Need Washing Machine Repairs? (read this guide first)
The washing machine has to be the most taken for granted appliance in a modern home. We just load it with washing, add detergent and maybe fabric softener, shut the door, set the program and walk away. When we return the clothes are clean and spun dry.
The only work we need to do is organising some sort of drying regime after the washing leaves the washing machine. The humble washing machine makes life so much easier than it was just one generation ago. But what would you do if your washing machine stopped working? Or worse still flooded your utility room floor?
There’s not just the inconvenience of it all, there’s also the question of repairs, is it worth repairing? Can you repair it yourself? Do you need an expert? Or is it time to buy a new machine? In this article we’ll cover all of that and more so keep reading.
Common Washing Machine Faults
The answers in this article refer to generic front loading washing machine problems and are not related to any specific machine. By checking a few simple things you could save yourself time, money and aggravation. If after checking these generic solutions you still have a problem we would suggest contacting a reliable washing machine repair engineer.
Likewise, if you’re not sure what you’re doing or feel uncomfortable tackling anything of a technical nature you should contact a professional.
Before undertaking any form of repair always ensure the power supply has been disconnected from the appliance to prevent any injury or worse. Also check if your machine is still under warranty, as just the simple act of removing a few screws can invalidate your warranty in some cases.
Washing Machine Won’t Spin
In many cases the cause of the washing machine failing to spin are simple to solve and often just require adjusting the wash load. This is often the case when trying to spin small loads. This is because many modern machines have balance sensors which will look at small loads as potential risks to the machine due to excessive vibration.
This is the same reason why loads that are too big can result in the machine not spinning as well.
It could also be caused by the machine not draining correctly (or at all). Check to see if the pump is clear by looking at the filter (if there is one). The pump is usually located at the bottom of the machine often towards the front.
While you’re there check the pump’s carbon brushes for wear. If the pump has a carbon brush motor, over time the brushes wear and the motor will lose some speed and the slower moving pump will not drain water as it should. The machine’s sensors pick up on this and stop the machine from spinning. These brushes can easily be replaced (if you don’t feel comfortable doing this call an engineer).
Washing Machine Full Of Water And Won’t Drain
If the machine is full of water and it won’t drain, there is an easy way to remove the water without flooding the house. Just remove the drain hose attached to your machine from the upright plastic waste pipe it’s pushed into and quickly place the pipe into a large bucket or bowl. Once the water has been drained from your machine, you should be able to open the door and remove your washing. If you then contact a washing machine engineer you can tell them you have performed a “gravity drain” to remove the water from your machine.
But before you call the engineer, check that the waste pipe isn’t blocked. Over time lint and small pieces of material and soap suds can cause the pipe to slowly become blocked. If this is the problem, you’ll need to clear the blockage before using the washing machine again.
If the drainage pipe is clear, it’s most likely to be the pump at fault. If you need to replace the pump it is possible for the home DIYer or you might feel more comfortable calling an engineer, the choice is yours. If you do want to tackle this job yourself, follow the instructions below (most pumps are fitted in the same way but there’s no guarantee that yours will be, check before disassembly).
How To Remove A Washing Machine’s Water Pump
- Ensure the plug is disconnected from the mains power supply and pull the machine away from the wall then tilt the machine backwards and prop in place using wooden blocks (ensuring they are placed securely).
- Remove the bottom front panel by undoing the two phillips screws just under the top of the kick plate. Once the screws are free, tilt the panel out and remove it.
- Locate the pump and check the filter isn’t blocked, if it’s clear, remove the drain hose by unscrewing the clamp holding it to the pump. Check inside the hose for blockages, if it’s clear, you’ll need to inspect the pump further.
- Feel under the machine and remove the drive belt off the pump. It’s only thin and should stretch just enough to remove it. Now try turning the pump’s flywheel, this should spin easily. If it doesn’t there could be an obstruction inside the pump.
- Feel inside the drain outlet and see if the impeller turns freely and check for broken pieces of plastic at the bottom of the pump housing.
- Either remove any obstructions or replace the pump if necessary.
Washing Machine Door Will Not Open
If there is water in the washing machine, or it detects there is water in it, the door lock will be engaged to prevent a possible flooding of your floor if you accidentally opened the door.
If the machine has drained of water and the machine has finished all of its cycles, allow a few minutes to pass before attempting to open the door. Allow enough time for the safety lock to disengage. If it still doesn’t open, you will need to remove the top of the machine and reach down to the door lock and physically release it. Ensuring that the power is disconnected first.
Under no circumstances should you force the door as this could cause irreparable damage to the door, door casing, lock assembly etc…
Door latches are fairly delicate so treat them with care to prevent this becoming a problem. Of course if you’re already at this stage, you will probably need to replace the latch assembly or call an engineer to do it for you.
Washing Machine Leaking
One of the reasons the washing machine could be leaking is the pump filter could be blocked; this can be accessed via the bottom panel and doesn’t entail removing the pump. Simply open the inspection cap and check for debris.
The leak could also be coming from the soap dispenser drawer of the machine. If you live in a hard water area (and most people seem to especially in the UK), minerals build up over time as well as the buildup of detergents and undissolved soap etc… Remove the soap drawer and thoroughly clean it and ensure it remains clean by washing it out frequently. You might benefit from adding a water softener tablet or soda crystals to each wash.
Washing Machine Has Foul Smell
This has become a common problem since the introduction of cooler wash cycles and the use of liquid detergents without running a hot wash in between. This allows a buildup of bacteria which eventually coats large areas of the inside of the machine which is the cause of the foul smell.
There are a number of branded washing machine cleaners available that can be run through the machine to solve this problem but it’s a case of trial and error as some are more efficacious than others.
To prevent this problem recurring, run a hot wash at least once a month to help to remove detergent buildup and kill bacterial growth.
Detergents Sticking In The Drawer
This is less common nowadays with the advent of liquid detergents but can still cause problems. This is usually caused by a buildup of detergent in the dispenser drawer or blocked jets. The draws can be removed and cleaned using a soft brush or cloth.
The jets are located at the top of the drawers and can be unblocked using a cocktail stick or similar. The problem is almost always caused by mineral buildup due to hard water and is inescapable in hard water areas.
Clothes Come Out Of The Machine Ripped
This is a common problem and it’s also usually an easy problem to solve. It’s usually caused by foreign objects getting caught in the drum which then snag on the clothes which tear as they are spun around the drum at high speed. Always check pockets before adding clothes to the washing machine for keys, screws or even coins or small stones etc…
Washing Machine Won’t Switch On
The very first thing to check is that the machine is connected to the mains supply and the socket is switched on. Next, check the socket is working correctly by plugging another electrical device into it and checking it works correctly.
If that’s not the problem, you could have a faulty connection or the fuse on the plug could have blown. You can check the plug fuse but faulty connections can be difficult to trace unless you are a trained electrician. However, if you’re using an extension cable to run your washing machine, the lead could be overheating or in some cases it might not be earthed.
All large electrical appliances should be connected directly to the mains supply. If that’s not possible you can either get the appliance lead lengthened or install new wall sockets closer to the machine.
Washing Machine Not Filling With Water
This could be caused by the inlet pipe being partially perished or disconnected from the machine. If this is the case, there will be a pool of water on the floor, if not then the inlet pipe could be partially blocked, or twisted. It’s relatively easy to remove the inlet pipe to check for blockages and/or replace. Plus, replacement inlet pipes are fairly inexpensive to buy online.
In some cases the machine might just be between cycles, in which case it’s always best to wait a while and see if it sorts itself out before jumping to the wrong conclusion and causing a whole load of unnecessary work and expense.
Washing Machine Is Wobbling Or Vibrating
If the washing machine is wobbling or vibrating excessively during the wash or spin cycle, the most probable cause is it is incorrectly balanced. To site the machine correctly, use the adjustable feet to balance the machine and place a spirit level on top of the machine as a guide (if you don’t own a spirit level, a clear bowl of water will do the trick).
Other explanations include; Coins in the machine disrupting the balance of the load, or too much washing or conversely not enough washing, anything that can cause an uneven distribution of weight can cause the machine to wobble when the drum is spinning at high speed.
It is important you remedy this issue as long term damage can be caused to the drum’s bearings. Which can be difficult and expensive to replace.
Washing Machine Becomes Noisy
If your machine suddenly becomes noisy during the wash or spin cycle it’s usually something simple like a foreign object in the drum; Often a key, coin, screw or even a stone rattling around inside the drum. Or even pushed through one of the holes in the drum and rubbing onto the actual body of the machine.
It could also be the machine is sited on uneven ground and has worked its way into a position that’s far more uneven than it was originally.
Another cause could be that an uneven load is making the machine noisy by putting too much pressure on the drum’s bearings.
Sometimes it’s an internal bolt or screw that has come loose due to the vibration of the machine that causes the problem.
Worse case scenario is the bearings on the drum have become damaged or worn which in most cases will mean buying a new machine or a costly repair.
Washing Machine Drum Won’t Turn At All
If the drum won’t turn at all it could be any number of problems causing it, all of which are best checked by an engineer but for your information it could be;
- Faulty motor
- Worn brushes on the motor
- Faulty motor controller
- Control panel fault
- Trapped drive belt
(to name but a few)
Washing Machine LED Displaying A Fault Code
Most modern washing machines have some sort of fault code system. The problem is there are as many different fault codes as there are washing machine manufacturers so it’s almost impossible to get into specifics.
Check your machine’s handbook for the interpretation of your machine’s fault codes. They generally only indicate in which area of the machine the fault is located. We recommend checking the inlet filter isn’t blocked or inhibited in some way before getting too technical as this is often the reason for fault code displays.
Washing Machine Sticks At Some Point During The Program
In general terms this could be caused by the failure of a component. For example if the machine cannot move onto the next part of the program due to the water not heating due to a fault, then the thermostats detect a problem and won’t allow the program to advance.
This would ordinarily be accompanied by a fault code to indicate the area the malfunction is in. Once the general area is located, an engineer will be able to find the fault and advise you on how to proceed.
Calling In The Expert Washing Machine Engineers
If you can’t or don’t want to carry out any repairs to your washing machine yourself, you’ll need to call in an expert to do it for you. This can be quite a daunting task because you hear so many scare stories about dodgy repairmen etc…
The reality is, the majority of washing machine repairers are reputable, reliable and trustworthy. The reason you never hear about them is they’re not newsworthy. Reporters are only interested in stories that attract a large audience and a headline like,
“Washing Machine Repairer Does A Great Job”
Is hardly going to attract many readers.
As we have just established above, there are a number of things that can go wrong with your washing machine and usually just after the warranty has run out. Many of the tasks are easy enough to do yourself, but they’re time consuming and as much of it is speculative, you could be looking at the wrong part and need to devote more time to find the correct part.
That’s where an experienced engineer is invaluable, their time is important too and with their practical experience they will probably be able to go directly to the fault saving you time and money.
How Much Can You Expect to Pay For Washing Machine Repairs?
Prices will vary depending on the make and model of your washing machine and who you get to repair it. The best way to find out the average price for the repair of your particular machine in your area is to call a number of companies and ask for a quote. But here is a rough guide for some common repairs and the average price to fix them.
Common Washing Machine Repairs and Prices
|Supply and Fit New Part||Price In UK||Estimated Time|
|Pump||£70 – £100||30 minutes – 1 hour|
|Door Seal||£70 – £100||30 minutes – 1 hour|
|Motor||£175 – £260||1 hour – 1.5 hours|
|Motor Brushes||£60 – £100||30 minutes – 1 hour|
Contacting Manufacturers For Repairs
If you have one of the more popular brands of washing machines, you might consider calling them directly to get your machine repaired. If this is the case, below are contact numbers for the most popular washing machine manufacturers.
|Washing Machine Manufacturer||Telephone Number|
|Indesit Washing Machine Repairs||0344 822 4224|
|Miele Washing Machine Repairs||0330 160 6630|
|Hotpoint Washing Machine Repairs||0344 822 4224|
|Samsung Washing Machine Repairs||0333 000 0333|
|Bosch Washing Machine Repairs||0344 892 8979|
If you don’t own a washing machine made by one of the above companies we would suggest.
- Asking friends and family for any recommendations
- Search online
- Look in the local press
- Look through the telephone directory
Always check that the company you use gives a warranty on the part(s) they are replacing and that they are using authentic parts and not a cheaper generic part that’s more liable to stop working.
Most reputable companies will be able to come and give you a quote within a short timeframe. Some will even do an emergency service but this will cost considerably more than waiting a few days for a regular repair.
Would It Be Better To Replace The Washing Machine?
It’s worth bearing in mind that sometimes the cost of repair far outweighs the cost of replacing the machine. This is, of course, dependent on how old the machine is and how much it cost in the first place.
The average lifespan of a washing machine is anywhere between 10 and 13 years and this can play an important part in determining whether to repair or replace your machine.
The 50/50 Test
The easiest way to decide is to gauge two factors which we like to call the 50/50 test. This entails working out the expected life left in your machine and the cost of the repair. For instance; if the machine has 50% or more of its expected lifespan left and if the repair will cost no more than 50% of the cost of replacing it with a new one, then the repair is probably your best option.
However, in our experience once any one component breaks down on a machine, there’s an increased likelihood of another component breaking down in the future. Then the 50/50 test isn’t quite so accurate as you have to include the outlay of the first repair into your calculation.
This can all seem confusing and ultimately the decision is entirely yours to make. But it’s also worth considering that washing machine prices have decreased in relation to income over the last few years by some considerable degree. It is estimated that a new machine now costs 1.5% of the average monthly income. Compared to the 8% a few years back.
If your machine is of a fairly modern design it is likely to have a microchip installed which are usually reliable. But if it was to go wrong it would definitely be expensive to repair as those chips cost quite a bit which will be added to your repair bill.
Some machines also have sealed drums which can increase the cost of repairing the drum or bearings exponentially. Which would almost certainly make it advisable to purchase a new machine than to have it repaired.
Are You Going To Replace Your Old Washing Machine?
If you have decided to replace your old machine, here are a few pointers just to set you off in the right direction. New machines offer different options than your old machine probably featured. For instance;
- Improved energy efficiency
Not always the cheapest to buy, but energy efficient machines could save you money in the long run by using less power. Running costs on washing machines can vary greatly. Prices range from £20 to more than £100 per year. The average seems to be around the £35 per year mark. All new machines will have an energy efficiency rating which will give you more information.
- Spin speed
The average is 1200 to 1400 revolutions per minute (RPM) but there are faster spin speeds available. Bear in mind that faster spin speeds are noisier and use more electricity.
- Drum size
Washing machine drum sizes range from 5kg to 12kg, look for the size that’s going to suit your wash load best. If you intend washing duvets for instance, you will need a larger drum size.
- Easily repairable
You are going to want a machine that doesn’t take hours to repair, increasing the repair price. Look for a machine that doesn’t have a sealed drum for example.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether or not to repair a washing machine depends on the age of the machine and the cost of the repair. The average lifespan of a washing machine is 10 to 13 years. If your machine has half or more than half of its lifespan left and the repair is less than the cost of a new machine it could be worth having it repaired.
A washing machine should last for between 10 and 13 years.
A 10 year old washing machine is only worth repairing if it will cost significantly less to repair it than to replace it. The lifespan of a washing machine is estimated at anywhere between 10 and 13 years which means a 10 year old machine is getting pretty old relatively speaking.
Whether it is better to repair a washing machine or buy a new one depends on the age of the machine and how expensive it will be to repair it. The average lifespan of a washing machine is between 10 and 13 years so if yours is older than 6 years and it needs a major (expensive) repair it would be advisable to replace it with a new one. On the other hand, if your machine is only 3 or 4 years old, and it needs a minor (inexpensive) repair, it would make sense to have it repaired.
To find a reliable washing machine engineer you will need to ask friends and family for any recommendations, or look online, or check out your local press or telephone directory. Ask for quotes from different companies and also check they give warranties on any parts and repairs.