How to Repair a Washer

The washing machine is certainly not the most romantic appliance in your home, but try to go without it for a few days and you’ll see how much you love it. There is no pressure greater than that applied by one spouse on another to fix the washer once it’s broken. Fortunately, even a beginner can complete most washing machine repairs over a weekend. All you’ll need to start are some basic home tools (screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, volt-ohmmeter) and your machine’s owner’s manual.


The washing machine has two major components: the agitating tub and the timer. The tub develops the washing action using an outer tub, an inner tub or spin basket, and an agitator. This action is actually produced by the motor and pulleys below or behind the tub. Other parts of the tub are the mixing valve and solenoid assemblies. The mixing valve mixes the designated amount of hot and cold water and pumps it into the tub.


The second major component, the timer, is a small unit mounted on the top or front panel of the washing machine. It is small, but it controls the events that occur during the wash, rinse, and spin cycles. Think of it as the orchestra leader. If the orchestra (washer) seems out of tune or won’t play, blame the leader.


One of the most common problems occurring within washing machines is that the washer won’t fill. In many cases, the cause is within the mixing valve and each wire and connector you disconnect with a letter so that you can easily reinstall the unit or install its replacement.

Replacement timers can be found at appliance parts suppliers or through your washing machine dealer. In some areas, the public utility districts maintain appliance parts inventories. Most of these suppliers will test your unit first. Ask them to explain the timer’s action so that you better understand the unit. Then hold on to your wallet while they tell you the price of a replacement. They seem quite expensive for their size, but consider them as the heart of your washing machine and you can keep the cost in perspective.

Replace your timer in the same manner as you removed it, following your owners manual’s or your own diagrams. Make a test of the washer before you replace the final plates and backs. By now you’ve probably solved your washer’s problem at the least expense while learning more about your washing machine.

A number of things can go wrong with windows. Most window repairs are relatively simple, though replacing a pane or a sash takes some skill. This article covers common window repairs. Additional information is offered in Doors, Windows & Skylights by the author (TAB BOOKS, 1983).


Rattling windows should be inspected before repair is attempted. Determine whether the rattle is due to a loose sash in the frame or a loose pane of glass in the sash. In both cases, permanent repair may require removal of the sash from the frame. Temporary relief of a rattling sash can be achieved by wedging the sash into the frame with wood or rubber wedges. This will hold it in place.

Rattling panes are due to loose putty; repair means reputtying from the outside of the house or after removing the sash. If the window is on the first floor or within reach of a ladder, the putty can be replaced with the sash in place. If the sash is not within reach from the ground, you’ll have to remove it.

To remove a sash from a casement window, first unscrew the hinges from the sash or frame as desired.

To remove a sash from a sliding window, pry out the inside stop on one side and the bottom, and then lift the sash out.

To remove the sash from a double-hung window, first unscrew or pry off the inside stop on one side of the bottom sash. Then lift out the sash, holding at about the same level as in the frame. Pry the sash cord knots out of the cord holes in both sides of the sash. Let the sash weights down until the knots rest against the cord pulleys at the top of the window. If you want to remove the top sash, first remove the bottom sash. Then lower the top sash to the window sill. Unscrew or pry out the parting strip on one side of the frame. Lift out the upper sash, untie the cord, and let the sash weight down. The sashes are now removed.


Loose panes in wood windows can be repaired with putty, glazier’s points, and a putty knife. First, pry out the old putty with a putty knife or jack knife. Remove the loose pane. Push out the glazier’s points and scrape the wood bare. To recondition the wood, paint the rabbet with linseed oil. Install new glazier points into the sash rabbet to hold the glass in place. Then spread the putty bed on the sash rabbet to cover the glazier points. Gently press the putty knife on the putty, moving the knife along the glass for a smooth seam.

The same procedure can be used to replace a broken pane of glass.

Repair Washer


You can tighten a loose wood window sash in one of two ways: if space between the sash and jamb or stop is over 1/2 inch, use a wood strip. If it is less than 1/2 inch, use a felt strip. To measure the looseness of a wood sash, determine whether the movement of the sash is in or out against stops or side to side against jambs. If in and out, push the sash against the parting strip and measure the space between sash and inner stop. If side to side, push the window tight against the jamb, draw a line along the stile, push the sash tight against the opposite jamb, and measure the distance between the line and jamb. This is the amount of “give” in the loose window.

To install strips, remove the sashes as outlined above. If you’re installing a wood strip, plane a strip of wood as wide and as long as the stop of the jamb until it is 1 inch thinner than the amount of play in the sashes. Then glue the strip against the jamb or against the inside of the face of the stop, as the case may be. Once the glue has dried, screw the strip. Countersink the screws, fill, and finish. Then replace the window. If you’re installing a felt strip, buy one long enough to cover the jamb or stop, tack the strip in place, and then replace the window.

Metal sashes rarely get loose or rattle. If they do, tighten the springs. If this doesn’t work, call in an expert since repair may require replacement.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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