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Why Won’t My Washer Drain?

A draining issue can be traced to a number of faults or broken parts, but you can take some immediate steps to resolve the problem.

Getting To the Source

First up, you’ve got to find the source of the issue. Here are some common reasons to explain why your washer is full of water.

Clogged Washer Drain

Your washer has a drain to carry the water out of the system at the end of the cycle, but if it’s clogged or blocked, then your water has nowhere to go. You may be surprised at what can clog your washer: even small pieces of lint, or dirt buildup in the filter can stop it up.

Clogged Washer Drain Hose

Your washing machine’s drain hose takes the water from your washer out to your plumbing. This too can get clogged with small pieces of fabric, lint, or a buildup of dirt and debris over time, preventing the water flow out of the washer.

Faulty or Blocked Washer Pump

The washer pump is the power behind the draining process, pushing the water out at the end of the cycle to ensure that it drains properly. If something’s blocking the pump, or if it’s broken, it can’t do its job.

Broken Washer Lid Switch

There’s a small switch inside the rim of the top of your washer that detects when the washer door is closed. If the switch is broken, your machine won’t know if and when the door is closed, and that will interrupt the washing cycle. In turn, water can sit inside the machine.

Defective Washer Water-level Switch

Similar to your washer lid switch, the washer water-level switch is a detective device: it monitors the water level inside your washing machine. When it’s not working properly, your system won’t know when it’s time to drain the water out at the end of the cycle.

What To Do When Your Washer Won’t Drain

Clearing a Clogged Washer Drain

When clogs happen, you can deal with it as you would in any other drain! Try fishing a drain snake through the drain’s opening to clear the clog, then check to see if your system can complete its cycle properly.

How to Clean a Clogged Washer Drain Hose

If the washer drain hose is to blame, here’s how to clean it:

  • Place a bucket beneath the drain hose opening in case of any sudden water flow, and disconnect the hose from the washer.

  • Inspect the hose with a flashlight to see if there’s an obstruction inside.

  • If you spot something, try to fish it out with a drain snake or straightened wire hanger. You can also try pushing it out with the pressure of your outdoor garden hose.

  • Once the clog is cleared, reattach the drain hose to your washer and see if the cycle completes.

    What to Do if Your Washer Pump is Faulty

    Use your washing machine’s model diagram to locate the washer pump, and remove it from the system. Give its screen a good rinse, and clear any obstructions that might be in the fan blades. If you notice that the washer pump is broken or leaking, then you have a damaged or faulty washer pump on your hands — you’ll need to have it replaced.

While inspecting the washer pump, if you notice any signs of damage such as leaks, cracks, or broken blades, contact your local plumber to have your system and washer pump inspected. Your plumber will discuss the washer pump replacement process with you.

Washer Lid Switch Is Broken

Check to see if the lid switch is the issue by locating it inside the upper rim of your washer and testing it. Lid switch not working? It’s time for a replacement.

A washer lid switch replacement is fairly simple, but you may need your local appliance repair expert to inspect your washer and replace the lid switch for you.

Defective Washer Water-Level Switch

This is another job for a professional appliance repairman. If you suspect your washer water-level switch is defective, call a plumber to take a look. They’ll also be able to take a close look at adjacent parts to make sure everything else is in order, so after the switch is replaced, you can be sure your washer will work perfectly again.

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