Zombie Washer

Friday morning, I was finishing up some work before heading to Julia’s field trip in the next town when Shannon texted me:

Washer just stopped itself with a load of clothes and water in it and there is a burning smell!

I had a few minutes of before I needed to be at the field trip, so I raced home to investigate. The laundry room reeked with a smoky smell and a load of damp laundry was sitting in the tub. Shannon said that the machine had started again on its own after she texted, but she’d stopped the cycle, worried that the machine would catch on fire. (Having had popcorn burst into flame in our microwave a few weeks ago, she had some reason to be worried.) Without much time to spare, I just unplugged the machine and said we’d have to look at it more later.

That evening – after Julia’s field trip and after she started throwing up with what turned out to be a 24-hour flu bug – I used some YouTube videos to figure out how to open the washing machine cabinet, hoping that I would be able to tell if anything was obviously wrong. Though the process was fairly straightforward (if laborious), ultimately I couldn’t tell what, if anything, was wrong. My first and only hypothesis – that a belt was failing – was eliminated when I found that the washing machine was a “direct drive” model, meaning it had no belt.

Disassembled Washing Machine
Disassembled Washing Machine

So I cleaned the hideously dirty interior of the cabinet, swept and mopped the floor, and reassembled the machine (scraping all the knuckles on my right hand in the process). The next day, Shannon put the machine in heavy use, doing all the usual laundry plus the laundry created by Julia’s sickness. We expected the worst, but nothing has happened so far. It’s a zombie washer.

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