An average family of four produces more than 60 pounds of dirty laundry each week. If the family owns an average-sized washing machine, this equates to about one load of laundry each day.
For this reason, washing machines remain an essential fixture in many homes so when a unit fails unexpectedly, it's never a good thing. Fortunately, washing machines often display warning signs before they fail. Learn how to recognize them.
Mid-range washing machines generate some level of noise, but often, particularly in houses with separate laundry rooms, this noise barely escapes this room. If the sound from your machine has magnified, this is cause for concern. Check first that there aren't too many clothes inside; never fill past the last row of holes along the drum.
An overfilled load causes the drum to slam vigorously during the wash cycle, which is the result of the noise you hear. If you've eliminated overfilling as the problem, it could be that the drum is loose and not correctly fastened in place, particularly if you primarily hear the extra noise during the spin cycle.
Failing to Fill the Drum With Water
A washing machine without water does little (if anything). So, if the drum is not filling with water during the cycle, first check that the cold and hot water connections have not been turned off. If you've moved the washing machine recently, it may now be pressing up against the hose and creating a kink that is preventing the water from flowing correctly.
However, on a more serious note, a drum failing to fill could be an indication of an electrical problem. During the wash cycle, an electric control panel prompts the water inlet valve to turn on, which sends water flowing into the tank. When there is a problem with the control panel, the intake valve won't activate, and the drum won't fill with water.
Not Draining All the Water From the Drum
Although you need water during the wash cycle, you also need the water to drain at some point to properly clean your clothes. If at the end of the cycle you see water at the base of the drum or your clothes are dripping wet, this is a sign that water is not properly draining from the drum.
At best, this scenario is the result of a clogged drain. Debris from your loads, like lint, can collect in the drain over time and in turn create a blockage that prevents water from passing through.
However, water could also be a sign of a failing drainage pump, as these units can wear over time from normal use. If the pump is failing, you may also be hearing strange noises during the cycle when the water would normally be draining.
Not Responding or Washing as Selected
If you own a newer washing machine, you likely operate the machine from a digital or electric control panel. After loading your clothes, you select and start the cycle. If the control panel is not responding, as simple as it sounds, the first thing you want to do is verify the power cord is connected.
Vigorous spin cycles can loosen the power connection over time. If this is not the case, there is an electrical issue. If the panel is functioning, but you've selected the sanitize cycle, but it's washing on quick wash instead, for instance, this is also an indication of an electrical issue. Never attempt to repair an electrical problem on your own.
One advantage washing machines offer is that problems are typically progressive. An issue might be small today but can easily grow into something more significant over time. Use this to your advantage and have your washing machine repaired by a professional at the first sign of a problem.