Clothes Washer Quits

Problem: Clothes washer is not working, or does not work properly.

Background: Clothes washers use 3 basic systems, all controlled by electricity: water fill, water drain, and drive. Before calling for service, check for the following possible problems. If the washer still doesn’t work right, check detailed appliance- repair handbooks available, or call a technician. Tithe machine won’t fill, for example, the problem may be dirty water-sediment screens, defective water-mixing valve solenoids, or a defective water temperature switch. If the water won’t shut off, the problem could be dirt inside the mixing valve, a bad water-level control switch, defective timer, or a short circuit. If the machine won’t agitate or spin, a faulty water-level control switch or agitator solenoid may be the problem. No-spin problems also may be caused by a faulty drive unit or timer. If the machine doesn’t drain, the problem may be “suds lock,” a water pump belt, or a damaged water pump impeller.

What to do: If the clothes washer won’t fill or agitate and won’t spin or drain, or stops, make sure that the power cord is plugged into an electrical outlet, that a fuse hasn’t blown or a circuit breaker tripped, and that the control knob is not turned “off.” If the washer fills slowly, make sure that the inlet hoses are not plugged or kinked, that the water faucets are fully on, and that water pressure is sufficient. If the unit won’t fill or agitate, also double-check to be sure that the inlet hoses are not plugged or kinked, and that the water faucets are turned on. If the washer won’t spin or drain, also check that the lid is not open and the water faucets are turned on. If the unit drains when it is not running, make sure that the drain hose is not lower than the washer or is not fitted too tightly in any standpipe being used.

Special advice: If your clothes washer shakes and vibrates when in use, check the following. Make sure that the front legs are not loose, that shipping straps are completely re moved, that the washer is level, that the load is balanced, and that the floor is strong enough. The floor beneath the washer should be level, with no more than 2 inches slope under the entire washer. The floor must be strong enough to support the weight of the filled washer, about 315 pounds.

Helpful hint: A clothes washer should drain into a 20-gallon tub or a 2-inch diameter standpipe. If the washer is connected to a floor drain, a siphon break must be installed. The drain should be able to carry away 17 gallons of water per minute. The end of the drain hose should be more than 34 inches, but less than 72 inches, above the base of the washer. If you use less than a 2-inch diameter standpipe, there must be an air gap around the hose inside the standpipe to a siphoning action from occurring.