A Comprehensive Guide on How to Drain a Washing Machine
How to Drain a Washing Machine
How to Drain a Washing Machine

How to Drain a Washing Machine

Washing machines are a necessity in modern homes, serving as indispensable aids in maintaining our clothing and fabrics. They function by amalgamating laundry detergent and water to create a conducive environment for the removal of dirt, oils, and stains from our clothes. After a wash cycle, these machines expel the used water and spin the contents of the drum at high speeds to eliminate excess water, thereby facilitating the drying process. However, in certain scenarios, the washing machine may fail to drain, leaving you with a drum full of water and damp clothes. This comprehensive guide will elucidate the steps involved in how to drain a washing machine effectively and without creating a mess.

Understanding the Basics

The process of draining a washing machine involves understanding some basic elements of the appliance. The primary component responsible for the drainage process is the drain hose. This is a flexible, ribbed plastic tube, typically grey, located at the back of the washer. The drain hose acts as a conduit, connecting the washer to a standpipe, utility sink, or directly into a back wall. This hose carries the wastewater from the machine into the main sewer line.

Safety Precautions

Before embarking on the task of draining your washing machine, it’s crucial to consider some safety measures. First and foremost, avoid moving the machine on your own, particularly if it’s full of water. A moderately sized 4.2 cubic foot machine filled with water can weigh close to 200 pounds. If it’s necessary to shift the machine a few inches to access the back, ensure you have an assistant to help you. If not possible, consider calling in a professional service technician.

How to Drain a Washing Machine

Required Tools and Equipment

You’ll need some basic tools and equipment to drain a washing machine. For a top-loading machine, you’ll need two buckets and some towels. In the case of a front-loading machine, you’ll require two shallow plastic trays along with towels. Additionally, a hose will be needed for both types of machines.

Instructions for Draining a Washer

The steps for draining a washing machine, whether it’s a top-load or front-load washer, are quite similar. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Check the Drain Hose for Blocks: The drain hose might be improperly connected or kinked, which could prevent the washing machine from draining. Straighten out the drain hose and ensure that nothing is resting on top of it, obstructing the flow.
  2. Correct the Drain Hose Position: The drain hose should be positioned more than 30 inches above the floor but no higher than 8 feet. If your washer drains into a standpipe, ensure that no more than 5 feet of the hose are inside the standpipe.
  3. Stop the Drain Hose Suction: There should be an air gap between the hose and the inside of the standpipe to prevent a suction effect that could hinder the washer from draining.
  4. Prompt the Drain and Spin: If the automatic drain doesn’t work, manually prompt the washer to spin and drain the remaining water.
  5. Force a Short-Term Automatic Drain Sequence: Many washers have an automatic drain sequence designed to expel water and prevent it from standing in the drum for too long.
  6. Wait for a Longer-Term Automatic Drain Sequence: Some machines also have a long-term automatic drain sequence that initiates after a certain period of inactivity.

Draining a Top-Load Washer

If you’re dealing with a top-load washer that hasn’t drained by unblocking the drain hose or initiating drain prompts, you’ll need to siphon the water into buckets using a hose.

  • Open the Lid: Open the washing machine lid. If it doesn’t open, allow the water inside to cool down before trying again.
  • Unplug the Washer and Turn Off the Water: With the lid open, unplug the machine and turn off the hot and cold water supply.
  • Remove the Clothing: If there are clothes in the drum, remove them and place them in buckets.
  • Place Buckets: Position two buckets in front of the washing machine.
  • Set Up a Water Siphon: Create a siphon from the standing water in the drum to one of the buckets.
  • Drain the Washing Machine Drum: When the bucket is almost full, transfer the hose to the second bucket. Continue this cycle until the washing machine is drained.
How to Drain a Washing Machine

Draining a Front-Load Washer

For front-load washers, if prompting the machine to drain didn’t work, you’ll need to remove the drain pump filter cover and empty the water with the drain pump hose.

  1. Locate the Drain Pump Cover: Unplug the machine, turn it off, and locate the drain pump cover.
  2. Place the Tray Nearby: Position a plastic tray near the drain pump.
  3. Extend and Open the Hose: Pull out the rubber drain hose and place the end in the plastic tray. Open the end by uncapping the stopper.
  4. Drain the Water: Allow the water to drain into the plastic tray. When the tray is about half full, cap the stopper, empty the tray, and return it.
  5. Remove and Clean the Drain Pump Filter: Remove the pump filter, clean it, and reinsert it.
  6. Recap the Drain Hose: Recap the end of the drain hose and push it back into the washer.
  7. Close the Drain Pump Cover: Replace the drain pump cover.

Troubleshooting Tips

During the process of draining your washing machine, you may encounter some issues. Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot:

  • The siphon will remove most but not all of the water. Mop up the remaining water with towels.
  • If the siphon stops working mid-process, you’ll need to remove the hose and start from the beginning.
  • If the water doesn’t siphon, you may have lost too much water from the hose before the second end was placed in the bucket.
  • The bucket must be lower than the washer drum, so always keep it on the floor.
  • The end of the hose in the washer drum should be tilted to the side to avoid blocking the flow of water.
  • Draining the machine will not automatically open up the front lid if there is a faulty switch or lock assembly. Call a technician for this issue.
  • If the hose isn’t draining freely, it might be because the edge of the drain pan is too high. The pan edge needs to be either the height of the drain hose or lower.

When to Call a Professional

If you’re unable to drain your washing machine despite following these steps, it might be time to call a professional. Some front-loading machines have a drain pump located beneath the machine instead of at the front. In such cases, a service technician should be called to drain the machine for you.

Understanding the Drainage System of a Washing Machine

Washing machines typically drain to the sewer system. After completing a laundry cycle, the washing machine pumps used water—also known as greywater—through a drain hose. This hose is connected to a standpipe, utility sink, or dedicated drain line that leads to the main sewer line of the house. The main sewer line then carries the wastewater away from the property and into the municipal sewer system or a septic tank.

Connecting the Washing Machine to the Sewer Line

Connecting a washing machine to the sewer line involves several essential steps to ensure proper drainage and prevent potential issues. First, you need to locate the designated drainage point for the washing machine. This might be a standpipe, utility sink, or a dedicated drain line connected to the main sewer line. Install the drain hose, secure its position, and then run a test cycle to ensure that the water drains efficiently without any leaks or backups.

Washing Machine Drainage Options

There are several options for draining a washing machine, each with its pros and cons. These include Standpipe Drainage, Laundry Tub Drainage, and an Underground Pipe-Link. Standpipe drainage is one of the most common and cost-effective options, while laundry tub drainage is considered one of the most efficient. An underground pipe link offers a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing solution but involves more extensive installation.

How to Drain a Washing Machine

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about draining a washing machine:

Q: Does a washing machine drain into the sewer line?

A: Yes, washing machines typically drain into the sewer line.

Q: Where does the drain hose from the washing machine connect?

A: The drain hose from the washing machine connects to a standpipe, utility sink, or a dedicated drain line.

Q: Can a washing machine share a drain line with other appliances?

A: Yes, it is common for washing machines to share a drain line with other appliances.

Q: Can I install a washing machine drain hose myself?

A: While it’s possible to install a washing machine drain hose, consulting a professional plumber is recommended for proper installation and compliance with local codes.

In conclusion, understanding how to drain a washing machine is an essential part of maintaining your appliance. When done correctly, it can help prevent potential issues and extend the life of your machine.