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How to Check the Water Pump

The water pump recirculates water during the wash cycle and pumps it out for the spin cycle. Some washers use the recirculation to mix and distribute add-ins like bleach or fabric softener. In some models the spin cycle starts while the water is still in the tub; others drain first before the spin cycle starts.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing or repairs.

Before checking the pump, unplug the washer or shut off the power at the fuse box or breaker panel to avoid an electrical shock hazard. Also, turn off the water supply to the washer at the valves.

For the the initial filling of the tub, the pump is not involved. Filling the tub is the job of the water inlet valve. The rinse cycle is also done with fresh water supplied by the inlet valve, although the water pump may be running simultaneously to remove the water while it is being added.

A blocked or malfunctioning water pump can be responsible for many different washer problems; see our diagnostic page for the list. Note that while a problem may seem to be related to the pump, the problem may really lie in one of the connecting hoses. Each of the hoses that connects to the water pump should also be inspected. A blockage may occur anywhere in the water's pathway.

There are two types of pumps; direct drive and belt drive. The direct drive is mounted directly to the motor, the belt drive is mounted to the chassis. The direct drive style can be opened for complete inspection while belt drive models may or may not be designed to be opened. You can however, still remove the hoses and inspect the ports for a blockage. Inspecting the pump is fairly easy to do, but you will most likely have to open the washer's cabinet.

Typically one of three problems occur with the pump. The first is a blockage in the pump, often from small items like a sock. The second possibility is that the impeller blades become broken or worn down and cannot move water efficiently. Finally, in belt drive models, if the belt is loose or broken it does not turn the pump.

Locate the pump, it will have two, three or four hoses. Label each hose and where it connects. The hoses should each have a wire clamp or a hose clamp with a screw. Pinch the wire tabs together with pliers and wiggle the clamp farther up the hose. Screw style hose clamps are simply loosened by turning the screw, then slide the clamp up the hose. Now remove the hose from the port.

Direct drive pumps have metal clips that hold the cover plate unto the pump assembly. Use a screwdriver to pry up the clips and remove the cover. Pull off the pump's impeller unit and inspect for damage.

Belt drive pumps vary and may or may not be designed to open for repair. Examine the pump to determine whether it can be opened. If it cannot be opened the look into the ports for any blockage.

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