7 Reasons Your Washing Machine Isn’t Working

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It’s a pesky problem to have. You expect your washing machine to work like a clock and do its job. But all of a sudden it doesn’t. What happened?

While other problems around your house might be catastrophic or dangerous, problems with your washing machine tend to be among the most annoying. When you need to do laundry, you need to do it now, and a washer that doesn’t work is frustrating and frightening. 

Because washing machines are large appliances that utilize water, it might seem like any malfunction will be especially expensive — but that isn’t necessarily the case. You should spend some time trying to identify the cause of your washing machine woes before calling a trustworthy washing machine repair service.

What's Inside?

The Motor Went Bad


Deep inside, your washing machine has a motor to power the pump, agitator and inner drum — basically to move all the pieces that need to move to wash your laundry. However, if you are doing laundry too often or overfilling the drum with bulky, heavy items, your motor can burn out and stop working. If you smell burning or your washer feels especially hot, you should stop the machine immediately and let it cool off. Or, if your machine simply won’t turn on, you should call for professional washing machine repair, stat.

The Pump Broke

The pump is responsible for siphoning water out of the drum once your laundry is clean. Unfortunately, pumps are often made of plastic, meaning they can easily crack or shatter due to age, temperature, use conditions and more. The most obvious tell that something is wrong with your pump is that water remains pooled in your washer — or worse, it ends up all over your laundry room floor. Again, replacing a broken pump is a matter for a washer repair pro.

The Hose Got Clogged


When water drains out of your washer through the pump, it carries all sorts of dirt, grime, and gunk with it. Unfortunately, it can also carry larger bits and pieces, like jewelry, paper, scraps of fabric and loose coins. All that stuff can get stuck in your washer’s pump or its connected hose, which can prevent your washer from draining quickly or at all. It is possible to check the hose for clogs yourself, but it is a messy process, especially if there is water backed up in your washer’s drum. You might prefer to outsource this task and keep your hands (and floors) clean.

The Water Valve Failed


Then again, your washing machine might not fill with water at all. If this is the case, it isn’t your pump or hoses, it is your water valve, which could be dirty or broken. The water valve is a relatively complex component of your washer, managing both water and electricity, so to stay safe and ensure proper function of your washing machine, it is best to hire a repair service if you suspect something wrong with the valve.

The Belt Wore out


A belt made of rubber wraps around the drum of your washing machine and allows the motor to spin your clothing clean. Just like the various belts around your car’s engine, your washing machine belt will get old over time, stretching out, cracking or slipping out of place. An over-heavy load of laundry can also cause belts to break or burn. If you have some home repair know-how, you might be able to replace the belt on your own, but it might be wise to call an expert to diagnose your problem, first.

The Gaskets Cracked

washing machine front

A gasket is a seal that prevents water or air from seeping through two surfaces. The most important gaskets in your washer prevent water from leaking out of the drum and onto your floor. Because these components are made of rubber, they will shrink and crack over time, necessitating replacement. Fortunately, if you have a front-loading washer, you can easily replace the gaskets around the door by yourself. Cracked gaskets deeper inside your washer might be a job for a pro.

The Lid Switch Died


Finally, if it seems like nothing is working within your washer — it won’t fill with water, it won’t spin, it won’t do anything to clean your laundry — your appliance might be fully dead, or the lid switch might be malfunctioning. Your washer has a sensor near the lid to tell it when the drum is properly sealed. If that sensor is faulty, it won’t tell the motor to turn on because it believes that water and clothes could spin out into your laundry room. Again, you should call a professional to verify that you are merely suffering from a malfunctioning lid switch.

A washing machine is a complex appliance, and there are hundreds of things that could go wrong with it. If yours isn’t functioning as it should, you should get expert help fast — so you can clean your laundry sooner rather than later.

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