Why Do Washing Machine Drains Show Signs of Main Clogs First?
It’s terrible when you have a load of laundry in the washing machine, you check it thinking it’ll be done, but instead you find a pool of water and soaked clothes now dirtier than when you put them in. When this happens, it’s likely the washing machine drain is clogged. Why do washing machine drains often show signs of main clogs first? The most likely cause of the clog is a problem with the filter.
What’s Causing a Washing Machine to Clog?
Appliance repair pros see all kinds of stuff – it could be socks, underwear, toys – stuck in filters or drains. It’s pretty easy for small clothes or items to get lodged into a small space.
If your washing machine isn’t a front-load washer the problem is likely from something else as only front-loading units have filters.
One more common reason for clogged drains in washing machines is a failed drain pump. This can happen with front-loading or top-loading washers. It’s almost always a mechanical issue. It’s probable a component has broken and needs to be replaced. It may be possible to repair the broken drain pump versus replacing it.
Newer model washing machines give error codes for the exact problem. With or without error codes or screens with messages, it’s best to check the machine’s manual. You should be able to figure out if you have a simple, fixable issue or if you need to contact a repair expert.
Tips to Try
There are some easy ideas to try to stop, or at least decrease, the chances of a clogged drain in your washing machine.
You can put small clothes or items, like baby clothes, socks and underwear, in a mesh bag to wash them.
If your machine has a filter, it’s important to check and clean the filter as often as is suggested. Filters are located in the front of the machine on most models. Take the filter out and remove all the lint, dust and anything else it’s gathered.
If your washing machine still has standing water inside it after clearing the filter, you may have to clear the drain hose that is located alongside the filter. To check the drain, no special tools are required, however it’s good to have a container or bucket ready, so water will not run onto the floor. If the drain line will not clear on its own, there might be an obstruction in the rubber tubes itself. This is something you’ll need to contact an appliance repair expert about. You want to ensure this is fixed professionally while not doing damage to any parts of the appliance.
Top-loading machines have lid switches that can fail. If you have this issue, closing the lid won’t activate the machine cycles. Another possibility is an issue with the drive belt. Occasionally, these can wear out, loosen or break, causing the very same problems.
More Answers to a Clogged Washing Machine
Working with chemical products takes some safety and know-how. You can decide to try this out before calling a plumber or appliance technician. There are multiple chemical cleaners out there on the market. Here are some of the chemicals or material the cleaning products contain and what is helpful to know about each:
- Enzymes – These are special chemicals produced for cutting through clogs and preventing build-up. You can buy enzymatic cleaners, tons of the them, on the internet yet they can be pricey.
- Alkaline – Items containing sodium hydroxide, for example, are great for dissolving oils and hair.
- Acidic – Sulfuric acid is a terrific oil and grease dissolver. It can also work on and eliminate textiles and lint. If you want something more powerful, you can attempt using hydrochloric acid but make sure you understand the safety risk with it.
Always use chemicals or chemical products with care. Do not mix multiple chemicals together. When you have a new product, when using it for the first time, it’s a good idea to put a small amount on a surface. It should be a safe reaction. Normally it may bubble and loosen the material in the pipe or drain.
More safety measures while using chemicals are:
- Safety glasses – Chemicals can burn your eyes.
- Rubber gloves – Chemicals can burn your hands.
- Face mask – Breathing in chemicals and vapors can be poisonous.
- Make sure the room is ventilated – Fumes can linger and be dangerous. They can get into walls and last there as well.
- Shower and change clothes after you’re done – Fumes or residue can stay on you and clothing longer than you think.
Run a Hot Water Cycle
Another tip to try is simply running hot water through the washer, with a load of clothes or not. Hot water may clean and wash away some gunk, lint or built-up dust inside the drain.
Don’t do this with a load of clothing you wouldn’t wash in hot water, so do this with the whites or you can do with an empty machine.
Search for the Problem Elsewhere
If nothing has worked so far, the reason for a clogged, flooding washing machine might be somewhere else in your pipes and plumbing. The issue could be with the water pump which is connected to the drain inside the machine. It could need repair or replacement.
South End Plumbing specializes in drain cleaning and detecting problems, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – 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.