Plumbing Question

Washing machine not (always) draining completely - could it be the plumbing connection?

Bear with me as English isn't my first language and my plumbing vocab rather poor ... my washing machine (WM), not even 5 months old, was working perfectly until I moved a few weeks ago.The water doesnt' seem to be draining properly, re-soaking the laundered clothes in the bottom drum at the end of the wash cycle. I had somebody check who determined the filter's clean but there's a blockage in the kitchen waste pipe which prevents the water from draining. The strange things is that the WM's waste water hose connector sits right at the end of the horizontally running kitchen waste pipe, less than a foot away from where the kitchen sink drain pipe meets the main waste pipe. At the place where I'm used to seeing WM's waste hose connected (a nozzle right underneath the kitchen sink), there's the combi boiler's condensate drainage pipe.

Prior to moving in I did some cleaning in the property and poured a bucket of dirty water down the kitchen sink. It caused a huge spillage, the water came spurting out to the left where the WM's nozzle hadn't been capped (blanketed?), though the waste pipe's direction is to the right. Since the WM's been plugged in it makes me wonder how much of my daily dirty water flows into the washing machine? And with the blockage in the waste pipes, it's no surprise water from the kitchen sink goes the way of the least resistance (into WM)?

I found some info saying that the WM's waste water hose should be connected above drum-level which is definitely not the case. Or that there should be a trap to keep smells away which isn't the case either, just a straight connection at the end of the main waste pipe. Looking at the installation, it makes me wonder whether the appliances have been mixed up, shouldn't the condensate drainage pipe have been connected where the WM's connected to and vice versa?

I'm asking because this is a social housing property and I imagine the landlord won't share my concern for the dodgy plumbing as long as it's not life-threatening. Me, on the other hand, don't want to ruin my new WM.

Would removing the blockage solve the problem or are my suspicions right about the dirty kitchen water entering the washing machine no matter whether there's a blockage or not. Would it be costly to re-arrange the connections (WM/condensate drain) if I had it done myself?

Thanks for reading, might have been shorter if I could attach a picture!

1 Answer

Best Answer

Hi,
All or most of your assumptions are correct.the water in the washing machine is almost certainly coming from the sink waste due to poor layout of the waste pipe connections (I'm probably being too kind here, the word ignoramus springs to mind). The washing machine waste MUST be connected to a trap NOT directly into the waste pipe, it's also good practice to loop the drain hose so that at it's highest point it is as close as possible to the level of the sink overflow. Most condensing boilers have there own trap so the condensate pipe from the boiler doesn't need to be connected to the sink trap it can be connected directly to the waste pipe.
Costs for putting things right I would estimate at around £60-£80 depending on where you live.

Hope this helps

Best regards
Steve Jones
D2 Plumbing & Heating

Answered 6th Sep 2011

D2 Plumbing & Heating

Member since 18 May 2011

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