Monday, 14 January 2013

The Washing Machine Ate My Sock!

I didn’t intend to use this blog as a fix-it forum, as that’s really not my forte.  However, when something is so all consuming and life altering as a mom of 4 with a broken washing machine – I think it’s worth writing about.  

It all started over a week ago when all of a sudden the washing machine was screaming at me during the end spin cycle.  It is a Whirlpool Duet Sport which we’ve had for 5 ½ years with no problems.  The clothes came out clean and there were no error codes.  So I ran it a few times to see if it continued and then put a “help me!” post on Facebook.  I got some helpful feedback that it might be an  unbalance thing.  We decided to try that first before calling out a repair man who would cost $89.50 just to come out and the first ½ hour!  Since we had a giant hole in the wall behind the washing machine that had been staring at me for half a year, we decided to tackle that first.  Well, when you have a busy husband it takes the better part of a week to get that done.  Finally by Saturday (2 days ago) we had the washing machine back up and leveled.  (In the past week I had done 2 loads at 2 different friend's houses, just to get by, but the laundry is really piled up now).  I did one load and great – it works, money saved, dry wall finally fixed, happy Momma.  Second load – sound again – big sigh…So I abandoned my plans to do laundry all day and left it until this morning when I could call a serviceman at 8 am before they left for their calls.  I told him that the machine was making a loud sound during the drain/spin cycle but was otherwise working fine.  He said it could either be the drain pump, which we could fix ourselves if we wanted, or the bearings, which would be too expensive to replace and may as well buy a new machine.  So after spending some time digging around on the internet about drain pumps and bearings, and coming to the realization that it was likely a bearing thing since the water was still draining, I was getting it in my head that we would be washing machine shopping soon.  But being, judicious and somewhat naggy, I asked my husband to open the front panel to look at the drain pump filter just to see.  If you’re at all interested or have the same problem, watch this video. 

It seemed straightforward and I was curious to see what we would find and even, hopefully, fix the problem.  I expected to find a couple of coins, like in the video – but we were shocked with what we found.  

This is what accumulated in a large family after 5 ½ years.  It was so stinky and gross.  There was $3.55 in change in there, including loonies down to pennies, a bobby pin, an earring and a golf marker.  After cleaning that out we put it back together to run a rinse/spin cycle, feeling fairly confident that the problem would be fixed and quite surprised that any water was getting through there at all in the last while. 

However as soon as the water started, it was leaking out the detergent dispenser.  We were definitely puzzled and couldn’t fathom how cleaning the drain pump filter would effect the water coming in to the tub.  So I once again Googled it.  We figured out how to take the panels off the front of the machine to access the dispenser to tubhose.  

At first it wasn’t very clear that there was anything there, but when my husband pulled the hose off, sure enough we found the culprit.  A completely shredded sock, not a baby sock, but one of his dress socks!  

So now I am writing this with full confidence that our problem is fixed as I listen to it run through the rinse/spin cycle and is whisper quiet.  If it is not fixed I will indeed, eat my sock!

With a barrel and a heap of relief,

P.S.  Here are some other links that I looked in to.  I actually learned a lot about washing machines.
  • This one is about bearings and I found out a lot about corrosion and Ph balance - it's important to use HE detergent and keep the door open to protect your bearings

P.P.S.  I will be much more careful about overloading the machine (I can only imagine that the sock got in the hose if the machine was too full) and checking pockets for stuff.  I think that checking the drain pump filter should be done somewhat regularly as it’s easy to access.

P.P.P.S  I am sooo proud of my husband for tackling this – we saved so much by a little extra investigating and not calling a repair man or buying a new machine.