Appliance Repair Safety. While on a call recently, I ran into a situation that is every appliance repairman's worst dream. I had responded to a call on a washing machine that wouldn't spin made by a very frustrated homemaker with three children whose laundry was piling up.
After taking the front screws off and removing the front cover I quickly realized the last person to service this washing machine was either a rank amateur or a tinkerer with inclinations towards improvised engineering.
The reason this particular washing machine was refusing to go into spin cycle was that the wire leading to the lid switch had shorted out, burnt itself in two, although luckily it had not affected any other parts of the washer.
The bigger problem however was that someone in the past had completely bypassed the lid switch, while those of you not in the appliance repair trade may not realize the implications of such a hazardous move, any professional appliance repairman worth their salt will tell you this is a huge NO, NO!
To explain, the purpose of a lid switch, which is usually but not always tied into a lid locking device, is to keep the lid of the washer securely closed while the machine is going into high speed spins, which can reach hundreds of RPM's (Revolutions Per Minute). This is the period of time that your washer presents the greatest hazard to your family or anyone using the machine.
Not a year goes by that some unfortunate individual foolishly decides to reach their arm into a machine that is in a high speed spin in a misguided effort to slow it down or stop it. The results are most always tragic.
The clothes in the washer usually trap the person's arm and then literally twist it off. A best case scenario is the arm is shattered in several places, in some of the worst ones, the arm has been wrenched free of the body, an event almost too horrible to imagine.
To tie this in, the purpose of your lid switch is to make absolutely sure this does not happen to whomever is using the washer or to anyone passing by. Under no circumstances should a lid switch be bypassed, nor should you make any other repairs to a unit that has had the switch bypassed.
In the handful of instances I have run into this issue, the homeowner was upset to know their appliance's main safety feature had been bypassed, and more than happy to pay the small extra cost to have the lid safety system working properly.
How can you check to make sure your washer is functioning correctly? Put a load in your washer and start it and let it fill with water. Most washers will allow you to open the lid in the agitation cycle so you can add detergents and softeners.
Now with the machine full of water, open the lid and advance the time to the spin cycle. On any properly functioning washing machine, THE WASHER SHOULD NOT SPIN WITH THE LID OPEN!!
If you washer does, call your local appliance repairman. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”