1. WHY DOES MY WASHING MACHINE SMELL?
Mold, mildew, soap scum, bacteria, limescale. There are plenty of potential causes of washing machine odors, and most of them can be tackled with a thorough clean. Pay close attention to seals, gaskets, dispensers (which can usually be removed for cleaning) and any other components that come into contact with laundry or detergent. For the drum itself, try running a hot wash cycle with baking soda and white vinegar as described in our full article on washing machine smells.
If you can detect a sewage-like odor (rather than musty or eggy), the issue may be with the standpipe rather than the washer itself. In that case, it may be time to call in a professional to take a look.
2. WHY IS MY WASHING MACHINE LEAKING?
Loose hose connections are the most common cause of washer leaks. If you suspect your leak is coming from the back of the washer, move it away from the wall a few inches and hand-tighten all hose connections between the appliance and the supply pipes.
The location of the leak can also give you a hint. For top-load washers, a leak from the top could be due to oversudsing or overloading (both of which are easily resolved), whereas a leak from the bottom could suggest an issue with the water pump. For front-load washing machines, a front leak could be caused by a damaged or dirty door seal, but a bottom leak is more likely to be caused by a worn drum seal.
3. WHY WON’T MY WASHING MACHINE DRAIN?
A few different factors could be at work if your washing machine fails to drain at the end of a wash cycle:
- Lid switch: The lid switch confirms that the lid is closed, allowing top-load washers to proceed with various stages of the cycle: fill, wash, drain, spin. If this switch malfunctions, you may be left with a drum full of water. Press this switch down with your finger and listen for a click or see if the 'lid closed' light turns on (depending on your model). You can either replace the switch yourself or have a qualified technician do it.
- Pump: The pump actively removes water from your machine at the end of a cycle. If it gets blocked, draining will be prevented. To reach and inspect the pump, remove the panel (either the front or back depending on your model), detach it, and remove the screen for a thorough rinsing. Make sure moving parts can move freely and are not broken or missing.
- Drain hose: Your drain hose could have a kink or blockage that prevents drainage. Turn off the power to the washer, disconnect the hose (have a bucket ready to catch the water), and inspect it for obstructions. You may be able to clear any blockages by taking it outside and blasting it with a spray from your garden hose.
- Drain: It could be that the drain itself—not the washer—is preventing drainage. Use a plumber's snake to clear the blockage, and remember to carefully inspect your clothing for small items (coins, tissues, etc.) before you load your washing machine. These items can get caught in many places, including the drain, causing serious draining difficulties.
4. WHY WON’T MY WASHING MACHINE SPIN?
The most obvious solution to a non-spinning washer is to redistribute the load inside the drum. This is because heavy or bulky loads may unbalance the drum and eventually cause a jam. The washer will shut itself down to prevent any further damage.
If your washing machine fills and agitates (washes) but doesn't spin, the problem could also be with the lid switch, which tells the washer the lid is closed but may become dislodged by the vibrations of the spin cycle. In machines that have belt drives, a loose, worn, or broken belt will prevent the drum from spinning and need to be repaired or replaced. A problem with the controls, meanwhile, will definitely demand some expert attention.
5. WHY IS THERE NO WATER GOING INTO MY WASHING MACHINE?
If your washer doesn't fill with water in the first phase of a wash cycle, there are only a few components that could be to blame. The hoses should be your first stop: check for kinks, blockages, or holes (which would also result in a leak), and make sure the faucets at the water supply are turned on. Next, inspect the filter inside the water inlet valve. If it's clogged, you may simply need to rinse it to solve your problem.
If, on the other hand, the water blockage is caused by the water level switch, pressure chamber, or water inlet valve, it may be time to call in a local expert. Similarly, a slow-filling washing machine is more likely to be due to an issue with your home's plumbing.