LBYM Tip: DIY Repairs

This morning my wife informed me that our washing machine seemed to be having problems, as it was making a funny noise and the tub was not draining the water properly. We have not had good luck with this appliance, so my initial thoughts were of how much it was going to cost to replace.

Our washing machine is only about 7 years old yet we have already had to replace the motor, which luckily was covered under the warranty but we did have to pay for the service visit. One other time the machine was not operating properly but I was lucky enough to get away with simply resetting the electronics by unplugging the machine for a few minutes and then plugging it back in.

Time For Investigation.
After my wife explained the problem to me, I decided to do a little investigation to see if I could determine the type of problem and then decide if this was something I wanted to try and fix myself or if it meant we needed a new machine. Initially, the machine was still full of clothes and a few inches of water. I thought that maybe the load became unbalanced and the machine shut off, so I rearranged everything and tried again. Nothing.

Taking it a step further, I removed everything from the machine and tried again. Now it slowly began draining but never kicked into the spin cycle. Okay, that is a little bit of progress. My next step was to try and manually run a spin cycle to see if there was a problem with the motor or if it was something else. The spin cycle operated normally, so that was a good sign.

Talking With Experts.
With the little bit of knowledge that I gained in my investigation, I headed over to the computer to try and get some feedback from people that actually know what they are doing when it comes to home repairs. My first stop was over at the Motley Fool discussion boards, particularly the Buying & Maintaining a Home board.

The resident experts on that discussion board are top notch and immediately began to suggest things to check and more importantly, how to check them. In addition, some of these Fools pointed me to other sites with more detailed diagrams and explanations on the various parts and potential repairs.

Break Out The Tools.
After reading and chatting with some people about the repair, it was time to venture into a DIY attempt at appliance repair. The first step was to disconnect the power and shut off the water supplies. Even with the expert guidance, this is about where my confidence began to wane but I continued onward.

My first step was to examine the external drain hose for anything that may have become stuck, thus restricting the flow of water out of the drum. I was hoping this would be the answer, as if it were not, I would have to open the machine up and venture inside. Well, as you can imagine, the external drain hose did not hold the solution to my problem. Although it did spill out a nice amount of water on the floor so my wife was happy to see that I mopped up the laundry room floor.

Now it was time to break open the washing machine. Keep in mind that I have never attempted appliance repair so this was all new to me and quite honestly, it was a little scary yet exciting at the same time. Although I was wondering how much it was going to cost to replace the machine once I tore it open and had no idea how to put it all back together again. Moving along, once I had it opened up, I looked around like I knew what I was doing and decided to try and remove the drain hose from the tub to the water pump.

After stabbing my finger with a screwdriver and dripping a little blood, I disconnected the top hose clamp and more water spilled out. After draining this water into a cup, I felt up into the tub and didn’t feel anything that could be blocking the drain. Looking into the hose, I couldn’t see anything inside either. So now I had to disconnect the bottom clamp that was connected to the inet of the water pump. Yep, more water spilled out!

Sock It To Me.
With the hose removed, I felt inside the inlet and there was something squishy inside. So it’s true, washing machines do eat socks! In this case, one sock from my youngest son had found it’s way out of the tub and through the drain hose until it got stuck at the water pump. As the water tried to drain, it had to filter through the sock and thus was causing the problems with the draining process.

After removing the sock, I reconnected the hoses and prepared for a trial run to see if this fixed the problem. Water supply turned back on and power reconnected, I started a simple rinse cycle. The front of the machine was still removed, as I wanted to inspect for the water leak that I was sure would be there, I did mention I am not very handy. To my surprise, there were no leaks and the machine now filled and drained properly. Yes!

All that was left was to attach the front panel of the washing machine, reposition the washer and dryer and clean up the tools. After cussing with the front panel for too many minutes, I finally had everything buttoned back up and was using all of my wet, dirty towels from the repair job as my trial load of laundry.

I’m happy to report that the machine is working like a charm right now and not only do I have the personal satisfaction of fixing a major appliance in my home, I was able to do it without spending a single penny!

Let me hear about your own DIY repairs that have saved you a nice chunk of money!

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8 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    After a very violent storm my backyard’s fence was left in dismay. A local fencing company wanted a few thousand to do the job granted they could do the job in a weekend I was able to fix it for less then a thousand in a few weekends 🙂 Just goes to show you how much you can save by doing the small things yourself.

  2. mnc says:

    Chris, thanks for sharing the story about your fence. I don’t know how handy you are but it is so satisfying to be able to fix something yourself and save money in the process.

  3. Tyler says:

    I do alot of DIY stuff.

    I apprenticed as an Electrian for 2 yrs but had to leave for some personal reasons so doing electrical work for me is fun

    I’ve done carpentry, cabinet making, furnature making, plumbing, landscaping.. I seem to do it all!

    When in doubt, I open it up look at what makes it tick, put it back together and Voila!

  4. mnc says:

    @Tyler – That is great to have those skills and enjoy doing the work. I’ve done some minor electrical work when installing a new outlet for an over-the-range microwave. I was scared to turn the power back on though. 🙂

    I’ve even done a minor repair on my furnace. Talk about scary, I recommended that my wife and kids go outside in the event that I blew up the house.

  5. Tyler says:

    Oh one thing that I recommend that most home owners don’t do is check their furnace filters every so often.

    My mum’s was negleticed that the blower siezed and she had to get a new one. That was a bit $$$. Filters run between $10-50 so their not as expensive as getting someone to replace various furnace parts 😉

  6. mnc says:

    @Tyler: Very good point. For the last few years, I have been trying to replace our filter once a month. My main motivation is to try and help with allergies but you are absolutely correct that it can help maintain your furnace.

  1. February 24, 2007

    […] LBYM Tip: DIY Repairs […]

  2. March 5, 2007

    […] why I was glad to see this article at My New Choice. When his washing machine broke, he didn’t rush to call the repairman. No, […]

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