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How to Drain a Washing Machine That Won’t Drain

Drainage problems in washing machines are not uncommon and often the fix is simple. The most likely reasons for water not draining are blockages or pump problems. In theory, getting your washing machine up and running again will involve three steps:

  • Emptying the water that's currently in the machine.
  • Identifying the cause of the problem
  • Resolving it - either by doing it yourself, or arranging for a service engineer to complete repairs
  • As we'll see, in practice these steps are often interlinked.

Check your manual

Most manuals come with a troubleshooting guide, and 'washing machine not draining' will certainly be one of the faults listed. If your machine is modern enough to show error codes you'll be able to look up the specific problem and decide if it's something you can fix yourself, or if you need to call for washing machine repair London and arrange for a service engineer to visit. Older machines may not show fault codes, but your manual will still give you model specific instructions and information that will be helpful when you're emptying the washer.

Getting the Water Out

Bail with a bucket

If you have a top loader you can bail the majority of the water out with a bucket. This is a less practical solution with a front loading washer as you'll flood the kitchen when you open the door, and there may be a lock to prevent doing this while there's water in the machine anyway. Whatever sort of machine you have, using a bucket to bail out will never get rid of water trapped in hoses.

Drain via the pump filter drain tube

Not all washers have these, if yours does you'll generally find it at the front of the washing machine behind a small flap or the kickplate. Draining via this tube is likely to be a slow process but it has the advantage of not being messy.

Drain via the main hose

Pull the washing machine out to access the hose. Look for any kinks or bends that might impede drainage, remove the hose from its drain point and place it into a bucket on the floor, gravity should drain the pipe. If the hose usually drains into a standpipe you can remove it easily. If it connects to your sink by the U-bend remember that once it's unhooked you won't be able to use the sink without flooding the kitchen until it's reconnected. With one end of the pipe free you can check for visible blockages that you can remove, and backwash the pipe to clear deposits that are making it hard for water to run away. A hose connected to the kitchen tap works well for this job.

Drain via the pump outlet

To do this you'll need to locate the pump, this is generally found at the front, below the door for front loaders, or at the back for top loading machines. You'll need to remove the appropriate panel to access the pump. If you haven't already done so, this is the time to unplug your machine from the electricity supply. Before you go any further, it's also a very good idea to have a bucket and some old towels handy as this job can get a bit messy.

Once you find the pump you'll spot a a round section with a handle on it, turn this handle anticlockwise to remove the pump screen. Clean the screen if it needs it. You may well spot the reason for your machine not draining, this could be anything from an accumulation of lint and gunk on the screen up to an item of clothing, socks and underwear are common culprits, stuck above or within the pump mechanism. A combination of long nosed pliers and patience is generally sufficient to remove any offending items.

With the blockage removed from the pump trapped water may now flow out, but this does depend on gravity being on your side. If you need to angle the machine to allow the water to escape, it's a good idea to enlist a friend to help. Washing machines are heavy and trying to prop one up on bricks while capturing the out-flowing water on your own is a good way to hurt yourself, damage your appliance, or flood your kitchen!


Washing Machine Repair

Do You Now Know What Caused your Drainage Problem?

Once you've checked for blockages in all the accessable places, and removed any physical barriers you've gone as far as most householders choose to. In the majority of cases, knowing where to look and how to drain a washing machine answers the question of how do you fix a washing machine that won't drain, because to drain the appliance you have to remove the blockage. If your washer still won't drain the pump may have failed, you may have a blockage in a less accessable part of the machine, or there could be an electrical problem. In these case you'll probably need a repairman to diagnose and fix your washing machine.

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