In today's busy households, it's extremely inconvenient if the washing machine breaks. Before you panic at the first sign of trouble and call a technician, take our quiz to see if you can diagnose and fix the problem yourself.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, a washing machine will typically last a decade. Of course, they can last a lot longer with proper care and maintenance.
Be sure to disconnect the water hoses and the grounding wire before you do any work on your washing machine.
First and foremost, check the power supply to the washing machine. Test the plug, cord and outlet and then check for blown fuses in the electrical panel.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to check the switches on the control panel. If washing with heated water, make sure the temperature is set to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).
Run the machine through a full cycle with just water and 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of vinegar. If the tub still smells, wipe the inside with a bleach and water solution. If you use bleach though, wash a load of whites after cleaning so that any remaining bleach will not ruin colored clothes.
The small hose connected to the water level control switch can loosen and fall off the connection, usually causing the water in the tub to overflow. To fix it, cut about 0.5 inches (1.3 centimeters) off the end of the hose, and use a push fit to reconnect it to the switch. Push fit connections can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.
A buildup of detergent can sometimes clog the lid switch, and if this part becomes obstructed, your washing machine will not work.
To see if your lid switch is faulty, test it with a volt/ohm meter (VOM). If the meter reading is zero, your switch is working fine.
The temperature selector switch regulates the temperature of the water in the tub and also helps control the fill cycle.
If the water level control switch malfunctions, you can have a flood on your hands.
The washer timer, whether digital or mechanical, is responsible for most washer operations, including cycle time, water level, and tub filling and emptying.
If your washer overfills, fills slowly or doesn't fill at all, the water inlet valve could be the problem. Luckily, it's simple and inexpensive to replace.
Though it rarely needs replacing, the tub or basket can make noise, vibrate or stop completely if the washing load becomes unbalanced. If that happens, just redistribute the clothes in the machine, and it should go back to normal.
It's very easy to replace the agitator on a top-loading washer. Simply unscrew the agitator cap, remove the old agitator, replace it with a new one of the same type and screw the cap back on.
The snubber is a padded device located under the agitator cap. If the pad is worn out or its spring is broken, it can cause the machine to vibrate .
Sudden tub stops can be due to a faulty motor belt, but most are caused by overloading the tub. Remove a few pieces of laundry, and you should be good to go.
The pump in your washing machine is one of its most hardworking parts. When the pump breaks, you can hear a clanging noise inside the machine, and the water doesn't drain out of the tub.
When the drive belt of a washing machine becomes worn or damaged, the machine makes noise, and the washer may stop altogether. A damaged drive belt is easy to replace.
The pulleys are attached to shafts with setscrews. Check that these screws are tight so the pulley or belt won't slip out of place.
Unlike simpler appliances, washing machines have many settings and complicated cycles that are controlled by timers. With so many components, it's often difficult to narrow down exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.