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Common Washing Machine Problems and Solutions

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The washing machine is up there with the refrigerator and the heater/AC unit as one of the three most vital home appliances in modern life. When any of these three machines goes south, it can be cause for alarm. Unlike with the other two, however, repairing the washing machine does not automatically entail a service call from a professional.


Prevention/Solution
Leaking is a common problem with washing machines. The first thing to do is to locate the exact spot from which the machine is leaking. The problem is that a washing machine has many places from which water may leak. Check all hoses and look for cracks in the unit itself. Tightening a nut or a screw may be all that is necessary.

Prevention/Solution

Leaking may occur before or after the machine has filled. If a machine leaks after it has already filled with water, this indicates that the leak may be the result of loose connections or a problem with a pump hose. If the leaks occur during the filling process, this indicates a possible crack in an inlet hose.

Prevention/Solution
Almost all washing machines vibrate to a degree, but excessive vibration indicates that the level of the legs is off-kilter. The racket a vibrating machine makes might seem to indicate a problem that would be very expensive to fix, but in most cases the solution is as simple as propping up one corner of the machine with a piece of wood, or even tightening an adjustable leg with a screwdriver.

Prevention/Solution
A washing agitator that spins too roughly or too slowly is usually the result of a drive belt that is either broken or has come too loose. Inspecting the belt for wear or checking for looseness is the first thing you should do if your machine is suffering agitation problems. Tightening a loose belt typically requires little more than a socket wrench to loose and tighten the nuts. Even replacing a belt is not difficult enough to require a professional.

Prevention/Solution
When water enters a washing machine too slowly or not at all, the problem is normally located in a kink or blockage in the inlet hose that carries water into the well. A pair of hose pliers can be used to remove the hose from the inlet valves. Simply straighten out the hose. If this does not solve the problem, remove the screens from over the values and rinse them under water.

Prevention/Solution
If the tub of water overflows, the first thing to do is unplug the washing machine. If the flow of water continues, turn off the water faucet, remove the water and replace the inlet valve. Replacing the inlet valve is a relatively easy operation involving the removal of the top of the valve and the replacement of the inlet hose. Typically, all that is required is a screwdriver, and and possibly a dull knife.

Warning
If the flow of water halts after you unplug the washing machine, it is a sign of a defective water-level switch. Fixing it is a much more complicated process that requires a professional. While many minor repairs and maintenance of washing machines can be done by the homeowner, if the repair does not solve the problem, it is better to call in a professional than to continue trying to fix it yourself, as you may end up doing even greater damage to the unit.


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