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How to solve common problems with your washing machine

April 23, 2019

We often take domestic appliances such as our washing machine for granted, until they suddenly break down… We spoke to one of our members, Tom Crutchlow of Mastermend, a domestic appliance repair specialist from London, who shares his top tips on troubleshooting problems with your washing machine and when to call in an engineer.

Almost every home in the UK has a washing machine and a malfunction outside of its guarantee period is not only inconvenient but is a surprise expense you can do without. However, before you call in an expert there are a few quick checks you can undertake yourself, to avoid unnecessary expense.

Note: Before you attempt any minor electrical issues, make sure your machine is switched off and unplugged at the mains.

Issues with drainage

If your washing machine drum is still full of water after it has finished its cycle, then there is an issue with draining. The fault will usually be related to the drain pump. The pump itself could be broken, or there may just be something stuck in the pump or drain hose causing a blockage. To check, you can drain the drum manually via the main hose. Locate the drain hose at the back of the appliance and drop the hose into a large bucket until all of the water has emptied out. Once the water has drained, check for any item that could be blocking the hose or a clog where the hose connects, remove it and reconnect the hose.

Issues with spinning

Should your load make it to the end of the wash cycle then refuse to spin, this could be down to something as simple as your wash load being unbalanced, whether it is a small load or a heavy one. Balance sensors will override the cycle if the clothes are unevenly distributed so try reloading light loads or removing a few items from heavy ones.

It is also possible that if the drum cannot drain, then the spin cycle will not begin – by following the previous fix, you can try to get to the root of the problem. If this is not working, then it could be an issue with the drive belt. Try opening the door and manually spinning the drum, there should be some resistance – if the drum turns too easily then the belt might need replacing. There could also be an issue with the motor and in both these cases it is best to get a washing machine repair engineer to take a look.

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Issues with excessive shaking

Most washing machines vibrate to some extent but if you find it bouncing more than usual and is a lot noisier while it is running, this can be simply because it’s stood on un-even ground. Washing machines come with self or manual levelling feet, therefore, it is important to ensure that all four feet are adjusted correctly so that the washing machine is level. It may be necessary to slightly lift the device to adjust it, and to ensure increased accuracy, use a level. Alternatively, if you’ve overfilled your washing machine, an imbalance may cause it to move forwards. Simply redistributing the weight and resetting the washing machine can often solve this problem.

Issues with bad odours

Are your clothes coming out of the wash smelling musty or unclean? This could be because dirt, limescale and bacteria have a tendency to build up inside the machine if it is not cared for appropriately. Smells can come from a dirty door seal or a mould infested detergent drawer or drum, so make sure you clean these thoroughly, provide a hot soak and give it a hot maintenance wash regularly. Leaving the door open after every wash can also allow moisture to escape and smells to evaporate.

How much do washing machine repairs cost and how do I know if my washing machine is beyond repair?

If you have tried the above fixes, but there is still an issue then it is probably time to get in a local washing machine repair specialist. Washing machine repair costs differ from region to region, tradesperson to tradesperson, and can also depend on both the fault and type of washing machine you own. As a rough guide, to supply and fit a door seal can vary from £69 to £89, new motor brushes cost anything between £55 and £86, new motor repairs average around £175 to £239 and new pumps cost between £72 and £92.

On average, a washing machine should last around 10 years. If your appliance is reaching the threshold, any issues could also be a sign that it is coming towards the end of its life and it may not be worth spending too much on trying to repair it. Similarly, even if it is not so old, but you have had persistent problems with your washing machine then it may be time to consider a new model.

While it is possible to carry out easier repair work yourself, other more complex problems will require the trusted hands of an appliance repair expert. If you’re still having trouble or if you are unsure, find a recommended, reliable and professional washing machine repair specialist in your area at www.checkatrade.com.

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