Mailbag: Washer Drain Pipe Overflowing

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on October 26, 2003

in Washer Repair

DK Ezekoye wrote:
Thanks for your site! I have had major problems with all (4) of our less than 3 year old Kenmore aplliances. A tip and one question on my washer (Kenmore 417.40042990 front loader).

Every so often, the machine will not spin properly (at all). Solution, there is an interlock which will not let the spin cycle start if the water level is too high. Makes sense for a front loader. This points to the pump failing. In one case, unclogged it to find pantyhose in the pump(blood boiling). In the second case, there was a nickel in the pump which had sheared off the impeller blades and had rendered the pump useless. $50 for a new pump.

My newest problem is leaking from the standpipe. I snaked, and poured liquid plumber etc., but it stills overflows during the initial surge when the pump starts. Is there anything that I can do short of getting a plumber to put a drain in the laundry room floor? We live in Texas and there ain’t no basements here. Could it be that there is not enough of an air gap between my hose and the 2″ standpipe drain? Thanks…

DK ( a Texas PE)

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Your Kenmore front loader is made by Frigidaire and is, in my vaunted opinion, the best front loader out there. Most of the problems I’ve seen with this washer have to do with debris in the pump, as you described, or door catch breaking. Both are extremely minor problems in the world of washer repair. Compare with the Maytag Neptune which has been nothing but one long, sad song about fried control boards and door latch assemblies–at much more than $50 a pop! I talk more about various appliance brands here.

The U-hook on your drain hose should just hang in the drain pipe–the diameter of the drain hose hook should be less than the diameter of the drain stand pipe. Typically, drain hose diameters are around 1″ o.d. and standard drain stand pipe diameters are 2″ o.d. The hook of the drain hose is simply placed into the drain pipe and secured with either duct tape or a tie wrap. You can see that this creates a natural air break which you should not try to obstruct. If your drain meets these criteria and you’re getting the suds-back condition, then we need to consider a couple of other things.

Start with the simple things. Have your drain professionally reamed out by a plumber who knows his sh*t: Mr. Rooter. If you’re not using a high efficiency detergent (especially critical for front loading washers), then it’s time to start. Finally, and worst case scenario, if your house is on a septic tank system, the back wash from the drain pipe could be an early warning that it’s time to have your septic tank pumped out.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pepper December 27, 2004 at 1:44 pm

I have a Kenmore 417 front loader that is leaking from the front left side. I can’t seem to find a repair manual that would clearly covers this washer such as removing cabinet and replacing pump, etc. I did remove the back panel and found no standing water in it, however I failed to check whether I could actually replace the pump with just the back panel removed.

Is the pump a likely culprit? Places I can get a manual that covers this washer? It has the dryer stacked on it, is it necessary to remove it to repair the washer’s pump?

Samurai Appliance Repair Man January 31, 2005 at 12:53 pm

The bottom quarter panel on the front of the washer comes off. The screws are on the very bottom, get down on the ground in front of the washer and you’ll see them. Once that panel is removed, here’s what you’ll see inside. If you need more help, come see us in the repair forum.

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