Why oh why do you not work, fantastic washer of garments?
February 20, 2011 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Did I break my washing machine?

I just replaced my water softener (about 15 minutes ago). I am fairly certain that I did it correctly. Before I replaced the softener, I did a regular load of laundry. When I turned the water main back on, bled all the lines, everything seemed ok. I went to put in another load of laundry, and instead of filling, the only thing the washer will do is agitate. No water. I tried to run it on all of the different cycles, tried to rinse, nothing. Did I do something wrong? Did it just coincidentally decide to break after I spent $350 on a new water softener? Help!
posted by bolognius maximus to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Are the valves at the washer on?
posted by PaulBGoode at 9:40 AM on February 20, 2011

Also, do you have flood safe/floodchek washer hoses installed? You may need to reset them because of the disruption to water pressure.
posted by vers at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2011

Yes, I didn't turn them off.
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2011

Vers, how do I know if I have those? And how do you reset them?
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:46 AM on February 20, 2011

I'm only a novice, so please don't take this as words from an expert. Flood safe hoses have become more common since they do reduce water damage risk and related insurance claims, but they can be a bit fussy. What I'd do first is check the washer hoses for labeling; manufacturer, part number, anything. Take that information to your favorite search engine and look specifically for reset instructions (the hoses on my washer just require removal and reattachment to reset them, but yours may be different).
posted by vers at 9:51 AM on February 20, 2011

Another also -- it's a really, really good idea to shut off the water valves to the washer when you're not using it. Trust me, it only takes one flooded floor to learn that lesson, but if someone had told me sooner, it would have been a lot less expensive.
posted by vers at 10:03 AM on February 20, 2011

This is a great site to help you troubeshoot almost any large appliance
posted by PaulBGoode at 10:08 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

They’ve changed the repairclinic site so navigating it is not real intuitive. From the home page scroll down to where it says “Help Is Here” in the middle of the page below where the pictures of the appliances are. Then click on “Repair Help”. Then scroll down to Washing Machines on the left and click that. On this page click on “What is wrong with your washing machine”.

If you click on Washing Machines on the home page it takes you to a parts list, not what you want.

posted by PaulBGoode at 10:33 AM on February 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the responses. I put in a troubleshooting request at repairclinic.com. I checked the hoses, they are not flood-safe. It seems to be a different problem. It doesn't even attempt to fill the washer. All it does is agitate, whether it is on the wash, rinse, or spin cycle.
posted by bolognius maximus at 11:04 AM on February 20, 2011

My washer just started doing the same thing. This is the first time I've used it since the big freeze about ten days ago. I'm wondering if something could have happened in the frozen time. No water is leaking from the hoses. Was your washer in a freezy place, too?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:38 PM on February 20, 2011

No, my basement is fairly warm. I talked to the guys at Menards and they said unless I fix it myself, it will cost more to fix it than to buy a new one. Poo.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:06 PM on February 20, 2011

Perhaps there is air in the waterline? By installing the water softener it stands to reason that air was introduced to the system. I would retrace the steps of the softener install and make sure that your connections are correct.

If your washing machine did take this opportunity to check out unfortunately the folks at Menards are correct; if your machine is more than perhaps 3 or 4 years old, you would end up spending more on repairs than you would finding a new all-singing, all-dancing high efficiency washer. Good luck.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 4:24 PM on February 20, 2011

When you replaced the water softener is it possible that something got into the lines?

I'd start by checking whether the fill is broken for just the hot or the cold lines. It would be really odd for both to suddenly have gotten clogged. If both won't work then I'd lean toward there being something broken with the control boards inside the washer. Things die and sometimes coincidences are just that.

But if the fill is working for one line and not the other then I'd disconnect the hose for it off the back of the washer, being sure to turn off the water first, of course. Check to see there are no obstructions in the line. And make sure there are screened filter washers in there. Typically placed at the faucet side of the connection as those are usually easier to access than the fittings on the back of the washer. Once you have the hose unscrewed from the washer point it into the sink, turn the supply back on and see that it flows. If it flows and there's no obstructions then it's probably the water valve or control board inside the washer.

If you're handy there's nothing all that complicated about fixing a washer. The problem is units are bulky. It doesn't usually take special tools or techniques to fix a washer. It just takes a bit of room to do the work and some strength to muscle the thing around.
posted by wkearney99 at 6:09 AM on February 23, 2011

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