Fix your own washing machine?

If your washing machine is broken and you know your way around washing machine gizzards, you might be one of the many capable folks who have a go at repairing the appliance yourself. 

No, we’re not going to say that you shouldn’t, or mustn’t, but there is a right and wrong way to approach self repair.

The following steps are a basic checklist to make sure you’re up to the task: 

  1. Knowledge or Qualification: you don’t need to have direct experience with washing machines or appliance repair, but you shouldn’t step outside your knowledge or qualifications, especially when it comes to electrical work. Repairing a door handle is a different matter altogether to replacing an electrical component or repairing wiring.
  2. Tools: appliance repair does not require many specialist tools, but there are some. You need to be confident you have the tools you need and know how to use them.
  3. Reference Material: if you don’t have the knowhow in your own brain box, then you need the benefit of good advice from an appliance repairer, or a washing machine manufacturer service repair manual. There is lots of information available online, some of it good and some of it not. Trying to work out who the real experts are can be a challenge so look for someone that cites their repair qualifications. There are also websites that sell service manuals to the general public, but make sure you know what you’re paying for as some only come with appliance parts lists and exploded views.
  4. Exit Strategy: always know how to get back to where you started. Document your starting point, and steps you’ve taken, with notes and photos, and don’t count on remembering. Even a washing machine door handle assembly can seem simple but quickly go pear shaped. With only four or five parts in most cases, there are a multitude of ways they can go back together, but only the magic one will open your appliance door. Even as an appliance repair professional, Washerman often takes photos when dealing with models slightly different to those previously encountered.
  5. Test Your Repair: after any washing machine repair don’t just put the machine on and walk away. Wait for the machine to fill and start washing to ensure it does not overfill, and check for leaks.

If in the end it doesn’t work, remember this… Washerman is only a phone call away 🙂

Only wash in cold water?

In the course of regular washing machine repairs, we are often asked about exclusively washing in cold water. In fact many of the washing machines we service around the Gold Coast don’t even have the hot tap turned on, or don’t have the hot hose connected at all. 

Many modern washing machines don’t require a hot connection as they have heating elements built into the machine, but in general, people just don’t wash in hot water any more.

The cost of electricity is a major factor in this decision, along with the claims of cold water washing powder manufacturers, but the truth is slightly more complicated.

If you’ve had the same washing machine for many years, always used cold water, and have never had a problem then keep doing what you’re doing. Chances are your clothes are not heavily soiled with oil or grease, and you either don’t use fabric softener or use it lightly.

If you find your washing machine is presenting with any of the following symptoms then you may need to set your washing machine to a higher temperature on occasion.

  • Black, grey or white specks on clothes (sometimes appears grease-like but rubs off when dry)
  • Smelly washing
  • Smelly washing machine
  • Grease/body stains that won’t shift 

While most better quality cold water washing machine powders are engineered with enzymes to breakdown body fats, this process is far more efficient when the water temperature is between 40-60 degrees when the body fat naturally begins to soften.

Washing machine smells are often caused by bacteria build up. By making the water as hot as possible you kill bacteria, and can assist this process with antibacterial chemical or a cup of vinegar.

Fabric softener causes a build up on the outside of the steel bowl that you can’t see. Eventually this residue builds up to a point where no more can accumulate and it starts to break away into your washing. If you regularly use fabric softener in your washing machine, a hot wash once a month may help to break down the residue and keep your washing machine clean.