Solving your washing machine problems
How to identify a fault on your washing machine
It is very frustrating when your machine machine does not work, and even more frustrating when you don’t know what the problem is.
Hopefully this article will help you to find out what is wrong with your machine, whether it is very simple to fix, or whether it is something that may require a visit by a professional washing machine engineer.There are very common faults that turn up all the time on washing machines, it will help you if you know how to recognise these minor faults, and how you can deal with these yourself.You must bear in mind when your washing machine goes wrong, before you do anything else, you must ensure you have disconnected the machine from the mains.
Safety to yourself or to someone who is helping you to resolve your problem, is absolutely paramount and should never be ignored.
No power to the washing machine:
There can be many things that cause this problem. The best way to understand what is wrong, it is to go through the following options, and hopefully you will be identify the problem
- Connection to the mains – check the socket is working, try plugging in another appliance that you know is working to the same socket. If that works, then the socket is working. Check the washing machine plug to ensure no wires have come loose and change the fuse, as this is a very common problem.
- Door lock – if the door lock is not connecting properly, this can stop the machine from operating. Unless it is obviously broken, the lock can get blocked with bits of flotsam from your laundry – tissues, hair etc. This can be removed gently, make sure you remove all the debris. Turn the machine on again and hopefully it will now work. It also a good idea to regularly wipe down the inside of the glass door, to ensure no debris builds up in future.
- If you have tried the above options without success, it may be a more serious problem. It is possible the control board, PCB, may be damaged. This is when you may need the help of a professional engineer.
Washing machine does not drain, or is noisy when draining:
- Drain pump could be blocked. Before you can check into this, you will need to manually drain the machine. You will need to locate the filter at the bottom of the machine, and have a suitable container to hand to collect the water. Open the filter door, slowly release the filter, this allows you to control the flow of water during draining. Once the machine is completely drained, remove and thoroughly clean the filter. Check behind the filter to look for any blockages that may be deeper in the pipe. Once you are happy it is all clear, replace the filter and run the machine on a spin/rinse cycle to check that it is working.
- Drain pump faulty – if the above does not solve the problem, this may indicate the actual pump is faulty. Again this may need the assistance of a service engineer to resolve.
Washing machine noisy:
The blocked drain pump identified above may be the cause of the machine being noisy, but it could also be caused by other factors.If the machine is an older model, the bearings could be the culprit.
Once you have exhausted other options, it will probably be the bearings. This is a problem you should not ignore, if left it can cause a major problem with your machine, and may lead to having to buy a replacement washing machine. Unless you are confident that you can replace the bearings yourself, it is probably wise to contact a service engineer.Stability of the machine may also be the cause of the noise.
If the machine has not been installed correctly and is not level, this can cause the machine to be noisy. Sometimes you could have a problem with a wooden floor, but this should be easily resolved. You can tweak the feet of the machine to make sure that you can keep it level.Drum not turning:The normal reaction to this problem is to assume the belts have stretched. In 99% of cases, this is not the case. These days belts are usually very robust and do not stretch. On older machines this was much more common, but not so with modern machines.
What you should check to try to resolve the problem:
- Belt – even taking into account what has already been said, it is best to check the belt. There may be cases where the best has been snagged and this can cause fraying, which can stop the drum from turning.
- Speed control PCB or module. As already noted, this may be a case for your service engineer.
- Main control module – again this should be checked by your engineer.
- Motor faulty – service engineer advice required
- Faulty carbon brushes. If you are competent to carry out this task, it is most important to identify the correct brushes by using the make, model and serial number. If you do not feel confident to carry out this work yourself, this may be a job for your engineer.
Timer not working
The main thing to remember is that it is probably not the timer that is at fault. Check at which stage of the cycle the timer has stopped, i.e. main wash, spin, rinse or drain. Wherever the cycle does stop is the best indication of the problem. For instance, the filter could be blocked as detailed previously which could stop the machine moving to the spin or drain stage. Perhaps you have overloaded the machine, the electronic module will have detected the drum is likely to go out of balance and has stopped the machine moving to the main wash. If this is the case you will have to drain the machine, rebalance your laundry or separate into separate washes if necessary. This should solve the problem.
Water not heating
It is not rocket science to work out that you have a problem with the heater. The list of probables to check include:
- The heater
- The thermistor
- Pressure switch/level sensor
- Timer or control PCB/module
Unless you are technically able, the best option would be to call in a service engineer to advise what the problem is and how it can be fixed.
If you have a brand new machine, the likelihood is that the machine has not been installed correctly. For example, the transit packaging has not been completely removed, the machine is not level, or it is on an uneven surface. All of these can be easily resolved.If your machine has been installed for a while, it is still worth checking to see if it is level, you may need to adjust the legs to bring the machine back into balance.
There is always the possibility that you could have a problem with your flooring, especially if it is wooden. The machine could have worked a knot in the wood loose for instance. Again, you should be able to resolve this.You may however need to think if bearings are involved – this has been covered earlier in the article.
Machine not spinning
This problem has also been covered earlier in the article and you should be able to find the answer contained above. It is a high probability that the filter is blocked, but you will obviously need to work through the options stated. Just to reiterate the following list may need to be checked until you find the cause of the machine not spinning:
- Speed control/PCB module
- Faulty or worn carbon brushes
- Faulty contacts
- Faulty motor or motor tacho
- Overloaded or out of balance load
- Flooring, no longer level
- Faulty bearings
- Faulty door lock
Machine not filling
You should check if the water supply is on; you never know you may find that half your street doesn’t have water. If this is OK, you will need to check the valve is working correctly. The following list should be worked through until you can identify the fault:
- Water supply
- Water fill valve
- Pressure switch
- Contact PBC/module
Bad smell from your Washing Machine
This could be caused by mould building up in the machine. This is generally due to using too much washing powder, leaving a residue in the machine. Easily resolved by regular cleaning. Once you have established this is caused by excess powder you should try reducing the amount used but still getting the results you are looking for.
It may take a while to get the right levels for each programme but should stop the bad smell returning. Another reason could be a blocked filter or drain pump. As usual follow the steps for cleaning the filter.
Machine leaking from underneath
You will need to work through a list of possible causes to help you identify why the machine is leaking:
- Drain pump leaking – remove filter to check for signs of leakage. Pump is located behind the filter
- Filter itself leaking – it may just need to be tightened further
- Hose split or leaking – once you are sure where the leak is coming from, you should be able to find the leaky hose
- Heater gasket perished
- Pressure switch or sensor fault causing the machine to overfill
- Soap drawer either blocked or damaged. Remove the drawer and carefully clean, including inside the machine. Residues of powder can form and will go solid over time. Be very careful when replacing the drawer as you can cause damage if you use too much force, hence the option of a damaged drawer. Its worth noting that the leak may look as though it is coming from underneath the machine, but there is a possibility that the leak is running down the front of the machine from the soap drawer. Because it is clean water, it will not not necessarily show up on the front of your machine
Hopefully all of the above will help you to identify the most common washing machine faults. If your machine is still under Warranty before calling out an engineer, you should still check to see if you can identify the fault as it may be caused by the way you are using the machine, or the way it has been installed. If you call out an engineer under the Warranty and the problem has not been caused by a problem with the machine, you may well be asked to pay for the call out.
The article is designed to save you paying out for unnecessary call outs when it is a problem you can easily remedy yourself. After running through all the checks you may come to the conclusion that a new part or further investigation is required, it is entirely your choice whether you tackle this work yourself, or call in a service engineer to carry out this work for you.