washing machine / electrical problem

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washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 Coolhand on Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:18 pm

So..... after getting my washer and dryer down here I had a rude surprise when the washer leaked everywhere. Thanks to a good internet guide "here" I managed to track down the leak and find a solution. I've replaced the pump and expect I have fixed the leak. However, when I plugged it back in and tried to power it up (before reconnecting the water hoses) I have no power. I tried the outlet with another device I know works and discovered the outlet no longer has power - through testing I've found that 3 outlets in that area don't have power, but the light fixtures work. My fuse box is poorly labeled in Spanglish, but all the breakers are set to on. None of these outlets have ground fault interupt switches. All the outlets that do are switched on and working. Anyone have any idea how I might find the problem?

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by Abominatus on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:04 pm

Now by breakers set to on, you mean none of them appear tripped? Some breakers dont trip all the way and sometimes dont trip at all. I would suggest resetting each individual breaker just to be sure. Do you have a voltage tester? Might check actual line voltage at the outlets to see if you are getting 120v. Is this your house, or do you rent?

More importantly did water get into any electrical wiring? Pumps on a washing machine can spray all over and make life hell.

Make sure there arent any "lightswitches" that need to be turned on.
Could be that none of the outlets without GFI are grounded, but that shouldnt affect whether you are having power or not.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 DROOPY on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:16 pm

First off be super carefull electricity kills. First thing turn off all your breakers then turn them back on. Look for another breaker box in another room, u might have 2. Sometimes they don't pop out when they trip. If that doesn't work, water may have gotten into the outlet and caused a short, and could have fried that run of wire or toasted the breaker. You can swap one the breaker in question faith another one the that is the same size, just be super carefull and make sure the main breaker(s)is off usually the top 2 breakers or the biggest ones with double switches. U can also kill the power and check out the outlet for damage or water. If you have a gfci outlet in the room, reset it , one gfci out can protect 4 outlets if they are on the same series

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 KnightOwl on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:21 pm

Sounds to me like it is either a breaker that needs to be replaced or a gfi that tripped. When it comes to electricity never trust what someone wrote in the breaker box.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 Coolhand on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:48 pm

Just bought a non-contact voltage/current detector so I'll let you know what I find. Abomb, I just bought my first house which was built in 1935 but recently renovated. As I state before I had already checked all gfi outlets switching them back and forth, and no breakers are tripped, but I will flip them back and forth to make sure. Thanks for the suggestions guys.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 DROOPY on Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:58 pm

If you have a ground then the gfci outlets will trip again after you reset them, and sometimes they are hard to tell if they are on or off, use your meter to see if you have power before and after you reset the gfci, I bet that is where your prob is at

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by DeadSockPuppet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:41 am

I had a problem with an outlet in my dining room and my dad's friend that does electrical work emailed me the info below on how to check/fix the outlets. There's a ton of info so you may have to sift thru it. The email had pics/diagrams that didn't transfer because I posted this from my phone. If you want, message me your email address and I'll forward the complete email to you. Hope this helps Luke.

First, check your Circuit Breaker Panel for a “Tripped” Breaker. There are a zillion styles of Breakers. For Some types it is easy to see which Breaker is “Tripped”. For many, it is hard to see. Many have little “Handles” like a common “Toggle” Light Switch. I find it easier to find a “Tripped” Breaker by very lightly running my finger down the row of switches. You can feel the switch that is “different” even when you cannot see it, like bones in a fish. Most common Breakers have three positions, ON, TRIPPED, and OFF. These are usually marked right on the Breaker. If you find a “Tripped” Breaker, proceed cautiously. There may be an electrical problem which is NOT related to your BAD outlet. Another outlet on this circuit may have a faulty device plugged into it or there may be a fault in the wiring causing a short which tripped the Breaker. If you find a “Tripped” Breaker, I suggest you switch the Breaker to “OFF” and then test other outlets and lights, looking for other stuff which is “OFF”. Your BAD outlet may also be on a circuit with other outlets, lights, or the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Be patient and try to find everything that does not work. Try to find something “BAD” plugged into another “Dead” outlet. Unplug everything which is plugged into a “Dead” outlet. You can then try to reset the Breaker. Switch the Breaker from OFF to ON. Do NOT look at the Breaker when you switch it: look away. Sometimes a Breaker will arc (BIG spark) when you throw it. If the Breaker resets OK try your tester on your BAD outlet. If it is OK now, the problem was probably something you unplugged. Treat these items with caution. Test each item carefully. If the lamp “Trips” the Breaker again, it is probably the culprit. The BAD item on the circuit may also be something wired right into the circuit, like an exhaust fan or a ceiling fixture, which will “Trip” the Breaker when you turn it “ON”. The Breaker itself may be bad. This is rare but I have found a couple and they drive you crazy.

If there is no Tripped Breaker, we’ll look for a wiring fault.

Do NOT assume that the wire colors are hooked up correctly. If correct:
o Bare (or Green) is "Ground"
o White is "Neutral" (Grounded)
o Black (and any other color except Green or White) “Hot”

Use your tester to test between White & Black, Black & Green (Bare), and Green & White.
If correct: White & Black “Light!”
Black & Green (Bare) “Light!”
Green (Bare) & White “NO Light”

If you do not get a light with any of these three combinations, you probably have an “Open Hot”, that is, the Hot (Black) wire is “Switched Off” or it is not connected properly someplace. Please be careful: the problem COULD be intermittent!

Plug a lamp into the “BAD” Outlet and try each light switch in the room. It is very common, especially in a bedroom, to have a “Switched” outlet so you can control a lamp from the switch. Try all the switches in the room to rule out this case.

I assume that, because there is a “Bare” wire, that your wiring is “Romex” Cable”


In Romex wiring, it is common for a circuit to run from a breaker panel to an outlet and then from the first outlet to another outlet.

Your BAD outlet is at the end of the circuit and you only have three wires. The White wire is connected to a Silver screw (Neutral). The Black wire is connected to a copper/gold screw (Hot). The Bare (Green) wire is connected to a Green Hexagonal screw (Ground).

Sometimes the Ground wire is connected to a screw in the box instead of to the Green Hexagonal screw on the outlet. The outlet is supposed to be grounded through the screws that attach the outlet to the box. This is not as good as attaching the Ground wire directly to the outlet. For example, when you unscrew the outlet from the box and pull it out, the outlet is still “Hot” but there is no Ground. Be Careful!

There are several cases.

One is that the circuit runs from the Circuit Breaker Panel to another outlet before it gets to your BAD outlet and the wiring in this “Previous” outlet is faulty. Proceed cautiously. I often find a LOOSE wire as opposed to a disconnected wire. This may result in an intermittent wiring fault and/or a partial short which will heat up and start a fire. You could also reach into an outlet and find a HOT wire. This could be bad. Be CAREFUL! Use your tester to check each of the other outlets in the same room as the BAD outlet. Also test each outlet on the other side of the wall. Do not open them up yet: just stick the probes of the tester into the three holes, two at a time. You should get LIGHT/LIGHT/NO-LIGHT as in the chart above. Note that the Neutral (“Grounded”) terminal has a bigger slot than the Hot and the Ground (“Grounding”) is Round.

If you find another “Bad” outlet, open it up CAREFULLY. Remember that you already suspect a loose or disconnected HOT wire.

If you do not find another bad outlet, the wiring fault may also be in another outlet that works but has the HOT wire loose or disconnected “downstream” from the outlet itself.

One common way to wire an outlet when there is another outlet “downstream” is to connect the in-coming Black HOT wire to one gold screw and connect the out-going HOT wire to the other gold screw. The in-coming Neutral White wire is connected to one silver screw and the out-going Neutral White wire is connected to the other silver screw. If the out-going HOT wire is loose or disconnected, the outlet will work but everything “downstream” will not. If the in-coming HOT wire is loose or disconnected, this outlet will not work and all outlets “downstream” will not work, either.


Another common (and preferred) way to wire a “mid-stream” outlet is to use a short piece of wire connected to the outlet and to a “Pigtail” also connected to the in-coming and the out-going wires.


If you find a loose or disconnected wire, BE CAREFUL. The wire and/or the screw may be HOT. You should turn this circuit OFF at the Breaker Panel before you try to re-connect the loose wire. Once the wires are all reconnected and the screws TIGHT, you can reset the Breaker to ON and then test everything again.

Again, if you find anything screwy just STOP and email me.

Oh, 110 Volts AC is unlikely to kill a big fellow like you but I still would prefer to

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by DeadSockPuppet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:47 am

Sorry the last sentence cut off, it had to do with my dad's friend not wanting me to electrocute myself because he wanted to go deer hunting with my dad and brother the next weekend.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 K1ll3rKlown on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:39 am

I tried to help with one of your previous homeowner questions.
For this one I'm going to suggest you get an electrician.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by Atrum on Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:32 am

I work with low voltage cable but here's how I'm reading it:

- Washer leaked a lot of water. This has been repaired/cleaned up.

- After the leak, the outlets near the washer do not work. SOMETHING has been plugged in to them to verify that there is no power. I assume a lamp or something that you know works.

What would I do?
I would turn everything off, walk to the circuit breaker, and flip everything off and on. Then test the outlets again with a lamp/alarm clock/etc to see if they work.

If that doesn't work, I would assume that (basically) the lines are wet. You probably want someone with some know-how to come check it out. I don't know the procedure for fixing, or what damage wet electrical lines can cause. Who knows, maybe it would dry out after a few days and just work again.

So - try flipping the breakers, if that doesn't work get help.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 Coolhand on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:58 pm

So I reset all breakers and behold, the outlet works. I plug the washer in and can hear the motor run when I turn it on wash, but when I turn it on spin the breaker trips again. The breaker this time tripped half way so I see which one it is. I've tested this and sometimes it trips, sometimes not, but always stops working when I set to spin. During the repair I did unnecessarily disconnect the controls, and when putting it all back together I noticed I had not written down where the white wire went, and my description for the white with green stripe wire is vague, so I'm going to try and swap those (they are side by side under the timer). I have hope for this since my google searches had turned up suggestions about it being a timer problem. Will let you know - trying to finish this before Halo tonight. I missed Forza because of it already.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by S7 Coolhand on Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:46 pm

That was it - switched those two wires and have no more electrical issues. Maybe thsi voltage detector will come in useful in the future, but that was an unnecessary $20. I just needed a good night's sleep figure out the issue - last night I couldn't figure out the breaker problem, so with yall's advice I fixed that and was quickly able to figure out the switched wire problem I had caused. So the pump no longer leaks and the washer runs well, but it seems I loosened the hose connection to the tub while messing with the pump, so caused another leak Sad cleaning that now and expect I will be good to go after securing that hose. Thanks for the help! Just in time too; I was running out of pants and white undershirts. I don't have the money to drop on a pro repair or a new washer, so it is awesome that I got out of this for just the price of the part and one unneeded tool. The pump was $30 including shipping from Amazon. Just one tip for anyone who works on a washer in the future - to remove the front panel pull the bottom out first to release the spring clips - I forced it off top first which was difficult. And double check the wiring diagram you make before you forget how everything goes back. Oh and don't even remove the wiring if you don't need to. Plus double check that the hoses are well connected after you finish the other repairs. OK, that was a little more than one tip - I learned a good deal with this one - surprisingly that plumbing issue I had before was a little more straight forward.

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Re: washing machine / electrical problem

Post by Abominatus on Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:18 pm

You are a homeowner now. You need a voltage tester. Owning one gets you +5 man points. Plus is handy since you like to tear into things. Glad you got it fixed.


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