When winter sets in, it can feel rather ironic when it’s raining outside and you can’t get your washing machine to fill with water. Or maybe you have an appliance providing you with an abundance of the wet stuff exactly where you don’t want it – like the kitchen sink or the floor. In this issue, we present the most common winter water problems we see and a few suggestions for troubleshooting.
1) Why won’t my washing machine fill?
Washing your clothes used to be a simple, although labor intensive activity. These days washing machines are fairly complex appliances. When faced with figuring out what’s wrong, it might feel like you need a degree in engineering to figure out where the problem lies. It actually could be a simple solution, or not. Here’s how to find out:
Maybe someone turned off the water supply. Make sure the faucets are turned on. Or it might simply be a kink in one of the hoses. To check for a kink you’ll need to pull the washer out so you can see the hoses. If by straightening the hoses you get water… problem solved. Or it could be clogged water inlet filters. Since you have the machine pulled out already, unplug it and disconnect the hoses. The filters should be sitting where the hoses attach inside the machine. If they’re clogged, clean them out, reconnect your hoses and try again.
If that doesn’t work, it gets a bit more complicated. The water inlet valve could be broken or faulty. Failure to fill could also be the fault of the water level switch or the pressure chamber. (Whew!!) If that sounds complicated, it is! These problems should be tackled by a professional.
2) Why is there standing water in my washer / dishwasher?”
As long as your toilets and showers are not also backing up, likely you can rule out needing to call the local “Trusty Rooter” company.
Let’s break down the trouble shooting by appliance.
In the washing machine, if there is water inside the machine after a cycle, it could be a clogged drain tube. To test this, remove the drain tube and see if you can blow air through it. If the line is clear, the problem is likely a faulty water pump, which is something a professional should repair. If water spills outside of the washer during a cycle, it could be a clogged drain. We don’t suggest you try to repair this yourself, but you will at least have an idea of what’s wrong and you can provide a more accurate assessment when you call for a repair.
If your dishwasher isn’t draining, make sure your garbage disposal is clear and make sure the air gap is clean. A symptom of a dirty air-gap is water also flooding your counter. Just pop off the air-gap cover to see if it needs cleaning. If these are clear, it might be that the drain is clogged. Make a homemade solution of Vinegar and Baking Soda and pour it into the drain basket. Let settle for 15 minutes and pour in a pot of boiling water to see if that breaks up the clog. If not, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Sometimes the back-up isn’t just inside your washer. Sometimes the washer backs up into another place like the kitchen sink (lovely). This could be caused by a clogged drainage tube. Or if the dishwasher is backing up into the kitchen sink, it may be incorrectly installed