Fix 5 Common Problems With Your Washer & Dryer

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When you’ve got a mountain of laundry, the last thing you need is trouble with your washing machine or dryer. Here are five of the most common problems that plague the laundry room along with strategies to resolve them quickly.

1. My Washer Or Dryer Won’t Even Turn On!

If you’ve just put a load of clothes in the machine and nothing happens when you press start:

  • Don’t blame the machine yet: Make sure you’re plugged into a functioning outlet and check your service panel to be sure you haven’t tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse.
  • Cool off: Your motor may have overheated. Give it some time to cool down and try again.
  • Check timers, door switches and knobs: These may have worn out, not allowing your machine to start. You might be able to replace some of these yourself.
  • Consider specific dryer issues: A failed thermal fuse or thermostat will prevent your dryerfrom starting. Unless you’re experienced with this type of repair, you’ll probably need to bring in a qualified repair professional.

2. My Washer Didn’t Drain.

Almost nothing is more frustrating than opening your washing machineat the end of the cycle and finding your clothes are still under water. To get to the bottom of this problem, check these areas:

  • Drain hose: A clogged or kinked hose will prevent your washing machine from draining properly.
  • Lid tab: You’ve got a tab under your washing machine lid that connects to a switch inside. If this tab is broken, your machine will turn off before it finishes draining. You may be able to repair a broken tab yourself.
  • Water pump: If your tab and drain hose are fine, your water pump may be the culprit. You’ll need to bring in a plumber to resolve this issue.

If you’re very lucky, the problem may simply be that you’ve selected a water level too high for the amount of laundry you’re washing. Try running the spin cycle again to see if the remaining water drains. If the machine drains successfully, and the problem doesn’t reoccur, you’re out of the woods.

3. Oh No! I Found A Puddle Under my Washing Machine!

Unfortunately, washing machine leaks usually require professional repair. Here are some of the broken seals that may have caused your problem:

  • Main tub seal
  • Front loading door seal
  • Water pump seal.

4. My Dryer Won’t Heat Up.

No one looks forward to finding cold, damp laundry instead of fluffy warm clothes at the end of a dryer cycle. To warm things up:

  • Check settings: If you don’t use the proper setting for temperature, fabric or time, the dryer will seem like it isn’t heating or drying properly.
  • Make sure dryer isn’t overloaded: An overfull dryer won’t heat properly.
  • Check your airflow: Blocked airflow interferes with a dryer’s ability to heat up. Clean lint trap and vent hose, and make sure the vent hose has no kinks or leaks.

If your dryer still won’t get hot, the problem may be due to a malfunction in one of these components:

  • Heating element
  • Igniter
  • Thermal fuse
  • Wiring and power cord.

If this is the case, you’ll probably need a professional repair technician.

5. My Clothes Come Out Of The Dryer Wrinkled.

Wrinkled laundry usually isn’t your dryer’s fault. Here are some reasons your laundry may be wrinkled:

  • It was left in the dryer too long.
  • Laundry wasn’t sorted properly.
  • You forgot to use fabric softener.
  • The dryer is under or over loaded.
  • Clothes were washed in water that was too hot.
  • Wrong dryer cycle was selected.

Most washer and dryer problems are fairly simple fixes. Once your machines are running smoothly again, you can let the laundry take care of itself and return your attention to the people and things that matter to you most.

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Last Updated: February 22, 2013
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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