Why machines flood houses…

Washing machines and dishwashers use sensors to detect when the machine has enough water to do its job, and other sensors to tell it if something goes wrong. But things don’t always work the way they should.

When flood sensors don’t work:

The flood sensor in the bottom of most dishwashers and some front load washing machines are typically a rudimentary switch mounted above a styrofoam disc. If water flows into the base, the styrofoam floats up and actives the switch. The machine knows there is a leak, and commonly will display an error code and operate the drain pump.

In theory…

But…

If the switch is broken, or corroded, or if the styrofoam disc is dislodged, or if the leak occurs in a house outside the machine then you will experience an unpleasant problem.

The worst scenario, is the last one listed: when the leak occurs in a hose at a point outside the cabinet of the machine.

Many litres of water can flow through your carpet, floor boards and into your cupboards, before you know there’s a problem.

When you go away turn off the taps to your washing machine and dishwasher. If you see a little leak, especially in a cupboard or under a bench, check it out. Behind the scenes there may be more going on than you realise.

Why you need to check your drain hose after moving

The plastic drain hoses in washing machines and dishwashers can become brittle with age. When installed in a single location, and not regularly moved or disturbed, the hoses can become stiff in position. Although the hose was fine before you move the appliance, flexing a stiff hose may result in a crack. This can result in anything from a small leak to a flooded house.

Things to look for are:

  1. Crackling noises when flexing the hose
  2. Stiff sections
  3. White stress marks between the ridges of the hose

If you’re worried about damaging the hose, just remember, it’s better for the hose to break in your hands than fill your house with water. And if the hose breaks while being flexed it needed to be replaced anyway. So pull, push and flex the hose until you’re confident it’s not going to cause you problems.

And no matter how confident you are that the hose is okay, always stick close by any appliance being used for the first time after a move. If it works okay the first time chances are nothing has been damaged in transit.

And if you need a hand or advice, call Washerman!

Pros and Cons of Washer/Dryer Combos

We get lots of questions about washer/dryer combo machines, and whether or not they are any good. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider before going ahead with a purchase. 

Rather than say you should or you shouldn’t make the purchase we thought we would just list the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. 

PROS:

  • Space saving
  • Put a load on in the morning & it’s done when you get home

CONS:

  • Take a long time to dry
  • Some only dry to 90%
  • May be cheaper to buy separately
  • You can’t start a second wash load until  finished
  • Less efficient than a standalone dryer

These points are based on our observations along with feedback from owners. Some people love their washer dryer combo, others hate them. Overall though we get more negative feedback than positive, so look into the details before you purchase. But remember technology is constantly changing some issues may resolve in future models.

Washerman loves to chat so if you have some specific questions give us a call or send an email 🙂

LG Washing Machine – New Concept

Q. How much can washing machine design change? 

A. Cleverly… With what looks like some help from James Bond’s Q Branch.

  
The answer from LG is to tuck away a neat little second washing machine in what appears like a regular washing machine stand. 

The idea behind this hidden LG front load washing machine is to answer the demand it sees in the market for more washing machine capacity, saving time and raising the big washer off the floor.

LG also suggests that the second washing machine can be used to wash delicates, seperate colours from whites, or if you just want to wash a few items.

According to an LG press release earlier in the year, the TWIN Wash will go under any LG front load washing machine (and likely most other brands). 

Is there a cost to buying cheap?

So you need a new dishwasher, washing machine, or other major appliance and you head to the shop. Then you see the price ranging from $400-$4,000….

Hmmm.

When the difference on the outside can seem like little more than a brand name and some fancy finishing chrome bits, it’s hard to know what to do. 

But it is possible to buy well AND buy cheap.

It’s impossible to name cheap appliance brands and say one is always good and one is always bad, just as it is with more expensive brands. Every manufacturer puts out a dud appliance model every so often.

So here are danger signs to look for when buying a cheap appliance and what you can do to avoid being a chump:

Danger Sign: The brand is only sold through one retailer.

Reason: This appliance is probably a rebranded version of a generic appliance and unless you know what it’s original generic model is, parts may be hard to source and technical information may be tricky to obtain.

Danger Sign: Parts are hard to find. 

How to Know: Jump online and search the make and model you are looking to purchase followed by the words “spare parts”. If you find it hard to find parts sellers, or they only list a few items, you may be looking at trouble down the road.

Danger Sign: 1 year warranty.

Reason: Most appliance manufacturers offer a minimum of 2 years warranty. If they don’t have confidence in the quality of their product then maybe you shouldn’t either.

Danger Sign: No service.

How to Know: Do an Internet search for your prospective appliance brand followed by the words “repair” and your city name. If you don’t get any hits, call a few repairers and ask if they repair your prospective brand. You’ll soon get a feel for how easy it will be to find an appliance repairer and what they think of your prospective brand. 

Washerman loves to chat, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email 🙂

Washing Machine Error Codes are Important

When you are booking a washing machine repair or requesting a quote, it helps a great deal if you have recorded any fault codes the washing machine has displayed. Although these codes are often very general, or are sometimes inaccurate, most of the time they give your technician a starting point.

When making notes on the behavioural symptoms of a faulty appliance, try to be as detailed as possible. “My machine won’t wash,” is useful, but, “my machine will fill with water, then it will wash for a few minutes and stop,” is better. The more clues you can give us, the quicker we can solve your washing machine problem.

Washerman loves the details 🙂

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.

My dishwasher smells bad…real bad…

“Why does my dishwasher stink?” you ask, as you scratch your head.

“Because of disgusting bacteria monsters,” says the know-it-all scientist in a predictable white coat.

“What should I do?” you ask, as your eyes fill with tears of anguish.

“You need to buy a new dishwasher!” exclaims the scientist as he ignites a handful of magic powder and escapes in a cloud of orange smoke.

No, you don’t. You can fix your dishwasher. And you can do it with your own two loving hands.

There are a few reasons why smells build up in a dishwasher, and they are rarely extinction level events. They are most commonly associated with:

  • long period without use/infrequent use
  • dirty filters or clogged food traps
  • scum build up in internal components
  • mould in spray arms or water jets
  • excessive food scraps left on plates
  • constant use of eco settings

Okay then, so let’s break it down…

Long periods without use/infrequent use:

Even if your dishwasher completes the drain cycle, there is still water left in the deep, dark places inside your appliance. Water stagnates, and begins to brew all manner of miraculous creations. If you don’t use your dishwasher a lot, avoid the eco setting if possible. Eco settings reduce the water temperature to save power but you are left with more residue and more bacteria. Pour a cup of vinegar in the base of the dishwasher at the end of the cycle and if the smell is persistent put a bowl of baking soda inside when not in use to soak up any smells.

 

 

Ways to Avoid a Washing Machine Repair

Washing machines are great friends to have, but things can go awry. And some of the most common washing machine faults are from user error and can easily be avoided.

Stay clear of these appliance hazards and you significantly reduce your chances of needing a repair.

  1. Check your clothes pockets for bobby pins, coins, screws, onions etc – these things play havoc with your poor little washer’s drain pump.
  2. Put your bras in delicates bags – when those underwires come out they can cause all sorts of problems.
  3. Bought some new bath mats or fluffy towels? Good for you! But try hand washing them in the sink or bathtub first to get rid of the bulk of loose fibres that may cause a super catastrophe.
  4. Don’t have the washing machine taps turned on full. This will help protect the tap washer and the tap is less likely to seize in position. (The washing machines regulates the water inlet pressure so taps on full don’t fill any faster.)
  5. If the washing machine won’t pump or drain the water out, don’t keep trying it over and over again. When pump motors on some washing machines fail, they can overload the circuit board (computer, Main PCB) and add more to the repair cost.

Happy washing. Love and respect your washing machine.