Common Reasons Your Washer Won’t Drain

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Common Reasons Your Washer Won’t Drain

And How to Diagnose and Fix Them

As a homeowner you may be experiencing a problem where your washing machine does not drain. This can happen because of one of two reasons, either the water is not draining from the washing machine or the water is able to exit the washing machine but it is not able to flow through the drain pipe in the wall. There’s a number of issues that can cause those problems and with careful diagnosis you should be able to figure it out. That being said, there are some cases where an appliance repairman will need to be called if it’s trouble with your washing machine that you can’t handle or you may have to call a professional plumber to clear the drain clog in the drain in the wall.

Washer Drain Pump Connections
Washer Drain Pump Connections

Here are some of the most common reasons your washer won’t drain

Most  washing machines will have troubleshooting section and their manual. If you threw away the manual when you first purchased the washer or you lost it, you can do a Google search and find an online pdf manual for your washer. Usually in the back pages there are steps that you can follow to diagnose what the problem is. This however will only give you the faulty indication and a few things to look for but it doesn’t encompass everything that can go wrong. All so many new more advanced models will have error codes that can be displayed on the front control panel. You still may need to look up what the error code is but these give you a really good head start.

  • A clogged or kink in the drain tube
  • An obstruction at the water pump filter (lost sock or lint clog)
  • A broken or loose drive belt
  • An obstruction or clogged in the drain system
  • A faulty lid switch

The Washing Machine’s Drain Tube Clogged

If you have an obstruction in the drain tube most likely you will hear the washing machine running and the pump running but it just doesn’t evacuate the water. To solve this visually look at the tube and make sure there are no kinks in the hose. Next you can disconnect the tube and blow air into the tube to see if there are any obstructions. This happens sometimes after you may wash something that sheds a lot of fibers like a bath mat or rug. 

Clogged Washing Machine Pump Filter
Clogged Washing Machine Pump Filter

Washing Machine’s Clogged Drain Pump

If you do hear the water pump running but it sounds like it’s being bogged down there is more than likely fabric or some sort of material fibers that is clogging the pump mechanism. To fix this you’ll need to remove the rear panel and examine the pump. The pumps entrance and exit are connected via a corrugated tube that is sometimes translucent (see through), this is common and helpful in being able to visually inspect the exit and input of the pump for clogs and debris.

If you don’t see any debris in the corrugated tubes leading to and from the pump then you may remove those and inspect the impellers of the pump making sure that they turn freely. Any issues beyond this you will likely have to call an appliance repairman.

Issues With the Washing Machine’s Drive Belt

It’s common for a washing machine to be designed with one motor that works to turn the drum as well as the impellers of the pump. The design of the washing machine achieves this by reducing pulleys and the use of a belt. If this belt becomes damaged or slips off of the pulleys you can’t have issues that will cause the pump to not function properly. This is another issue that sometimes requires a trained eye to understand how the belt needs to be properly position and also diagnose any reasons as to why the belt may have slipped off the pulley in the first place, which is not very normal.

Plumbing Drain Clog

In order for your washing machine to evacuate the water with the pump it requires that the drain in the wall to be clear. Specifically the connection for the drain hose to the drain in the wall is not airtight and this is so you can hear the water when it drains and also visually see if there is a clog because water will start pouring out the top of the drain. This allows you to quickly identify a problem with the drain if there is one even though it may seem like a messy situation. Most drains in your home at your sinks and showers are gravity fed. This drain being connected to a pump, if the connection was sealed, you could potentially have a pump forcing water into a drain and if the clog was after the air vent, the water would be forced out the top of the vent. This could go all inside your wall and not be detected for days or weeks. 

The reason sometimes that this drain clogs is because there are many fibers end clothing that are lighter than water and float, these can sometimes get clogged in the drains drain trap. Also this drain has a vent which is a vertical pipe connected to the drain embedded in the wall that allows for the water to freely displace the volume inside the drain. This is one of the more easily diagnosed issues because you have a good indication if the drain is not draining properly because there is nothing needed to be disconnected in order to see the water not going where it is supposed to. To fix this you may want to use a drain snake that can be purchased or bought from a hardware big box store or you may want to call your plumber

Diagnosing Lid Switch Problems With the Washing Machine

Many washing machines have a lid switch that is activated when the door or lid is closed. If the switch is faulty or not functioning properly, or if the door is warped and does not activate the switch properly this can lead to problems as well that engage the pump functions of the washing machine. With the washing machine on you will want to physically engage the switch with your finger and you should hear a clicking which is a relay that opens and closes to bring power to those circuits. The physical switch will also under normal operations make a click noise when it is engaged. If you do not here that then the switch may be broken. 

If you ever problems with clogs of any sort, we are just a click away. Also if you would like have your drains inspected – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.

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