is usually caused by a “stuck-open” fill valve, with the cold water
half of the valve 'sticking' open from sediment buildup inside the
This can also be caused by the fill system control components: pressure switch, pressure tube, or pressure tube
let’s take a look at these.
of all, determine whether your overflow condition is mechanical or
electrical. Start the
washer filling, then turn the timer off by pushing
the knob in. If the fill
continues, pull the washer plug. If
filling continues with the washer unplugged, you have a mechanical
problem - nearly always a stuck valve ass’y.
Replace the fill valve.
however, the fill stops when you unplug the machine, you are looking at
an electrical fill control problem, and it gets a little
a small piece of rubber or plastic tubing is handy. Unplug the washer and open the console where you’ll see the
pressure switch. This is the
switch with a small rubber tube, usually clear, sometimes black,
attached. Pull this tube
off and replace it with your short tubing.
Blow a bit of pressure into the switch using your mouth, and
listen for a click, then another when you release the pressure.
Hear two clicks? Good! The switch is probably OK, but we’re having fun, so
the washer back in (being aware that components in the console are now
‘hot’ - you've read my disclaimer,
right?), and start the washer filling again.
With it filling, again blow a bit of pressure into the switch.
If the switch is good, the fill should stop and the machine
should start to agitate.
verifies that the pressure switch is working, and causes us to suspect
the pressure tubing or a clogged port/dome to which it connects.
Wipe off the end of the original tube you removed from the
switch, and blow into it. You’re
blowing air down into the tank now, and you should feel very little
restriction. If it is very
hard or impossible to blow through this tube, the tank dome or port is
Really old Maytags were known for this, and if you have one, spin out all water,
remove the ‘Corbin’ clamp from the pressure tube outside of the tank
and pull the tube off. (Pull
washer front off – 2 Phillips screws at bottom, then two 3/8 in. hex
screws release top, which swings upward)
You will probably see ‘gunk’ clogging both the rubber tubing
and the ‘spud’ that is a part of the tank.
The hose ass'y can be taken to a sink and flushed clean with hot
water, and an old toothbrush used to clear the tank spud, which, in the
Maytags, is about 3/4 in. ID.
your washer is a newer Whirlpool product (Whirlpool, Estate, Kenmore,
Kitchenaid, Roper) with the plastic tank, these too are known for
clogging, but are tougher to clear.
They’re best cleaned from the inside, which means pulling the
cabinet and tub. Not beyond
the reach of the
handyman, this job does require a special spanner
wrench to remove the tub nut, as well as the removal of some other
components. I’d probably
recommend this one as a job for the pro. An experienced tech will have seen this before and be in and
out in an hour or less.
tank port on these washers is too small - only about 3/8 in. diameter,
and hard to clean, even from the inside.
Here’s yet another job for the trusty wetvac.
We are hopeful that Whirlpool will soon enlarge or baffle these
ports to correct this problem - one of very few ‘glitches’ these
excellent machines have.
your brand, if air can’t be blown down through this tube, the port or
dome will need cleaning.
Note: My friend Ken told me he cleared this clog in his washer by
blowing compressed air down through the pressure tube, at about 75
pounds, using his portable air tank. I'd try that first, maybe pouring a
bit of hot water into the tube first, then using the air pressure to
push out the 'gunk' that usually clogs the area at the pressure dome at
the lower end.
'That's worth a try, as it might save the time and work of pulling the
tub out. Thanks for the tip, Ken!
If you have no
trouble blowing pressure through it remove the tube completely and
inspect it carefully. This
tube must not have the smallest hole in it, and we sometimes see them
worn through or, more often, chewed through by mice.
I mention this last because, while it is the least common cause
of overflow I see, it does happen and is easily overlooked.
We run into this a couple of times each year, usually in the Fall
when the mice are looking for a warm winter home.
uncommon, sometimes this tube will swell and loosen a bit,
leaking air where it attaches to the tank fitting. If you suspect
this, or the tube fits very loosely, simply cut 3/4” or so off the end
and push it back on.
last comment on this concerns some newer Frigidaire 27” (wide)
machines. These use a piece of tape (!) to secure the pressure tube to
the outside of the tank. This tape has to be there (don’t ask me how I
know!) or the tube will pull off while spinning,
causing flooding. If it has come off, or was
removed for service, be sure to replace it. Duct tape will work
well; just be sure to clean the tank before attaching to be sure it
stays put. Naphtha (lighter fluid) will do this well.
important: WHENEVER THE PRESSURE TUBE IS
REMOVED, BEFORE REINSTALLING IT, BE SURE ALL WATER HAS BEEN SPUN OUT OF
THE WASHER! Otherwise,
the water fill level will be incorrect and you’ll be back in trouble.
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