Welcome to our 5-minute guide to diagnosing and fixing washing machines that are not draining. This guide covers the 3 most common problems. So, before replacing your washing machine, check that these simple problems (and fixes) aren’t the reason your washing machine isn’t working.
Along with an explanation of a potential cause for each problem, we’ll offer up a DIY fix (where possible).
Washing Machine Not Draining OR Spinning?
If you’ve noticed your washing machine not draining correctly, there’s a good chance it’s not moving on to the spin cycle either.
Typically, modern washing machines won’t start spinning, until the drain cycle is complete. So, without finding and fixing the problem causing your washing machine not to drain, the washer won’t spin either.
On most occasions, it’s likely that the lack of draining and spinning are interconnected. But, we’ll only know for sure, when the issue causing the washer not to drain, is cleared.
Quick-Fire Checks: Is A Blockage Your Problem?
Typically, washing machine blockages are the main culprit for an appliance that’s not draining.
To discount blockages as the issue your experiencing, you can run some DIY checks.
Pump Sound Check
Is the pump running? Washing machine pumps are incredibly noisy, so it should be fairly obvious if the pump is running.
If you can’t hear the pump running, there’s a good chance there’s a fault with the pump or electrical wiring and connections to/from the component, rather than a blockage.
Most washing machines have a coin trap or filter behind a front panel. If either of these drain water, it’s unlikely a blockage is to blame.
Unscrew the front panel to reveal the filter/coin trap. Remove any debris and clean out the trap to remove the blockage.
If the drain hose on your washing machine can be drained manually by removing the hose, the problem isn’t a blockage. Instead, the problem here is more likely to lie with the pump.
Hose Kink Check
If your washing machine has a mind of its own when it’s on a spin cycle, there’s a good chance it moves. And, if it’s moving backwards, it could be putting pressure on, and kinking, hoses.
When the washer puts pressure and kinks in a hose, that’s enough to stop water draining away. Much like a garden hose won’t work with a kink in it, neither will your washer.
The Top 3 Reasons Washing Machines Won’t Start Draining
If your washing machine isn’t draining, there are a few culprits. By trying to determine the culprit now, you’ll be saving yourself time. More importantly, you’ll be saving yourself plenty of cash on expensive appliance repair bills, or parts for those fixing the problem on a DIY basis.
The last thing you want to do is end up replacing the wrong parts, only to find the problem still occurs.
Here are the most common reasons that lead to a washing machine not draining:
- Blockages (hose, pump, coin trap)
- The pump isn’t working (at all)
- The pump is faulty (and working intermittently)
For each problem below, we’ve offered up the DIY fix.
Washing machine blockages are extremely common. Ever wonder how 24 socks go in, and only 23 come out the other side?
There’s a very good chance the same sock that made you think you were going senile, is the one that’s now not allowing your washing machine to drain.
But seriously, blockages come in all shapes and sizes. Common items that cause blockages in washing machines include:
- Socks/small items of clothing
- Wrappers left in pockets
After they circulate on the wash cycle, they’ll make their way out the drum during the drain cycle. And, that means they’ve now got the opportunity to get lodged in the:
- Coin trap
This doesn’t just stop your washing machine from draining, it’s going to put excess strain on the pump. And, that’s going to lead to the pump wearing out MUCH more quickly than it should. So, fixing this as soon as possible could save you from a costly pump replacement.
The coin trap (also known as a pin trap) is a likely culprit, and a good place to start. Removing the lower front panel of your appliance, should expose the coin trap. Remove any debris, and clean out the coin trap.
Next, remove each hose and ensure water is flowing. If you remove a section of hose and it’s not draining, that’s the culprit. But, if one hose drains, the next doesn’t and the pump is in between, the pump is the culprit.
Remove any debris from hoses and the pump, and the washing machine should start draining again.
The Washing Machine Pump Isn’t Working (At All)
It’s usually VERY obvious if a pump isn’t working. Besides the drum spinning, it’s the noisiest part on a washing machine. Even if there is a blockage, the pump will still attempt to operate. If your pump isn’t noisy, but it’s making a humming noise or vibrating slightly, that’s a sign that it’s at least trying to operate.
If your washing machine pump isn’t working at all, it won’t make a sound.
The DIY diagnostic process starts with a visual inspection of the neutral and live connections to the pump. Have they been burnt out due to old age or leaks? Are they loose?
Loose neutral and live connections can easily be secured. But, burnt out connections are usually not worth fixing. Instead, replacing the pump would be a better option.
If a visual inspection doesn’t confirm an electrical fault with the pump, you’ll need to take it one step further. You can test the pump by using a digital multi-meter. A multi-meter will give a reading in ohms.
Typically, you should expect to see a reading of 5-10hms for a washing machine pump. Anything less than this, and the pump isn’t being provided with enough power during the drain OR wash cycle.
The Pump Is Faulty
Washing machine pumps are moving parts, and moving parts wear out. A common reason a pump replacement is needed, is due to the fins on the pump being worn or broken. Likewise, the shaft can start getting jammed due to bearings that have deteriorated, and this reduces the pump’s ability to drain water.
If you have a problem with broken fins, seized bearings, or even a seized shaft on your washing machine pump, it’s going to be obvious.
Pumps on washing machines are noisy as it is. But, with this broken or excessively worn parts, the noise will be horrendous. So, if your washing machine is noisy, and continues to get louder (as the parts continue to wear), this is your problem.
Unfortunately, there’s no DIY fix for this, besides an expensive service kit; it makes more sense to replace the current component with a new pump.
Most modern washing machine pumps are only held on by 3 securing screws or bolts. Remove these, and the pump should slide free.
All that’s left to do, is to check the part number on the pump, order a replacement, and refit it using the 3 securing screws/bolts.
Thanks for reading our 5-minute guide covering machines that won’t drain.
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And, if you still can’t get your washing machine to drain, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.