next cycle. If the lid is up, close it and see if it latches and then begins. If the lid is not latching, check to see if the latch probe is making contact; if it is not, the washing machine is not receiving the signal that the lid is secure and it will not function.
  5. If none of these appear to be the issue, and the machine has already pulled in water, try adding a bit more water. Some models will not work until the water reaches a certain level; it’s possible that there is something wrong with the sensors, either leading to the machine not taking in enough water or not realizing that enough is there. Another option is to change the knob selecting the water level to a lesser level and see if that works.
  6. If there is no power, check the circuit breaker, lid switch, or fuse box. If you see no problems there, contact an electrician.

The Washing Machine Isn’t Draining

In most cases, the solution to this problem is pretty simple. Let’s take a look at what you might be dealing with.

  1. Before trying anything else, inspect the drain hose. If there are any kinks, work them out.
  2. Next, check the lint filter on the drain hose and the hose itself for clogs and debris. This tends to be the most common reason why a machine will not drain, with the culprit usually being those socks that go missing.
  3. If neither of these is the problem, it’s possible that the pump is jammed. Drain the machine and remove the hoses, then see if you can find anything jamming the pump itself. If you do, remove them. If not, leave the pump alone. This is a delicate part of the machine and should be left to professionals.
  4. If you find no blockage, it’s possible that the pump may need to be replaced or there is something wrong with the transmission. Neither of these are things to fix yourself, so at this point, you should call a repair service.
  5. If none of these is the problem, consider that there could be a problem with the drainage system in your home and contact a plumber.

The Washer Leaks

The likely culprit, in this case, will depend on which cycles the leak occurs during and which type of machine you have.

  1. The most common time to see a washing machine leak is during the spin cycle, this is usually due to a leaky drain hose. Inspect the hose for damage and if you find any, replace it.
  2. If you notice the leak when the machine is filling, check the fill hoses for the same problems.
  3. Sometimes the water in your home can react with the detergent you use and cause over-foaming. If you notice that the leak is due to the soap bubbling out of the machine, use less detergent than called for on the bottle until you find the amount that works for your home.
  4. If you have a front-load washer and the leaks are coming from around the door, this indicates a problem with the seal. In most cases, this is because the seal is dirty. A good cleaning will most likely take care of this, but if it doesn’t, it’s possible the seal has gone bad. In this case, contact a professional, so they can replace the seal correctly.
  5. Other potential culprits of a leaking machine include pump leaks and tub leaks caused by corrosion. Both of these are issues that should be left to professionals to fix.

Before You Attempt a DIY Fix

It is vital that, before you attempt any fixes on your machine, you turn off the power, only turning it on to test the fix. If you are removing parts, it’s a good idea to use masking tape to label them with what they are and the order you took them off to make reassembling the machine easier.

Not Ready for DIY?

Whether you’re worried about trying it yourself, have hit a roadblock, or just prefer to outsource the task, West Coast Chief Repair is happy to help. We will diagnose the problem quickly and explain what is needed to repair the machine, giving you an estimate before we begin any work. Simply give us a call and we will be at your home as soon as possible.



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