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Heater change - major fail


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Hi. Thanks for looking at this and for any advice...... Basically I tried, unsuccessfully to replace the heater element on

my Hotpoint WMFUG842G. Somehow (me banging it) the seal has been pushed inside the drum and there is no way now for me to remove

the heater. I've tried my hardest to pull it out with no success. While trying to lever it out with pliers I managed to chip

the actual plastic of the drum that the seal fits into so am now worried that if I do manage to remove and replace the heater it may leak.

I accept that I may have to pay someone to repair it (if it's possible to repair) but don't want to pay someone to tell me it's a write off.

The machine is only 15 months old.

Can someone tell me my options please? Have I ruined the drum? Can the heater be removed?

Many thanks again for any replies.

1148434370_heaterelement(1632x1224).thumb.jpg.d3b72cd883da9de8d7a8ae5ccb41e026.jpg

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  • Root Admin

Hello Dan. This has happened because you removed the nut on the heater. To remove a heating element you loosen the nut and screw it up to the top of the thread and then knock it and it's thread shaft down so the nut is flush with the heater plate. This then releases the tension on the rubber and allows the element to come out. Even then it can be tricky.

You are right in worrying about the damage to the plastic surround on the tub possibly causing a leak. However, looking at it I'm hopeful that it won't. But if you successfully sort it you would need to check that properly before putting the back panel back on. If it did leak you'd need to thoroughly dry it and use suitable sealant.

To remove the heater you need to remove the rubber. That's what's holding it there. Try using narrow nosed pliers to pull bits of it forward and try using small bladed medium sized screwdriver. Essentially you have to pick away at it and pull the rubber to this side of the opening.

Another method would be to hacksaw off the element but I would be very cautions about that. The element contains insulation in powdered form. I don't know what it is. If it is asbestos that's a serious health risk.

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  • Root Admin

In case others are wanting to remove the heater I have a page about it here How to remove the heater from a washing machine

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  • Root Admin

Having said all that I do recall that sometimes a heater just won't come out because the rubber has become so squashed and bulbous. In the old days it wasn't a problem because you just used a big screwdriver and levered it out bit by bit. That was when the slot for the heater was always made of metal. These days, as you have found, using leverage to prise the element out only damages the plastic surround.

So if you have a difficult one that needs a lot of leverage, the only way to get it out is to remove the nut completely and pull it clear of the rubber as you have done. Then gently tap the shaft of the bolt in the middle to remove the pressure of the plate squashing the seal at the back.

Then you have to try to do as I said in my first reply. Just try to coax the rubber out with narrow nosed pliers, small and medium flat bladed screwdrivers. Even cut parts away if necessary - but don't let any rubber fall inside the machine. It can be tricky, and time-consuming but it can be done. 

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • Root Admin

Let us know how you get on. I've linked to this topic in my article now as it might be helpful to others in the future.

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • 4 months later...

I had the same problem. It took the best part of 3 hours to get out. I tried flat knives, flat blade screwdrivers, pliers, it wouldn't budge! What eventually cracked it was picking on the weak point at the hole where the thermostat slots in. I ended up using a serated knife to cut a line through where the thermostat hole is. I was eventually able to lever the end out using a screwdriver. Nightmare. Once it was out the size of the bulge on the inside edge of the rubber showed that thing was never coming out by trying to just tease around the edge. Phew! Don't fancy doing that again for a while!

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  • 8 months later...
  • Root Admin

Thanks for sharing your experiences guys. It will be helpful to others. And yes it can be extremely difficult to remove an old heating element, which is why it should only be done if you know the element is faulty because you have tested it with a continuity or insulation meter. I presume you followed my advice and removed the nut altogether and gently tapped the shaft of the bolt in the middle to remove the pressure of the plate squashing the seal at the back?

Further advice to others is do not use a large flat bladed screwdriver to lever the rubber out unless you can place a something under it to protect the plastic on the drum. Otherwise you can easily crack the plastic outer drum.

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • Root Admin

Here's a reminder of the link to my article for anyone who hasn't seen it How to remove the heating element from a washing machine

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • 1 year later...

The first time I changed the heater element on my Hotpoint, I had terrible trouble in getting the old one out.  It involved sawing through one electrode so that the metal cover could be revolved a bit so that access to the rubber was obtained.  The rubber was then painfully picked out, with pliers and knives.

However, the second time it needed changing (about 25 months later) after a lot of tugging and a bit of thought, I arrived at the solution.

The only thing that prevents its removal is the piece of rubber on the inner edge which swells when the nut is tightened and stays swollen even when the nut is slackened.  My solution was to obtain a scalpel, insert it at the top and the bottom of the seal, and cut through the swollen bit. To ease access, remove the nut and pull the element forward (out) as far as it'll go - about an inch - don't push the rubber through. This was all very easy, and I had the element removed in under a minute!  The cut bits of rubber stayed attached.  No need to cut all the way round, just most of the top and bottom.

The picture shows the cut through the rubber.

Richard.

IMG_2157.JPG

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  • Root Admin

Thank you to everyone for their contributions to this thread. I have just added a link to this topic on my help article on Whitegoodshelp because the photos in particular will be very useful to others how to get element out of washing machine

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • 2 years later...

I had to replace the failed water heater element on my LG14700RD washing machine which was 11 years old.   As expected, after loosening the gasket clamp bolt, the element was firmly jammed in the hole.

I saw several YouTube videos where people tried to lever the old element out with screw drivers, usually resulting in damage to the plastic casing.

My solution was to make a simple 'puller'.  See photo.  I used a piece of 25x25mm angle iron and a 6mm diameter x 40mm long bolt I had on hand.   I drilled a 5mm dia hole close to the gasket clamp bolt and then created a thread in the hole with a M6 tap.  The angle iron has a 6mm clear hole.  The spacer blocks are 20mm wood.   

I screwed the bolt into the threaded hole I made, and then tightened the nut (not the bolt) with a spanner to pull the element straight out.  Worked a treat and no damage to the surrounds!

As stated elsewhere, be sure to leave the nut on the end of the gasket clamp bolt so as to draw out the gasket with the element.

Note: The extra holes were in case I needed to screw the spacer blocks on to the angle iron, but it was not needed.  I had to file a notch out of the angle iron to clear on of the terminals.

image.png

washing machine element puller 2.jpg

washing machine element puller 3.jpg

Edited by bumpff
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  • Root Admin

Many thanks for sharing that. Very ingenious. This has always been a problem, but in the past when the heating element was inserted into aluminium backplates or metal tubs it was much easier to force them out. The introduction of plastic drums has made it very difficult to get a jammed heating element out without damaging the plastic surrounding.

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another thought:  some/all of the long heater elements have their far end held in a metal bracket so as not to touch the plastic casing.  When the element becomes caked in limescale and crud, it tends to lock the element into the bracket.  So when trying to extract the element you are fighting not only a potentially hardened rubber gasket, but also having to overcome the locking of the element in the bracket.  

Whilst removing a failed element, it's likely that deposits of limescale from the element will become lose in the bowl.  Try to get as much out as possible with an improvised hook or wetvac.  Then after first use post element replacement, check the filter for lumps of limescale.

washer element 1.jpg

 

washer element 2.jpg

Edited by bumpff
inverted second photo
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  • Root Admin

Thanks again for that. Yes, that's a good point. A heating element caked in limescale is unlikely to slide out of its holding bracket easily. And that's even if it isn't actually stuck. The thickening of the element alone will hinder sliding out of some metal brackets.

Limescale is a serious problem that shortens the life of possibly the majority of washing machines used in hard water areas. But it is entirely preventable because washing machine detergent contains ingredients that prevent limescale. A massive problem though is that most people just don't put the correct quantity of detergent in, and therefore suffer from limescale. I have an article on the subject here, limescale in washing machines.

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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