Replacing a drain pump in your washing machine

Before deciding that you have a problem with the drain pump in your machine, there are certainly checks that you can make when your washing machine fails to spin and/or drain.The first thing to do is to avoid overloading the machine, as this can throw the machine out of balance.  Modern washing machines are controlled by electronics, which will stop the machine working if it goes out of balance through overloading, to avoid any damage to your actual machine.

Symptoms of problems with drain pumps

When the pump is either blocked or faulty, the following symptoms are common

  • Washing machine will not drain
  • Washing machine stopped mid programme, full of water
  • Washing machine does not spin

If your machine is showing any one of these symptoms, the first thing you will need to do is to get the water out of the machine.  In order to drain the machine, you will need to make sure you have a suitable container available to collect the water, as you will have to manually drain down the machine.  Remove the filter very slowly, reducing the flow of water to a manageable level.  Once all the water is drained, remove and clean the filter.  Once replaced, you will need to run the machine through a spin and drain cycle to check you have cleared the problem.  Unfortunately, if this doesn’t cure the problem, you will have to drain the machine again.

Failure of drain pumps is very common, across washing machines and dishwashers, even condenser tumble dryers. 

Types of pump

There are mainly two types of drain pump, the first is an Induction pump, these are generally found in older machines.  The main problem with these pumps is that they leaked and it is one of the reasons they have commonly gone out of use.

The second is a Magnetic or Synchronised Drain Pump, which is widely used in more washing machines by virtually all manufacturers, as cost is less prohibitive and are far less likely to leak.  They do have their own problems though, as they tend to get jammed more easily.

Replacement parts

There are many spare parts available but you need to be sure that the quality is as good as your original part.  There is a price differential over these spares, as much as £15 to £80.  It is always good to check around, and look through reviews and recommendations for the better parts.  Sometimes the manufacturers charge extortionate amounts for their own spare parts so it is definitely worth shopping around.  Going to a well-established company, who have a good reputation, is the best way to go.

DIY versus Professionals

If you are a competent and experienced DIYer, you will probably have very little trouble in carrying out this job yourself.  It should be fairly straightforward but as with all things, you may need to do the odd tweak here and there to ensure you have everything lined up and fitted securely.  If you know you can do this, then that is fine.  On the other hand, if you are not that confident, you probably should employ a professional engineer to do this job for you.

If all goes well, an experienced service engineer could do this task in under half an hour.  However, if the spare part you have purchased needs a little ‘help’ in the fitting, it could take longer. 

As usual, the choice is entirely yours.  If you are carrying out this task yourself, you must ensure that you have disconnected the washing machine from the mains.  I know its standard common sense, but if you are concentrating on the task ahead, it might slip your mind.  Always put your safety first.

In general, there are only two connections, live and neutral.  Most washing machines are live switched, so there will always be a neutral present.  This may be different on some machines, especially Italian makes for some reason.  In these machines the neutral feed for the water valve is routed through the drain pump.

For the most part, however, there should not be anything over-complicated in the wiring of a drain pump.

Over recent times, however, there has been a rise in the popularity of special keyed connection blocks which connect the drain pumps.  It seems this may have been done to try to stop the ‘copies’ of these spare parts and to make you buy the parts direct from the manufacturer.   This is where the professional engineer would have an advantage over the DIYer, as he would have seen it all before and will know his way around the fiddly connectors.

Location of the drain pump

In most modern machines, the drain pump is located directly behind the filter, and should be clearly visible when the filter is removed.  On older machines this may not be the case, but it is always best to check in your Manufacturer’s Manual to be sure.




Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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