How to Handle Common Washer and Dryer Problems

When your washer or your dryer breaks down, it can put a cramp in your daily routine. See how to deal with the most common problems. 


In many households, the washer and dryer are frequently used appliances. If you’ve got a couple of adults and two or three kids in your household, you could easily find yourself doing laundry multiple days a week. And when your washer or your dryer breaks down, it can really throw a wrench into your laundry routine. That can mean more than ruined clothes  — it can mean paying for a service call and even a trip to the laundromat. 

 If your washer or dryer is on the fritz, troubleshoot these common issues before you book a service call.

The Machine Won’t Turn On

If your washer or dryer won’t turn on, first make sure the machine is getting power. Check that it’s plugged in and that the breaker is on. If your dryer won’t turn on, it could be a blown internal thermal fuse, which is a pretty simple DIY fix on most machines. You should also check your dryer’s door latch — if the latch fails, the door won’t close properly, and the machine won’t start. 

If you still can’t figure out why your machine won’t start, test the outlet with a voltmeter to make sure it’s still drawing power. For washing machines that won’t start, you’ll probably have to call a service professional.

The Washer Won’t Drain

Usually, if a washer won’t drain, it’s because the drain hose is clogged — and you can usually drain your washing machine yourself if you need to. Disconnect the hose, inspect it for clogs and snake out any foreign objects. Small articles of clothing, toys, coins, keys and other small objects often make their way into the drain hose and even into the drain pump. If there are no clogs or kinks in your drain hose, the issue is probably with your drain pump. It may be jammed and require repair or replacement. 

The Dryer Won’t Heat Up

Make sure your dryer is set on a setting that normally produces heat — “air fluff” and “air dry” settings don’t usually produce heat. If your dryer isn’t heating up when it’s supposed to, try replacing the internal thermal fuse before booking service.

If the problem has been getting worse gradually, going from warm but still slightly damp clothes to clothes that are still sopping wet at the end of a cycle, the problem is your dryer’s heating element. Fortunately, the heating element is pretty easy to replace yourself, too. Just unplug the machine, remove the back panel, take out the old heating element and put in the new one. You may need to take the thermostat off your old heating element and install it on the new one.

The Spin Cycle Isn’t Spinning

If your spin cycle has vanished, try putting fewer clothes in at once, especially if you’re used to stuffing in as much as you can. It’s tempting to fill the machine to the brim, particularly if you have to do laundry for a lot of people, but the drum can’t spin properly if it’s overloaded. If it keeps happening with smaller load sizes, the problem might be a broken belt or a jammed drain pump.

The Washer or Dryer Is Making Funny Noises

If either of your machines is thumping, rattling or even moving around the room, it’s probably because it’s not level. Your washer and dryer have adjustable legs, and leveling them can stop the vibrations.

Thumping can also happen in the dryer when contents get balled up and slam against the inside of the drum. Make sure to shake everything out before you put it in the dryer. Check for small items stuck in the drum. If you can’t get to the bottom of the noises, you should book a service call, because it probably means your machine is about to break.

The Washing Machine Is Leaking Water

There are several reasons why a washing machine might leak — some of them require professional repair, while others may not. For example, if your washing machine drain hose has cracked or split, you can probably replace it yourself. If it’s a front-loading model, check the seal around the door for residue, and clean it to fix the leak. 

Often, the source of the leak is the washing machine water inlet valve, which can get filled with mineral deposits or succumb to rust. Changing it is a pretty simple job for most DIY-minded homeowners. To prevent water damage from future leaks, install a washing machine drain pan.

When you need washer and dryer repair, American Home Shield® is here for you. Our home warranty plans cover damage due to normal wear and tear on all components of washers and dryers. Get your quote online today.

Do you need help with your Dryer? AHS ProConnect offers Dryer repair near you.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.