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Things to Check Before You Call the Repairman: Washer

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Washer problems you can correct before you call the repairman.

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Washer won't run

Is it plugged in? This seems so simple but dozens of repairmen have told me that's often all it takes to make an appliance work.

Washer won't run and it's plugged in

Check your central home electrical box to see if a fuse has blown or a circuit breaker has tripped. You may be able to replace the fuse or turn the breaker back on. If this happens frequently, call an electrician immediately!

Washer will not fill with water

Check to see if the water valves are open. You should have two valves - a hot and a cold. Even if you always wash in cold water, some washers won't operate unless both valves are open. If your machine is getting water but it fills very slowly, you may just need to open the valve more.

Washer will not fill and water valves are open

If the washer won't fill and the water valves are open, you may have a clog in the filter screen. Unplug the machine. Turn off the water valves. Get a bucket to catch the remaining water in the hoses. Unscrew the hoses from your machine and check to see if there is a clog in the filter. A simple cleaning may do the trick to get your washer working again.

Washer is making a terrible thumping noise

Quite often this happens because the washer has been loaded improperly or the laundry has shifted during the cycle. Never load clothing on just one side of the central agitator, distribute it evenly around the washer's tub. If the thumping occurs during a cycle, simply stop the machine and redistribute the wet clothing.

Water puddles on the floor

The first thing to check is the connection of the water hoses to the valves. If you find any dampness, tighten immediately. If the hose appears to have small splits, replace immediately. I've had a water hose burst and it is a huge mess to clean. Washer hoses should be checked and replaced regularly to prevent this problem.

Soapy puddles on the floor

If you have a front-loading machine, be certain that you are using an HE - high efficiency - detergent. These are formulated to be low-sudsing and to be used in the lower levels of water in a front-loading washer.

Front-loading machines have a small overflow system usually on the back of the machine. If you have too many suds, they are probably escaping from there.

Clothes are still wet after spin cycle

If your clothing is still quite wet after the spin cycle, first check to see if the drain hose is kinked or crushed. If your washer "dances" during cycles, it may have moved and kinked the hose.

If that is not the problem, the drain hose could be clogged with lint or hair. It can easily be cleaned with a thin, long-handled brush. Pet shops carry the brushes to clean aquarium tubes if you can't find one at the hardware store.

No clue what's wrong

Hopefully you've kept the operating manual. Get it out and read it! You may just find the answer to your question. If you don't have the manual, visit the manufacturer's Web site. It may take a little time but it's much less expensive than a repair call.

Still no clue

One last thing to do before calling a repairman is to visit online appliance repair sites. Two that I find are very helpful are RepairClinic and FixItNow .
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