Washers and dryers are the workhorses of our homes. But one day the unexpected happens — one of them stops working, or doesn’t do its job properly. Taking action sooner rather than later when these machines malfunction can save you money in the long run. Here is a list of common problems with washers and dryers:
Washer Won’t Run
If the washer stopped when it should have continued to the next cycle, the machine’s overload protector may have tripped. Take out some of the articles to reduce the load and let the protector reset itself. Then restart the machine. It may be necessary to reset the washer by unplugging and plugging it back in.
If the washer doesn’t operate or make noise when set on any cycle, it may not be receiving electrical power. To check, do the following:
Make sure the machine is plugged in properly and turned on. Be sure the washer lid is completely closed.
Check the outlet for power using a small lamp or voltage tester.
If the outlet seems dead, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.
Unplug the washer and check the cord for a break or frayed area. If necessary, replace the cord.
Check the lid switch and the tab on the lid that it pushes against. Press and release the switch. If it doesn’t click, it’s probably broken. Remove the switch, test it, and replace it if needed.
For front loaders, it’s the door switch that must be closed and the door lock activated before the machine will start. Check the strike where it engages in the door lock assembly, and replace it if it’s warped or broken. The door switch will have to be replaced if it no longer locks properly.
If the washing machine still doesn’t run, the controls may be faulty, and you need to call a repair person.
Washer Shakes and Moves
Make sure your washer load is balanced. Adjust the load if it’s squashed on one side of the tub.
Check that your floor is level. If not, put your washer on a piece of plywood, using shims if necessary.
Ensure all the washer feet are there, and that they’re firmly on the floor. Level the front two legs if necessary, and secure the lock nuts in place. Most washing machines have self-adjusting back legs. Tilt the washer forward until the rear legs are about three inches in the air. Then set the machine down to allow the legs to automatically adjust.
Washer Puddles and Leaks
Leaking water from a washing machine often comes from hoses or connections. Make sure the hose connections to the faucets and back of the washer are secure, and that they’re not cracked or leaking. Check that the hose washers are seated in the hoses properly, and are free of cracks.
Look for worn or leaky hoses and replace them. Turn off the water before removing the hoses, then drain them into a bucket.
Make sure the washing machine is draining properly, and that there aren’t any clogs in the drain hose.
Using too much detergent can cause over-sudsing, resulting in overflow and puddles on the floor. For front-loading machines, use only a high efficiency (HE) detergent. Adding a high-sudsing detergent meant for top loading washers will also cause over-sudsing, which will leak onto the floor.
Keep the seal clean around the door of a front-loading machine. It’s a common area for debris build-up, preventing the door from sealing properly and allowing water to seep out.
Front load washers are known for developing a musty or mildew smell, but top loaders can as well.
To help prevent this, use the right amount of detergent. Too much creates excessive suds, and leaves a dirty residue that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew.
Run a vinegar solution through a hot water cycle once a month to clean your machine and cut down on bad odors.
It’s a good idea to leave a front loader door open, and a top loader lid up when the machines aren’t in use in order to air them out.
Dryer Runs But No Heat
When a dryer runs but never heats up, first make sure the controls aren’t on a non-heat setting, such as “fluff”.
The thermal fuse located in the exhaust duct in the back panel of the dryer could have tripped to prevent your dryer from overheating. Replace it with an identical fuse, and inspect your dryer’s vents for lint build-up. Thermal fuses can blow because of trapped heat in the vents. Consistently overloading the dryer can also cause the thermal fuse to blow.
Test the dryer’s heating element, temperature switch, thermostat, and timer. Replace any defective item. Also inspect the power cord for broken connections, burns, or scorching. Replace it if necessary.
For gas dryers, see if the igniter is cycling. If it is, but the burner isn’t engaging, the electrical coils in the gas valve may be defective.
As well, check to see if the igniter is glowing. If not, there could be a break in the igniter.
For any of these problems, call in a professional if you’re not confident you can do the repairs yourself.
Dryer Won’t Turn On
After checking that the dryer was plugged in and the starter button was pressed or turned on properly, follow the same steps you would with a washer to check the electrical outlet, fuses, circuit breakers, and power cord.
Check the thermal fuse. If it’s blown the dryer won’t start (or it may stop heating), and you’ll have to replace it.
The door latch may not be engaging. Check for lint and remove it, then clean the metal contact areas with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. You may have to replace a faulty door latch.
Test the terminal block, thermostat, and start switch. Replace any malfunctioning parts.
Dryer Noisy or Vibrates
When dryer glides begin to age and wear, you’re going to hear squeaks, squeals, and clanging from your dryer. Your clothes may also catch between the drum and the door.
Thumping and vibrating may occur if the dryer isn’t level. Adjust the dryer legs, first side to side, then front to back. Check your work with a level.
Small items such as coins, buttons, and paper clips can get caught between the drum and the front or rear of the dryer. Inspect the drum and remove any objects.
Loud squealing or vibrations, and high-pitched sounds are signs that you need to replace the blower wheel. Sometimes all you need to do is remove lint or other objects from it to stop the noise.
Other common parts that become noisy when they need to be replaced are the drum support rollers, and the main belt that wraps around the drum and causes it to turn.
Dryer Motor Running But Drum Not Spinning
Most often this issue is caused by a worn or broken belt. If the belt isn’t broken or worn, check to see if it’s out of place.
Other causes for this problem include: the drum support rollers may be worn and need replacing, or the motor may have seized and you need a new one.
Some washer and dryer fixes are simple and some are not. When you need a pro, call the experts at C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496.