Your Washer Won’t Drain? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

By Fix4U Team
Washing Machine, Laundry Appliances

Has your washing machine suddenly stopped draining water? Finding pools of water in your laundry room is not only frustrating but can also be hazardous. Diagnosing the root cause is the first step toward getting your washer to work properly again.

At Fix4U Repairs, we often get calls from GTA residents about washers that won’t drain. In most cases, there are several easy fixes you can try yourself before calling a technician. Read on as we delve into the most common reasons a top load or front load washer won’t drain – plus steps to get yours working again.

Common Causes For a Washer Not Draining

When tackling any appliance repair, it helps to understand what can cause the problem in the first place. Here are the most common culprits when a washer won’t drain:

Clogged Drain Hose or Pump

Fix4U Repairs' Technicians Fixing Washer Wont Drain Problem In Gta

The most common reason a washer won’t drain is a clog in the drain hose or pump. Small articles of clothing or debris can get lodged in the drain system and prevent water from exiting the washer during the spin cycle.

Front load washers drain from a small pump located at the bottom front of the washer. To access the pump, remove the toe panel at the bottom – you’ll see a small circular access door. Open it to check for obstructions.

Top load washers drain from a hose mounted at the back of the machine. Pull the washer out from the wall to inspect the hose and remove any clogs.

Unplug small obstructions with needle-nose pliers or use a wire coat hanger to fish out larger items. Check hoses carefully for cracks as well, since small leaks can cause drainage issues.

Clogged Pump Filter

Nearly all washers have a pump filter to prevent stray items like coins, buttons, or socks from clogging internal components. This filter needs cleaning every 3-6 months to keep it free of debris.

To access the pump filter, look for a small, round access panel along the front bottom of the washer. Twist counterclockwise to open, then pull out the filter to remove any dirt or lint trapped inside.

Tip: Lay a towel under the filter access door beforehand to catch drips.

Faulty Lid Switch

Top load washers feature a lid switch that stops the cycle when the lid is opened for safety. If this switch fails, the washer thinks the lid is open and won’t proceed to the drain and spin cycle.

Test this by starting a cycle, then manually advancing to the spin cycle once the tub has filled. If it still won’t spin, the lid switch may be faulty. This switch can often be visually inspected for damage once you remove the top panel.

Worn Out Drain Pump

The drain pump uses an impeller to force water through the drain hose during the spin cycle. Over time, this impeller can wear out or break. Signs include a loud grinding or buzzing noise when the pump should engage. Leaking from the pump area is also a clue that the pump needs replacement.

Kinked Drain Hose

Check that the flexible drain hose hasn’t become kinked or sharply bent. This can block water flow out of the washer. Periodically inspect the hose routing to ensure there are no tight bends.

Technical Problems

With newer washers, issues can arise from faulty control boards, pressure switches, valves, and other components. Unless you are very appliance repair savvy, it’s best to call a professional for diagnosis in these instances. However, always try the DIY fixes first before assuming you have an internal electrical issue.

Step-By-Step Troubleshooting Guide

Now that you know what can cause drainage problems, here is our recommended troubleshooting sequence for a washer that won’t drain:

1. Reset Washer

Begin by performing a master reset. Unplug the washer for 1 minute, then plug it back in. This will reset the control board and can resolve issues caused by a temporary glitch.

2. Check Drain Hose and Pump for Clogs

Unplug the washer before inspecting the drain system. Check all hoses for cracks and leaks. Inspect the drain hose routing to ensure no sharp bends. Remove the toe panel below the washer door to access the drain pump. Use needle-nose pliers to gently remove any debris clogging the pump inlet or impeller.

You can also try blowing air through the hose using a wet/dry shop vacuum on blow setting to dislodge clogs.

3. Clean Out Pump Filter

Remove the round access panel along the front bottom panel of the washer. Locate the pump filter inside and twist counterclockwise to remove it. Rinse any debris from the mesh screen under running water. Replace the filter and access panel before testing.

4. Test Lid Switch

For top load washers, raise the lid and locate the lid switch along the rim. Activate it manually by pressing it while you run a drain and spin cycle. If the washer proceeds to drain and spin, this indicates a faulty switch that requires replacement.

5. Drain Pump Replacement

If the pump is making loud noises during the spin cycle, or you find leaking in the pump area, replacement is likely needed. This requires disconnecting plumbing as well as electrical connections – it’s best left to a professional unless you have appliance repair experience.

6. Inspect Drain Hose

Remove the washer back panel and pull the unit forward to access the drain hose. Make sure the hose is not kinked, cracked, or making sharp bends. Straighten any unnecessary curves. Look for leaks coming from the drain connections. Secure any loose fittings.

7. Call for Service

If you’ve tried all of the above without success, it’s time to call for professional diagnosis and service. Today’s washers contain many electronic components that can fail and require an experienced technician to properly diagnose. Avoid repeatedly running your washer when it’s not draining, as this can cause leaks and more serious problems.

At Fix4U Repairs, our technicians service all major washer brands and models. We’ll troubleshoot the issue over the phone and let you know if it requires a simple repair we can walk you through, or if an onsite visit is best. Contact us anytime at (647) 363-5205 if your GTA washer needs service.

Preventing Future Drainage Problems

While washer repairs are seldom avoidable long-term, you can take a few steps to prevent drainage problems going forward:

  • Clean the pump filter regularly – Every 3-4 months, inspect and clean out the pump filter per the steps above. This preventative maintenance keeps drain lines clear and catch debris before it can clog internal components.
  • Leave the lid open between loads – This allows moisture to evaporate and prevents mildew buildup in the top loader tub. Run a “Rinse & Spin” cycle once a week to freshen the machine.
  • Stop overstuffing the washer – Overloading causes poor cleaning and can trap water in the tub. Load loosely following the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal cleaning and spinning.
  • Avoid cramming large items like sheets into a small drum – This hampers the washing action and prevents proper draining. opt for a larger capacity washer or visit a laundromat for oversized items.
  • Check pockets before washing – Remove wallets, change, tissues, and other items that can get sucked into the pump. Tie drawstrings and sashes to prevent tangling. Use a lingerie bag for bras hooks and underwires.
  • Fix leaks immediately – Standing water around the washer indicates a potential leak. Have it serviced right away before major damage occurs. Even small leaks signal a problem requiring attention.

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When To Call a Professional

While many drainage problems can be resolved with routine troubleshooting, some issues require a trained appliance repair technician:

  • If you’ve tried the steps outlined without success, seek professional diagnosis of the issue. Continuing to use a washer that’s not draining properly can escalate problems.
  • For suspected motor, pump, control board, or other internal failures – DIY disassembly is not recommended. Let an appliance pro handle intricate repairs.
  • If the washer is leaking, dripping, or showing other signs of damage from improper drainage. The pros have the parts and skills to find and fix leaks.
  • For mold, mildew, or foul odors indicating standing water inside the machine. This buildup requires sanitizing to remove health hazards.
  • If the washer is making loud noises during the spin cycle, the drain pump may need replacement or repair. Grinding or buzzing sounds signal it’s time to call a technician.

Our team at Fix4U Repairs has over 15 years of experience servicing washers in the GTA. We’re factory-trained and authorized on all major appliance brands. For professional diagnosis and repairs, give us a call anytime at (647) 363-5205.

(647) 363-5205

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