Water in Washing Machine Drum When Not in Use

Fred's Appliance
November 6, 2023
Washer Repair

Discovering water inside your washing machine can be perplexing, especially when you haven’t turned it onto a wash cycle. Fortunately, most of the common causes behind this problem are relatively straightforward to address. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into these causes and provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix them.

Let’s dive in.

Cause 1 – Faulty Water Inlet Valve

When you find water sitting in your washing machine drum, the first component to inspect is the water inlet valve. The valve regulates the flow of water in and out of the machine. When the inlet valve becomes defective, water can enter your washing machine when it shouldn’t.

To investigate this potential cause of the problem, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washer from the power source and turn off the water supply.
  2. Locate the water inlet valve. It’s situated where the water hoses connect to the washer. Access may require removing the machine’s front, back, or top panel. If you’re not sure, consult your owner’s manual. 
  3. Once located, look for visible signs of leaks, corrosion, or water stains around the valve and hose connections. If damaged, the valve and hose connections will need to be replaced.
  4. Next, disconnect the water supply hoses and inspect the screens inside the valve for debris or sediment buildup. Clean or replace if necessary.
  5. The next step is to inspect the electrical connections for loose or damaged wires or connectors. Repair or replace if needed.
  6. If there is no obvious damage, reconnect the hoses, plug in the washer, and turn on the water supply. Start a wash cycle to check if the water flows consistently. Inconsistent or no water flow indicates a faulty valve and will need replacing. If there are no water flow issues, check out cause 2.
  7. Once replaced, reconnect the hoses and electrical connectors, secure the new valve, reassemble the washer, and conduct a test cycle to ensure the replacement functions correctly. If you continue to experience problems, check out cause 2.

Cause 2 – Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump is tasked with removing water from the washing machine drum. If water consistently accumulates when your machine is not in use, and the water inlet valves are not to blame, it’s likely due to a malfunctioning drain pump. This issue often arises from debris and dirt accumulating over time, causing wear and tear.

To investigate this potential cause of the problem, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washer from the electrical outlet and disconnect it from the water supply.
  2. Locate the drain pump. It can typically be found at the back of the washer. You may need to remove one or more panels to gain access to it. If you’re not sure, consult your owner’s manual. 
  3. Once located, check for debris, foreign objects, or lint that might obstruct the pump’s impeller or the connected hoses. If anything is found, remove it.
  4. Next, test the pump by manually turning its impeller to ensure it rotates freely. If it’s stiff or jammed, it may be faulty and will need to be replaced.
  5. Examine the pump’s electrical connections for loose wires or damage. You can then disconnect the pump motor and use a multimeter to test it for continuity. If the pump motor doesn’t have continuity, it will need to be replaced. If it does have continuity, you can reconnect the motor and check cause 3.
  6. Once a new drain pump is installed, monitor your washing machine over the next few days to ensure the problem has been solved. If not, check cause 3.

Cause 3 – Faulty Drain Hose

A blocked drain hose is a common reason for water accumulating inside the washing machine drum. Over time, debris can build up within the hose, leading to this issue. Regular drain hose replacement every five years can help prevent this problem. Additionally, small items like socks may occasionally get lodged in the hose. 

To investigate this potential cause of the problem, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the drain hose from the washing machine.
  2. Use a drain snake to clear any debris inside the hose. This is typically effective for relatively new hoses, but it will need to be replaced if you cannot unblock the hose.
  3. Next, run hot water through the hose to remove any remaining debris. You can then reconnect the hose.
  4. If water continues to enter your drum even after cleaning or replacing the drain hose, check out cause 4.

Cause 4 – the Standpipe Is Too High

The standpipe is responsible for transporting wastewater from your washing machine to the sewer lines. If the standpipe is positioned too high, it can result in wastewater flowing back into the washing machine drum. Ideally, the standpipe’s height should not exceed 30 inches above the opposite end of the drain hose to avoid complications. 

If you suspect the standpipe height is against plumbing codes, consult a qualified technician. They will be able to discuss the problem with you and explore solutions that may involve relocating the standpipe.

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