Washing machines have 5 basic steps to their operation: filling, washing, draining, rinsing, and spinning. If even one of these steps fails, the entire operation shuts down. So, if your washer is not draining properly, it can throw a serious monkey wrench into your laundry day. Luckily, diagnosing and fixing a washing machine drain pump problem can be an easy process, and you can do it yourself.
How a Drain Pump Works
In order to know how to fix a draining problem, it can help to know how a successful drain cycle works. After the wash cycle ends, the washer’s control board sends voltage to the drain pump, which forces water from the tub into the drain hose. The hose then leads to a wash tub or stand pipe, and the washer will either fill again or end its cycle. A properly functioning pump will perform these actions without excessive noise or leaking, and the process should only take a few minutes, depending on the size and type of your washer.
The drain pump may also have a filter or catch that will stop any foreign objects (coins, pieces of fabric) from entering the drain hose. This filter should be emptied regularly, as a restricted filter can increase draining time or stop the draining process altogether.
Possible Causes of Improper Draining
If your washer is not draining properly, there are several possible causes.
- Malfunctioning Drain Pump
- A pump can fail in two ways: mechanically and electrically. A mechanical failure can be caused by a foreign object caught in the pump, or direct damage to a pump component, such as the impeller. Inspecting the pump can often reveal a mechanical failure.
- An electrical failure can be diagnosed by using a multimeter. Remove the pump from the washer and use a multimeter to test the motor for continuity, a continuous electrical path present in the part. If the pump motor tests negative for continuity, the pump will need to be replaced.
- Obstructed Drain Hose
- If a foreign object gets past the drain pump and into the drain hose, it can obstruct the water flow and cause a draining problem. Simply remove the drain hose and flush the obstruction to fix this problem.
- Defective Lid Switch
- On some washing machine models, the lid switch prevents the washer from operating if the lid is open. Use a multimedia to test the switch… if it tests negative for continuity, you can replace the part to fix your problem.
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