Home life

How to fix my washing machine

Inside of washing machineI’ve finally figured out how to fix the washing machine when the outlet hose gets blocked up, thus avoiding a $75 call-out fee and the inconvenience of having to arrange to be at home when the repair man goes.

1. Take clothes dryer off the top (it’s slightly lighter than it looks) and move it out of the way somewhere.

2. Using superhuman strength, pull washing machine out from wall, so you can get at the back of it.

3. Find drill/screwdriver, and attempt to take back off machine.

4. Swear, as two of the five screws stubbornly refuse to move. Wish you’d got a more powerful drill.

5. Calm down as you try a different screwdriver bit, which successfully removes the screws.

6. Be amazed at the inside of your washing machine. Note especially the whole springy bit that the main drum thingy sits on, so it won’t cause an earthquake when the spin cycle runs.

7. Locate outlet pipe, down the bottom somewhere. Realise you didn’t need to take the back off to get at it — it’s accessible from the bottom of the machine, which can be achieved by leaning it up against the wall. Try to figure out how to loosen the pipe to look inside.

8. Use pliers to loosen the wire things holding the pipe on. Start swearing again as water gushes out. Quick, find a towel or two.

9. Successfully exricate sock from pipe. Note big hole in sock. Throw sock away.

10. Put pipe back on. Set machine to do rinse cycle to try it out, as well as get the soap suds out of the clothes still in the machine.

11. Start swearing again when you realise the pipe went back on loose, and water is again gushing out all over the floor. Begin to recall why you used to pay a repairman to do this. Get more towels.

12. Fiddle with pipe and pliers again to tighten it. Give it a tug with your hand to see if it comes loose this time.

13. Put back on.

14. Put machine and dryer back in place, and do the next load of washing. All socks, jocks, hankies and other smallish items to go in a laundry bag from this point on.

15. Make note to go and blog about experience, so you have a full set of instructions for next time.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

11 replies on “How to fix my washing machine”

I’ve always found that tough screws are easiest unscrewed by hand screwdrivers than those attached to drills. It might also lessen thread stripping, so make it easier next time.

I’d also be tempted to put some sort of lubricant or water repeller (WD40?) onto the screw before doing it up so that it’s easier next time.

From where we can get superhuman power? Have not tried it yet but would definately make the full use of your instructions.
Ya right we have full set of instructions with us now. May be easier next time to fix the washing machine!

” ….. All socks, jocks, hankies and other smallish items to go in a laundry bag from this point on. ….” I seem to recall you said you were going to stick to this last time this happened!

My method: Get a Fisher and Paykel washing machine that can be fully serviced without being moved. Open the top like a car bonnet to get at the inlet valves, computer and power cable. Open a door at the bottom to get at the water pump and the magnificent multi-pole fully variable speed and reversible tub motor.

And there’s no gearbox, so most of the problems* most people have with washing machines will never happen!

* – excluding socks stuck in outlet pipes, which as stated must be avoided by putting smaller items in a bra bag. But adult socks won’t escape through the drain holes in the tub of a Fisher and Paykel.

Why the heck do they make them so that socks, etc can get down there. With modern technology it just shouldn’t happen.

Well it’s never happened to me but maybe those front loaders suck their water out in a funny way that funnels the small items towards the drain. My machine has small holes that, from memory (I’ll have to check) will not fit an adult sock, but might fit a baby sock. The larger risk with my machine is that very small items can crawl up the sides of the tub and nearly get out over the top, which would leave them inside the machine but outside the tub.

Gav, you’re right! I’ve got to start following my own rules!

Philip, I’ll keep that in mind for next time I buy a washing machine.

Lyn, this washer is about 12 or 13 years old. Does that count as modern technology? What’s that in washing machine years? It didn’t used to be this prone to getting socks stuck; I think it’s starting to wear out. But apart from this, it works fine.

New set of instructions:

1) Figure out how long this would take if an untrained idiot (i.e me!) had a go at it, and *everything* went wrong.

2) Picture yourself in the middle of *everything going wrong*, plus the cost of hiring professional to fix it and ask yourself “At THAT exact time, how much money would I pay to go back in time and tell myself not to do it.”

3) If that amount is more than cost of hiring someone, just hire someone.

4) Sit on sofa doing something fun while repairman does his thing, just to remind yourself why the principle of Division of Labour is not to be sneezed at. (Actually P.J O’Rourke’s “Eat the Rich” has a chapter about this, under a different name. Basically we’re all better off if everyone sticks with what they’re good at.)

As a rule of thumb I value my time at about $75/hr, and that’s we’re talking about a household task I’ve attempted before. And you can always make a hired person come back and do it right if they screwed up, probably no charge, yes?

Good topic, Daniel :)

Now it seems to be much easier to fix the washing machine. Atleast you solved our laundry problem.
Thank God there is somebody at rescue!

1) Wash clothes. Don’t use as much laundry soap/detergent as they recommend (use about 2/3 of it). Put clothes through a 2nd RINSE cycle. (To get the soap scum, etc off the clothes, put about 1 cup of vinegar in the rinse water. I use a Downy – fabric softener – container.)
2)Put clothes in dryer. Dry.
3) Take clothes out, matching socks, folding clothes (and hanging them up if possible – less ironing to do!) as you go. (Count out the # of socks, underwear, etc you should have.) THIS way you will know there is a missing sock, etc. IF you discover a missing something, look for it right away.
4) Use a laudry bag for small stuff.
5) every once in a while, fill washer with water and put through a wash cycle without soap!

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