Washing Machine Repair Guide
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1. Why does my washer do nothing when I turn it on?
2. Why won't the washer stop filling yet it doesn't get full?
3. Why is the water so slow to fill or there's no water at all?
4. Why are the wash and rinse water temperatures incorrect?
5. Why is the cold water setting delivering hot water all of a sudden?
6. Why is the washer not agitating and/or spinning?
7. Why won't the washer drain the water?
8. Why won't the washer finish the cycle?
9. Why is the washer leaking?
10. Why do I have an over-sudsing problem?
11. Why does the washer fill or drip even when it's not turned on?
12. Why is the water level not right for my load size?
13. What are those little pieces of lint on my clothes?
14. Why do I have so much lint on my clothes?
15. Where does all the lint go?
16. How full can I fill my top loading washer?
17. How full can I fill my front loading washer?
18. Why are there thumping sounds coming from my washer?
19. Why do I hear vibrating sounds?
20. Why does my washer seem to walk around the floor?
21. Why won't the lid or door open?
22. Why are my clothes too wet after the spin cycle?
23. Why do my permanent press items come out wrinkled?
24. Why are my clothes all tangled and knotted coming out of the washer?
25. Why are my clothes damaged with holes, tears, or fraying?
26. Why are my clothes coming out with rust stains on them?
27. Why can't I get these nasty stains out of my clothes?
28. Why are there oil stains on my clothes that weren't there before?
29. Why are my clothes losing their color or getting discolored?
30. Why is there a detergent residue on my clothes?
31. What are typical load sizes and water level settings?
32. How delicate is the delicate cycle?
33. What temperature settings should I use?
34. What are the various noises I hear from my washer?
35. What's the best way to wash a heavily soiled load of laundry?
36. What's the best way to clean the exterior of my washer?
37. What can I do to get rid of the stinky smelly foul odor coming from my washer?
38. Why does my washer agitate but it won't fill?
WARNING: To avoid personal injury or death, disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repair work. Use caution working inside any appliance.
Is your washer getting power? The first things to check if your washer suddenly stops working are your circuit breaker, Lid Switch , or fuse box. After making sure there is power to the appliance, you can start troubleshooting other problems. To verify there is power at the outlet, try plugging in a small electric appliance such as a hair dryer or radio.
Sometimes the motor will overheat and then requires a cool down period before it will restart.
Is the machine in a pause cycle? Is the lid up? Washers will not spin or agitate if the lid is up. There is a lid switch probe that can sometimes become dislodged. This is generally a little plastic piece that is in the hole under the lid on the washer. This probe activates the lid switch when the lid is put down. Manually advance the timer if the pause is too long.
There are some washer models out there that will not run at all until the water is filled to the level that has been selected. Sometimes the mechanical timer knob on certain washers doesn't exactly line up with the graphics on the control panel. You can try advancing the timer slightly and pull the knob out again to see if it will start.
Check to see if there are any kinks in the hose. Are the hot and cold water valves open fully? If you think the water fill valve is stuck open, disconnecting the power to either the solenoid or the appliance should prevent water from flowing through the valve. If this doesn't stop the water flow, the valve itself is probably bad and should be replaced.
There is a water level switch that controls the water fill valve by sensing how much water pressure there is in the wash tub. It's usually operated by water pressure in a tube with air in it. When the air in the tube compresses as the wash tub fills, the pressure gets read by this device. If the tube or diaphragm in this device has a slow leak, your washer may act oddly. An example would be that it fills and starts to agitate, fills more, goes back to agitate, and so on, leading to an overfill or overflow problem.
If the tube or diaphragm in the water level switch has a really bad leak, the water level switch won't detect any pressure whatsoever, and will not stop the water flow.
On occasion, the washer doesn't stop filling, and the water level falls or won't fill up. This can be caused by a household drain problem. If this drain system backs up, it can cause a back-siphon situation which can actually pull water out through the washer pump. To correct this, either rooter out the drain system (recommended), or install a drain valve called a Vacuum Break Valve in the drain line. This will relieve the vacuum, and will usually allow proper drainage of the system. Also, make sure the washer drain hose is not under the level of water in a utility sink during draining.
If your washer is slow to fill, or won't fill at all, you'll want to check the water pressure at another tap first. Make sure both the hot and cold taps are fully open. Make sure that no other water is getting used in the house when the washer is filling. Check the hoses for kinks. Make sure that water is getting to the water intake hose. With your tap shut off, loosen or remove the hose from the tap, then open the tap slightly to see if water is getting to the hose intake. If water is getting to the hose, remove the hose from the washer to see if water is making it through the hose to the water intake valve.
Make sure the lid is down as some washers will not fill if the lid switch is not activated. Also, make sure the drain standpipe is at least 30" tall. If it isn't, the water may get siphoned out of the washer. If this is happening, install an air gap in the drain line.
There are strainer screens in either of the ends of the hoses that connect to the water valve, or in the valve itself, sometimes in both places. You'll want to remove the hoses and check the screens to see if they are plugged or not. In certain set-ups, the screen is non-removable, and you will need to replace the hose or water valve, depending on which it is. If the screens are dirty, you may be able to clean them with an old toothbrush. If you can't clean them, you will have to replace them. If the screens are clean and water is getting to the valve, it may be that the valve itself is bad. You may need to replace the valve.
Adjust the temperature setting to warm and set your timer to the fill cycle. Start your washer and lift the lid. You'll want to depress the lid switch with a screwdriver or other tool to prevent the interlock from engaging during this test. Feel or look for water entering the wash tub. If no water is coming in, or if it is too hot or cold, you'll need to test the voltage on each solenoid valve with a volt ohm meter or Digital VOM. The voltage should be between the ranges of 110v to 125v.
If the voltage is correct and the valve is not opening, you need to replace this valve. If the valve is not getting any power to it, you will need to use your washer specific wiring diagram to look for any broken wires, and if there are no broken wires, move on to test the lid switch, temperature switch, timer, and the water level switch. Replace anything that is defective.
No cold water: check to make sure the cold water is on, and that control settings are set properly. Check intake screens for a sediment or rust buildup. It's possible that the water-inlet valve is bad.
No hot water: check to make sure the hot water is on, and that control settings are set properly. Check intake screens for a sediment or rust buildup. It's possible that the water-inlet valve is bad.
Visually inspect the selector switch, make sure that it is set properly and verify that all of the control panel buttons are pushed in completely.
Note: Some brands have a mercury-tube lid switch, and raising the top of the cabinet to get to the solenoid for testing will have the same effect as raising the lid. You may need to jump the switch to perform tests with the cabinet top raised.
Make sure that the water fill hoses are hooked up correctly, not reversed. Verify that the correct temperature setting was selected. Your household water supply temperatures can have a very big effect on the wash water temperature. The temperature of the water can be influenced by the local climate, the room temperature where the hot water heater or washer is located, or by the thermostat settings of the hot water tank itself. You may have to adjust your hot water heater settings accordingly for the weather where you live.
If someone else is using hot water in the home at the same time, the washer may not receive the hot water it's calling for. The best thing is to make sure the washer is full before using hot water elsewhere in the home.
The hot selection on the control panel causes only hot water from the hot water heater to enter the washer, while warm is the hot and cold water from the house mixing in the water-inlet valve body. Cold is just the cold water from the house.
If your washer has a temperature sensor inside, you may hear the water-inlet valve opening and closing several times to ensure the water temperature is within the temperature range that has been selected.
If you haven't changed the hoses at all, and you've been using this washer regularly with no problems, the temperature switch has probably gone bad. If the temperature switch itself has gone bad, there is no longer any control governing which side of the water-inlet valve is going to let water in.
Make sure the lid is closed. There is a switch inside that completes the connection. Your washer may not spin or agitate if this connection is not completed. Make sure that the speed selector switch is not between speeds. Verify that the washer is not in a soak cycle. You can also reset the water level up or down to make sure that the water level control switch isn't stuck. If you hear a humming sound when the washer is full of water, you may have something stuck in the drain pump.
If one of these is not the problem, check the belt. The main drive motor has two distinct functions. The first function is to spin the basket; the second function is to reciprocate your agitator. Inside your washer's transmission is a crank type gear and connecting rods that are used to agitate the washer, with the spinning coming from the washer motor itself. This usually entails some sort of clutch mechanism. Some things to check if your washer is not agitating and/or spinning are:
If you notice weak or no agitation, the splines connecting the agitator to the drive shaft may be stripped and need to be replaced.
After a lot of use, belts can become worn or damaged. Replace any worn or damaged belts immediately. If you have a broken belt, replace it and check the pulley to make sure it's not seized.
Sometimes the drive pulley can wear out and it won't turn the drive belt. Look for wear marks, pits, or uneven spots. It's best to just replace it with a new pulley.
Many washers use a reversing motor. Sometimes it will continue to work in one direction even if it won't spin in the other direction. If your washer has a drive motor issue, you probably need to replace the motor with a new one. Call a professional appliance repair person to verify this first.
The lid switch is a safety device that's there to protect you from sticking your hands into a spinning washer. If this switch goes bad, the washer will not work. You will have to replace it. It is inside the main housing for the washer, and located near the door frame.
The coupler connects the motor to the transmission. After lengthy use, this plastic and rubber coupler can wear out. If this happens, you need to replace it.
Transmission and clutch assemblies can cause agitator and spinning problems They are fairly complex, so if you suspect you have transmission or clutch issues it's probably in your best interest to call a professional appliance repair person.
If there is a drain issue, sometimes there is an obvious solution. Check the drain hose for any kinks, as well as checking any lint filters in or on the drain hose. Is there a lint sock on the end that's full? Perhaps the drain line itself is plugged. You will want to make sure that the house drain system is not backed up or plugged. Always make sure that the washer drain hose is above the level of water in the drain tub. Some Whirlpool/Kenmore washers make use of a side-check valve near the tub outlet which may get clogged. A standpipe should be at least 1 1/4 inches in diameter, and never seal a drain hose into a standpipe. This can lead to back-siphoning. You also want to make sure that the standpipe is less than 96 inches in height.
Pump problems show various symptoms. Sometimes the pump will lock up and seize. If the motor is running, it will continue to try to turn the pump. In the case of belt-driven pumps, the belt may break or burn through. The pulley may shear off. If there is enough tension on the belt, and the motor continues to try to turn it, you may wind up with a seized motor as well. The pump itself may have seized bearings, be jammed by clothing or another object; or the impeller blades may be broken off. The usual fix is to replace the pump.
If you think your pump may be jammed, drain out your tub and remove the hoses. Look inside the hoses and see if there are any obstructions. Feel around inside the pump inlets for anything that may be jamming the pump itself. You can also use long-nosed pliers to feel around inside the pump for any items that may be causing a jam. If you haven't found a jam, and you still believe there may be a jam in the pump, you can completely remove the pump from the washer and inspect it more closely.
Occasionally, transmission gears may become worn, or some other internal part may go bad. Some older washer models have an electric-mechanical shifter. If it won't shift, it's best to call a professional appliance repair person to address this issue. If your transmission is leaking oil, there are really only two options at this point, either run it until it dies completely, or replace it now.
If the washer won't finish a cycle, it probably means that your timer went bad or stalled. You can take the control panel off and look at the contacts for scorching or corrosion.
When a washer is leaking, there are several areas where the liquid could be coming from.
If it only leaks during a spin cycle, it's probably caused by a leaky drain hose.
Over-sudsing is a common problem in homes with a water softener. Soft water and hot water use less detergent, while hard water and cold water need more detergent to clean well. This product, SofChek, will help you to determine if you have soft or hard water in a minute or less. These easy-to-use strips measure the hardness of your water in less than a minute. Just simply look at the colour chart provided on the bottle for an instant read-out of the strip to help determine the proper amount of detergent. Lowering the amount of detergent used may alleviate any over-sudsing issues.
Leaks on a front-load washer can occur around the door seal. This can happen because of a build-up of dirt and soap on the seal itself preventing a proper seal from taking place. Wipe the door seal carefully making sure that the edge of the gasket is clean.
Parts of a plastic bleach dispenser can crack or break off, causing a leak intermittently during the flush process. This is because bleach is a very corrosive chemical. Heavy use of liquid chlorine bleach can pit and rust stainless steel parts. Consider switching to oxygenating bleach, although this type of bleach doesn't get your whites as white as they can get with liquid chlorine bleach. The bleach dispenser is a replacement item.
You'll want to confirm that the fill hoses are connected and properly tightened. Always use new rubber washers when re-installing the hoses. Take care not to over-tighten the connection. Other leaks may be caused by the drain hose being cracked, or by a leaky connection at the water-inlet valve. Too many suds may cause the appearance of a leak when actually it's just a sudsy overflow. Sometimes a drain hose leak occurs at the end of the hose where it attaches to the washer. If the hose is long enough you can cut the leaky end off and re-clamp the hose back on. Usually though, when a hose begins to leak, it is best to just replace the hose.
Many pump leaks happen around the seal on the pulley. Some pumps have a weep hole that lets water drip out when this seal begins to go bad. The solution is to rebuild or replace the pump.
Tub leaks are usually caused by a rotted tub. If this is your problem, consider buying a new washer. Sometimes a constant imbalance can be the culprit. This imbalance can rub a hole in the tub if it consistently runs off-balance. It may be possible to repair the tub with an epoxy kit. Tub replacement isn't usually very economical.
The main tub seal can also leak. This is located where the transmission and the outer tub in the centre. If this seal goes bad, it can be very difficult to replace.
Sometimes the water-inlet valve develops a buildup of mineral deposits and rust. To check this, remove the water-inlet valve and visually inspect the surface.
There is a cool product that is designed to help prevent water damage from a leaky washer. It's called a Washer Floor Tray. This tray catches water leaks and prevents floor damage from overflows. This product is a must for upstairs laundries.
Over-sudsing problems occur for several reasons. Soft water requires less detergent than hard water. This product, SofChek, will help you to determine if you have soft or hard water in a minute or less. If you pre-treat your clothes, you will need less detergent to get them clean. Many times the pre-treatment can add to sudsing in the washer. If you use an oxygenated bleach, this can contribute to over-sudsing. Adjust detergent levels accordingly for hard or soft water, load size, water temperature, and amounts and types of soils on the clothing.
If you want to get rid of the excessive suds, advance the timer to the final spin cycle, and then re-wash the clothing without adding detergent to it. Repeat as necessary until the wash and rinse water is clear.
This happens when the water-inlet valve on the back side of the washer is faulty. This will be a valve replacement job.
Try setting the controls to a larger or smaller load setting as needed and see if this helps.
Lint is something that occurs naturally. The little pieces of lint on your clothing are called pills, and usually result from overloading the washer, although they can also be caused by synthetic fibers balling up and getting stuck to your clothing. There's a little tool you can buy to trim these pills off your clothes called a pill remover. Another way to minimize the occurrence of pilling is to wash synthetic fiber garments separately and inside out for a shorter time. Sort loads properly and use enough water in the cycles to rinse well.
Clothes washed in 1995 and newer washers usually carry more lint on them than older models of washers. Your dryer should be picking up any lint that your washer misses. Make sure that the dryer vent is at least 4 inches in diameter. You may mistake lint for undissolved detergents. During the winter, the water temperature drops and this may mean that all the detergent is not getting dissolved. Feel the lint; if it crumbles, it's probably caked detergent.
Other reasons for excessive lint may be that you have mixed different types of clothing in the dryer. Cotton knits, flannel items, and many synthetic materials should be washed separate from other types of materials. By keeping materials separate, you can also dry clothes more efficiently.
Reasons for excessive linting include: too long of a wash time - shorten the cycles, too high water level - fill only to the top of the clothes, overfilling the washer causes clothes to rub together too much - loosely load the clothes in the washer up to the top line of holes in the washer tub, too much bleach causes excessive lint and damages fabrics - follow manufacturer's suggestions on amounts of bleach, pilling is a normal occurrence with polyester and cotton blend fabrics because the stronger fibers don't break off, they collect and entangle lint which makes the linting more visible - turn your clothes inside out when washing them to reduce pilling and linting, excessive fabric softener - use less or none periodically.
If your washer doesn't have a built-in lint filter, most of the lint that is formed in the washer goes right down the drain with the remainder stuck to your clothes. The dryer will remove most of the rest of the lint.
You'll want to fill your top loader loosely to the top with clothing. If you pack clothes too tightly, the water won't circulate well, and they won't get clean. That being said, you don't want to do too small of a load either. After all, you're using electricity and water anyhow, so you may as well get the most out of it without overdoing it.
You can fill this washer pretty full; just don't squeeze the clothes together too tightly. If you do pack them too tightly, the water can't circulate well, and your clothes won't get as clean as they should. Make sure the door closes easily.
A heavy wash load may cause some thumping sounds as a spin cycle starts, but if it continues, your load may be unbalanced. Open the washer and try to balance the load before restarting.
Check to see if the washer is level from front to back, and from side to side. Check to see if the floor beneath the washer is sturdy and stable enough for the fully loaded washer. Is the load unbalanced? If your washer load is unbalanced, stop the washer, even the load out, and restart it.
An unbalanced load is the usual cause of this, but the leveling legs being extended very far can play into the washer walking around. Many times a front loading washer and dryer just seem to vibrate a lot. There is a fantastic product called Shakeaway that will really reduce vibrations and vibration noise.
There are safety devices that prevent you opening the door or lid while the washer is spinning or agitating. This is for your protection, so don't circumvent these safety devices.
This may be due to an incorrect setting, cold water rinse, a kinked or clogged drain hose, too small or large of a load, a clogged pump, or the load may be out of balance. If there is water left in the tub, there may be something blocking the drain. Also, the washer will not get up to its top speed if the load is unbalanced or overloaded. This will prevent centrifugal force from spinning excess water out of the clothes.
Wrinkles may be there because you may have left the clothes in the machine too long after it was done, because of an incorrect water level or water temperature, or you may need to add a fabric softener. Remove the clothes promptly from the washer and dry them right away, don't combine loads, don't mix heavy and light clothes together, use the proper heat settings, and use only medium load sizes when washing permanent press items.
To prevent your clothes from getting all tangled and knotted, you want to avoid combining heavy clothes with light clothes, don't make the load too big or too small, use the proper water levels for the load sizes, don't wrap any items around the agitator, and make sure that the wash water isn't too hot.
There are many reasons why your clothes can get damaged in the washer. If the load is too full, clothes may get caught in the agitator which can cause rips and tears in your clothes, normal wear and tear, poor quality of garment, previous damage, and sunlight. Damage can also be caused by chemicals. Make sure you wash delicates on the delicate cycle. You can also prevent snags by turning clothing with metal trim or fasteners inside out while washing them.
As washers age, the enamel finish can chip and wear off, and then the drum and other parts will start to rust. There is also a build-up of scale and mineral deposits in the washer. Washer Magic will remove lime scale, soap scum, iron, and mineral stains. It also reduces abrasive build-up, which can be harmful to the laundry. Use Washer Magic monthly to prevent lime scale buildup, soap scum, iron, and mineral stains. You can also use RoVer Rust Remover or Yellow Out to get rid of rust on your clothing.
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Many times when we cook in the kitchen, we get splattered with oils that aren't easily visible. Very often these oil spots pick up dirt from the wash water. These stains don't usually get noticed until after the clothes have been dried. The best thing to do is to rub detergent or stain remover right on these spots and let them sit about half an hour. Then rewash the clothes in as hot water as the material can take afterwards.
Gray or yellow discolourations may be caused by too little detergent, too low of a water temperature, or too little wash time.
Yellow and brown stains are usually from rust in the washer, water pipes, water heater, or the water supply itself has iron and/or manganese in it. You can also use RoVer Rust Remover to get rid of rust on your clothing. Chlorine bleach is no good for rust stains. It only makes it appear worse.
Some dyes used for clothes are pretty unstable and tend to bleed their colour out. Wash these items with similar colours or you may wind up some rainbow coloured clothes!
There are certain chemical compounds that contribute to bleeding dyes, such as deodorants, bleach, hair dyes, etc.
This can be caused by overloading, hard water, low quality or un-dissolved detergents, or low water pressure. Re-wash the clothes at the safest temperature for the fabrics without adding detergent to rinse them clean.
Here is a breakdown of typical load sizes and water level settings. For a small load water level setting, the load size should be less than 1/3 full. For a medium water level setting, the load size should be between 1/3 and 1/2 full. A large water level setting calls for a load size of between 1/2 to 2/3's full, and for a large or extra large water level setting, the load size should be more than 2/3's full.
Try to match load sizes with water level settings as much as possible. Do not fill the washer with clothes higher than the last row of holes in the tub.
Too much water can lead to poor washing because the detergent levels may not be sufficient. Too little water can cause poor rinsing, excessive linting, wrinkling, and can also cause excessive wear on clothes items. Wash similar materials together.
With the wide variety of washer brands and models, this is hard to answer. The best answer we can give you is that a washer with a two speed motor will be more gentle on your clothes than a single speed motor.
Cold water wash is highly recommended for lightly soiled and brightly coloured clothing. If you use cold water to wash with regularly, it's probably best to use a liquid detergent because powder detergents don't dissolve well in cold water. Add the liquid detergent first for top loaders, add detergent to the dispenser first for front loaders, and soak or prewash heavily soiled clothing. Hot water cleans the best, but not all clothing can be washed in hot water. A warm water setting is good for most items, unless they're very dirty, then it would be a hot water setting that is needed.
Check the tag on the clothing items to see what the manufacturer recommends.
A loud banging sound in the pipes is usually caused by a water hammer effect. Water hammer sounds are caused by a valve closing in the system, and yet the water in the pipe is still flowing because of its kinetic energy. The banging happens as the water hits the valve that prevents it from going any further. If the kinetic energy is great enough, it can actually cause a pipe to burst or explode at the end. If a valve is closed near the beginning or in the middle of a system, the water keeps flowing after that point, and it can actually create a vacuum. This vacuum can cause a pipe to implode if the stress is too great.
Roaring type noises may be coming from a spin bearing. This bearing probably had the grease washed from it because of a tub seal leak.
Squeaking sounds in a new washer are usually caused by the new parts getting broken in, and will usually go away after several washes.
The sounds of water gurgling, slurping, or sloshing during a spin cycle are usually caused by the drain pump pushing the water out of the washer tub.
Too much water pressure can cause a whistling or squealing sound. Adjust the hot and cold intake water valves to relieve this sound.
Metallic clinking sounds during spin or agitation may be the result of drive train components meshing during speed changes or after a pause.
Swishing or swooshing type of sounds may be caused by water and suds trapped between the tub and basket during a spin cycle, and will usually clear up as the water is drained from the washer.
You will want to brush, shake, or scrape off as much of the dirt that you can before washing this load. After you empty the washer, wipe down the interior of the washtub with a non-abrasive cleaner such as Appliance Cleaner and Polish or All Purpose Appliance Cleaner and Polish.
You can either use Appliance Cleaner and Polish or All Purpose Appliance Cleaner and Polish to clean the exterior of your washer.
Affresh Washer Cleaner stops HE washer odor and leaves your front load washing machine clean and fresh. This is the innovative solution for HE Washer Smells. With all of the water and energy savings that HE washers provide, they still require special care.
After normal use, mold, mildew, and odor-causing residue may form in hard-to-reach areas of HE washers. Many times people will notice that their basement or laundry room has become stinky. Often this is caused by their washing machine developing a musty smell that comes from the mildew in their washer sump.
Affresh Washer Cleaner will get your washing machine clean, so you can enjoy a fresh smell in your laundry area or cellar. Oxygenated cleaning action lifts away the Odor and the Residue that causes it in your HE Washing Machine. Affresh Washer Cleaner is the only product proven to penetrate, dissolve, and remove odor-causing residue from your HE washer. It doesn't cover up the odor - it's oxygenating action lifts the residue from the surfaces in your washer, allowing it to be rinsed away.
Affresh Washer Cleaner removes and prevents odor-causing residue that can occur in all brands of HE washers. While bleach only kills odor-causing bacteria, leaving behind the detergent residue; Affresh Washer Cleaner uses surfactant chemistry to remove the root problem. Affresh Washer Cleaner is aspecially formulated, slow-dissolving, foaming tablet that gets under residue, breaks it up, and washes it away leaving the washer smelling fresh and clean.
Using Affresh Washer Cleaner is fast and simple. Simply add the tablet to your washer tub and run a Normal Cycle (hot option) or Clean Washer Cycle once a month. This routine maintenance will keep the inside of your washer sparkling, clean, and fresh smelling. Affresh Washer Cleaner is environmentally friendly, safe on septic tanks, and safe for all washer components. Package includes three tablets.
This can be caused by a water level pressure switch failing. You can reset the switch and try it again. If that doesn't work, you can put the washer in a spin cycle for a few minutes and then try to fill it again.