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What's Wrong with My Washer?

Washer Problems Troubleshooting Guide

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What's Wrong with My Washer?

Photo: Max Whittaker/Getty Images

Problem: Washer Won't Run or Fill with Water

Before you panic, there are several simple items you should check before calling a repairman. Every technician can tell you dozens of stories about a magical repair called "plug in the machine".

Solutions

  • Check the water supply. Both hoses must be attached and both water inlet valves open. Be sure the hoses are kink-free and that there is nothing clogging the inlet valve screens.
  • Be sure that the power cord is plugged in well and ensure that there is power to the outlet. Check the circuit breakers to be sure that it is not tripped.
  • Clean the inside lid switch. Most washers must have the lid closed and the lid switch engaged to operate. Lint and dirt can cause the switch to jam and malfunction.

    Problem: Washer Won't Drain or Spin Correctly

    Drainage problems can come from clogged hoses, improper loading of clothes, obstructions or even too much detergent.

    Solutions

  • Even if you check pockets, something small can be overlooked. Coins, pens or even small socks can get caught in the pump or between the basket and tub and slow or block draining.
  • If the washer is overloaded or loaded improperly, it can become unbalanced and will not allow the washer to spin correctly. Adjust and redistribute the wet laundry or remove some to allow the washer to finish spinning.
  • Check the drain hose for proper installation. The end of the drain hose should not be higher than 96 inches above the floor.
  • Remove the drain hose and check for clogs. Remove any residue before reattaching.
  • Do not use too much detergent. An overabundance of suds can slow the draining process and cause the washer to malfunction.

    Problem: Automatic Dispensers Malfunctioning

    You open the washer and the dispensers are still full of detergent or fabric softener. There can be easy solutions.

    Solutions

  • Always use the correct formula in designated dispensers. If the washer manual calls for liquid bleach - never use powder.
  • Every month, clean every dispenser by heating a cup of distilled white vinegar and adding it to the dispenser. Then, run the washer in a regular cycle. The vinegar will clean away any clogs or built-up residue.

    Problem: Washer Odors

    Washer odors can happen in both front-loading and top-loading machines. With just a bit preventive maintenance, you can keep your washer and your laundry smelling clean.

    Solutions

  • Do not use too much detergent. Excessive suds leave dirty residue on washer parts and trap odors.
  • Clean your washer monthly, even if you don't feel it is needed, to prevent odor residue.
  • Check around washer for mold or mildew growth. You may have a problem with excessive moisture. This is both unpleasant and dangerous to your health and must be corrected.

    Specific questions? Just ask here.

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