10 Steps to Drain Water Out of a Washing Machine

There could be a number of reasons why your washing machine won’t drain. However, we have practical steps to handle your problem.

inside washer barrel

Has this ever happened to you? You go into your laundry area to transfer a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer, but water remains in the washer tub even though the cycle has finished. It can be confusing, frustrating and inconvenient when this happens. You can turn on the spin cycle to see if the water will drain, but if that doesn’t help, you’re right back where you started – with a load of soaking laundry and a washer full of water.

Why Won’t My Washing Machine Drain Water?

There are a few possibilities as to why your washing machine won’t drain. that might happen.  Your washer may have a clogged drain hose or the pump may be broken.  A broken lid switch or belt could also be the culprit. It may even be something as simple as the the hose being jammed. Whatever the reason is, the water will need to be drained from the washing machine before any work or diagnosis can be done.

What does the drain function on a washing machine do?

It removes the water from the tub during the spin cycle. The washer pump forces water from the bottom of the machine into the drain hose. The drain hose loops to the top of the machine, and then down to the drain, enabling the tub to fill. When the water reaches the bend in the hose, it goes out of the drain.

How to Drain Water Out of a Washing Machine

If you have water in your washer that hasn’t drained, you have a couple of options.

One is to bail it out, but that can be a time consuming and tedious process. It can also be hard on your back to bend over to reach the bottom of the tub repeatedly.  An easier way would be using the drain hose and gravity to do the work. Here are some of the things you’ll need to have on hand for the task:

  •          Bucket
  •          Screwdriver
  •          Needle-nose pliers
  •          Sponge and towels
  •          Clamp

Step 1 – Turn off the power

Unplug the washer from the outlet or turn off power at the circuit breaker or fuse box.

Step 2 – Locate the drain hose at the back of the washer

First, look to see if it is bent or kinked, which may be blocking the water flow. If that is the case, simply straightening the hose may fix the problem.  If the hose looks uncompromising, then disconnect it from the drain, unscrewing a clamp if necessary.  Keep the hose higher than the washer tub until you are ready to empty the water.

Step 3 – Prepare your bucket and drain hose

Get the bucket in place and drop the hose lower than the washer tub into the bucket. If the bucket fills, raise the hose above the washer tub until you can empty the bucket and start to fill it again.  If the water doesn’t flow freely, there may be a blocked filter, which you’ll need to clear before continuing.

Step 4 – Check for and remove all drain hose clogs

Once the water has drained, check the hose for a clogged piece of clothing or a soap blockage. Loosen the clamp that connects the hose to the bottom of the tub, and inspect the inside.  If you see something clogging the hose or a clog where the hose connects, remove it with your pliers and reconnect the hose.

Step 5 – Check for deeper clogs in the drain or beyond 

If the hose is clear, there may be a clog in the drain or beyond, which means you’ll likely need to use a plumber’s snake to clear it.

Step 6 – Inspect the washer pump

Check the washer pump, to see if it has a clog or a broken impeller, belt or a leak. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for a diagram of your unit’s pump location and parts. In most cases, you’ll notice an unusual noise when the washer is operating that indicates a bad pump, or leaking may also be a sign.  If you have a bad pump, you’ll need to replace it or call a qualified service technician for help. If you replace it yourself, be sure to purchase the same pump model.

Step 7 – Inspect the washing machine lid switch.

To see if the lid switch is working, depress it by hand. If you don’t hear a click, it may be broken and need replacing.

Step 8 – Inspect washing machine for damaged belts

To see if damaged belts are causing your drain problem, unscrew the access panel and check the main belt and the pump belt.  Refer to your manufacturer’s diagram to locate these parts.

Step 9 – Check to see if your configuration includes a washing machine drain vent?

A drain vent allows air in which can help prevent a vacuum that could hamper water draining properly from the machine.  If there is a gap around the drain hose where it enters the drain, you may not need a vent.  You should have a vent if building codes require one or if your washer is more than four feet from the vent stack for proper draining.

Step 10 – Call a service professional for help

If you’ve drained the water from your washer and inspected the hose, pump and lid switch and still can’t pinpoint the problem, you’ll probably need to call a professional plumber or washing machine service technician for help.

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