Common Washer & Dryer problems and how to fix them

by Team HomeServe |

There's nothing like mustering up the energy to do this week's laundry only to find that your washing machine and dryer aren't performing. That’s why being prepared for a laundry crisis is important.

Here are common washer and dryer problems and some appliance repair troubleshooting suggestions:

If the machine won't start…

There are a few ways to troubleshoot the issue. When you use your machines repeatedly in a short period of time, they may become overheated. Give them a chance to cool down before pressing the start button again. If that's not the issue, it may be the door. Make sure it's closed properly, as this alerts the sensor to lock the door and start the machine. Check the seal, and clean the door to rid any buildup that may prevent the door from closing properly.

If the machine doesn't respond to those efforts, make sure it's still connected to power. Check the main circuit breaker to see if the corresponding breaker tripped. If that's the case, flip the switch, and try turning the machine on again.

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If there are some unfortunate smells…

Grab the cleaning supplies, and get down to business. It may seem counterintuitive to clean the units that launder your dirty clothes, but every once in a while, they need to be freshened up. Over time, washing machines can collect mold and mildew from excess water and detergent buildup. Wipe down the door seals, plus the soap and fabric softener holders. Next, run a washing cycle with hot water and bleach or a commercial washing machine cleaner to refresh the inside of the unit.

If your dryer is the source of the bad smell, it may not be working properly. Remove damp clothes as soon as possible to avoid the smell permeating through the machine. Follow the maintenance steps below if you think your dryer is failing to heat and dry properly.

If the machine is vibrating…

Check to make sure the units are level. If they aren't, it causes the machines to move or vibrate excessively during cycles. Another possible culprit is worn-away or damaged drum seals, which cause the machines to make strange noises or loud vibrations when running. Check to see if the seals are intact, and call a professional to replace them if necessary.

If the washing machine is not draining…

Check the seals and gaskets. If they aren't intact, call a technician to repair the issue. Also, check the drain hose and pipe to see if there is buildup that needs to be cleared. Often, kinks or lint filters on the hose can cause blockage, preventing the water from draining properly. Alternatively, the drain pump may need to be replaced. It's normal for these parts to wear out over time, but talk to a professional for advice on whether it's a better idea to replace them or invest in a new machine.

If the dryer isn't heating up...

Make sure you're not exceeding the dryer's capacity by overloading it with too many clothes and towels. Other easy fixes are cleaning the lint screen before each cycle and checking the dryer settings to make sure they match what you're attempting to dry. If the problem persists, there may be a broken heating element or faulty thermal fuse. In that case, call a professional to check out the issue, as the damaged part will need to be replaced.

Be informed of how your appliances work and practice preventative maintenance to help protect your appliances from future repairs.

Another good idea is to be prepared before home repair issues arise. Plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs. See what plans are available in your area.