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My Washer Won't Drain

Updated on July 18, 2011

Washer Won't Drain

Don't panic, there may be some simple solutions to try before you call a serviceman.   Some of these tips are good for all washing machines whether they are top loaders or front loaders.  First, try to observe what part of the cycle and what the washer was doing when it stopped draining.  Make a note of the timer, water level, and error code is your washer is equiped with a display and displays an error code.

There are a lot of things that you can do yourself and I am sure that a lot of you will really want to roll up your sleeves and dig into the machine.   Knowledge is king here, you could do most jobs yourself if you have the knowledge to know what to do.    

Start by figuring out what your machine is, I will try to give instructions for a variety of machines. Answer these questions:

 Is it a top loading or front loading machine?

Does it have an electric pump or a mechanical pump?

Is the drain hose soft rubber or hard plastic?

Does the washer normally drain while the lid is open?

Has the washer been moved recently?

Have you had a slow drain that you have tried to solve by taping the drain hose into the drain?

Does everything else work?

If something else does not work, what is it?  Agitation, spin, timer advance, etc.?

Whirlpool Kenmore

Simple Problems to Look For Rated: Easy

All washing machines can have simple problems that cause a no drain state that anyone can check.

Please follow all safety cautions when working on an appliance.  Click here to review safety precautions.

Is the drain hose kinked or bent so that water cannot flow through?   Check the drain hose and make sure that it is not bent or kinked or flattened by something.   The pump in the washer is not designed for high pressure that would be needed for an obstruction such as this.  Carefully check the drain hose to make sure that it is not compromised in anyway.   If it is, this could be the problem, straighten the hose out and make sure that it is in good condition.   If the drain hose is damaged, replace it.  This would be an inexpensive repair.

The door or lid is not closed all the way.  Some machines will not drain and most will not spin if the lid is open.   If the machine is not spinning, click here to review easy spin repair.

If you determine that the lid or door switch is bad or broken or you suspect it, click here to see how to replace the lid switch.

Duet Washer Access Filter Behind Bottom Panel

Whirlpool, Duet, Front Loader Washers Electric Pumps: Rated Moderate Difficulty

Newer machines that are front loaders generally have an electric pump. The pump is normally located in the front of the machine on the base plate and access is easy. You just have to remove the bottom panel located on the bottom of the front of the machine under the door.

The bottom panel on the Duet is help in place with three screws in the ridge between the top and bottom panels. Remove the panel to gain access. You will see a pump and a filter assembly. You are going to have water. You need a shallow pan, towels, and a sturdy plastic garbage sack. If the water has not drained you may have as much as a couple of gallons.

There is a white filter near the pump. The filter has a plug that turns and comes out, it filters the lint out of the washer and it collects here. Put several towels on the floor and under a plastic bag, insert the plastic bag into a bucket laying on its side, wrap the bag around the filter and remove the filter, if you are lucky the water will go into the bag and you can then dump the filter into the bag and place it in the bucket and tip the bucket up. The filter gets plugged and does not permit the washer to drain. Check inside of the filter to see if there are any foreign objects like pencils, hair pins or clips, and jewelry. Clear them out and return the filter. The problem will be solved.

Other Machines That Have Electric Pumps

Some other machines have electric pumps, like GE profile series and other front loaders without filters.  These machines have a typical problems with the electric pumps where an object or debris has gotten into the pump and the pump impellers cannot turn.   You need to gain access to the pump which is typically located in the front of the machine. 

Normally access to the inside of the washer is gained by removing a front panel or case.  See how to gain access to a Whirlpool Direct drive machine by clicking here

Once you have access to the pump, disconnect the inlet hose, normally a boot will be attached at the same place.  Check the boot for debris and check inside of the pump.  Remove any obstructions until the impellers in the pump move freely.

Old Whirlpool Kenmore

Old Whirlpool or Kenmore belt drive machines.   Check the belt to see that it is tightened properly, too tight or too loose and the machine will not operate correctly.   The belt when tightened properly with give in the longest span about 1/2 inch with 10 pounds pressure.   If the belt is too loose, tighten it by loosening the tightenting bolt and taking slack out of the belt,  notice where it was to begin with, and tighten is by moving the bolt about 1/4 inch tighter.

Older GE designs cannot be tightened and loose belts are rare, it is more likely that there is a clutch problem. 


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