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Why do Washing Machines Lock?

Some people may or may not have noticed that most washers have a lid lock feature but why? Washers have been a common household appliance for many decades and throughout that time they have had some makeovers.

The lid lock feature should not be confused with the lid switch feature. Lid switches, in simple terms, prevent the washer from operating while the lid is open. The lid lock actually locks the lid into place during certain cycles. The addition of the lid lock feature primarily acts as a safety precaution on these miracle machines.

While household appliances provide the convenience of tackling chores more efficiently, it is critical to respect any safety components that come along with them. This is especially for washers both top and front-loading models. Before using any appliance it is a great idea to really examine all its parts and/or buttons to get more knowledgable on its functions.

Why Do Washing Machines Lid Lock?

Whether or not the lid lock has been noticed before, it is crucial to know how it works and exactly why it exists. So, why exactly do washing machines lid lock?

Washing machines have the lid lock function as a safety precaution. Simply put, the lock prevents the lid from being opened during certain cycles of the washing process. These precise cycles include the load sensing cycle and the spin cycle. The spin cycle can cause bodily harm if the washer is opened and someone reaches in.

More precisely, this applies to children. While we do everything we can prevent children from engaging with dangers throughout the house, they still can find ways to do so. The addition of safety and security to things like washers is an extra step in making sure accidents do not happen. It was implemented in 2015 for all washers to have the lid locking mechanism.

When examining the load sensing cycle, it is important to note what this cycle does exactly. The load sense cycle determines how much water to fill the machine based on the size of the load in the washer. If a load isn't chosen correctly, this cycle will not provide an adequate amount of water to do the laundry. The lid locks during this process to ensure no disruption is made during the water is filled.

The spin cycle is when washers spin the washing basin around to get excess water off the clothing. The lid locks during this cycle as the speed of the spinning is generally quite powerful.

The speed of the spinning basin is measured by rotations per minute, as this measures how many times the basin spins in a full circle per minute. Why is this relevant? Because it really puts some insight into how fast washers are in this cycle.

Washers can spin anywhere from 800 to 1600 rpm (rotations per minute). That is an astounding amount of times! Now imagine if someone's hand or arm got stuck in there? This is where the lid lock is exceptionally critical! That kind of speed can break bones, so ensuring the lid lock feature is active is super important!

How Do You Bypass the Lid Lock on a Washing Machine

Now that the reality of why these lid locks exist has been examined, is there a way to bypass the lid lock and why would you want to do so?

To bypass the lid lock on washing machines, there is a certain set of steps to take to disengage this locking mechanism. There is a bit of handy work involved, but following the steps can be done by anyone. Below are the steps that will do the trick!

  • Make sure the washer is off and proceed to unplug it from the electrical outlet.
  • Move the machine away from the wall, so you can see the backside of it.
  • Look specifically for any securing tabs or screws that are holding the horizontal panel in place.
  • The securing tabs can be pressed inward to release and the screws can be removed to access under the panel.
  • Once open, look for the lid lock switch on the underside of the panel. It should be fit into the back of the washer with its own port.
  • The use of a magnet between the switch on the panel and its port on the back of the washer will disrupt the connection. The magnet ensures the panel stays in place with the tabs or screws back in place.

After completing these necessary steps, it is then time to make sure all the hard work went well!

Plug the washer back in and turn it on. If you are able to lift the lid while its running, the magnet is secured enough. If it stops, the magnet needs to be adjusted. Bypassing this feature is something people in modern times are always looking to do as most newer models of washers have it.

This creates quite the inconvenience for those who just need to adjust something in the wash load. The switch in the back of the machine is connected to the mechanism that physically locks the lid, therefore, this method goes straight to the source of the actual switch that triggers the mechanism to lock on most models.

Another way to disrupt the lid lock aspect of a washer is to use the pause button that comes on newer models. While this an option to assist in the bypassing of the lid lock switch, some models can take a few minutes for the agitator to come to a full stop.

Depending on whatever rpm the basin was running at will determine the time it takes to slow down. The slow down process does start as soon as the lid is lifted. Waiting for it to stop is not for everyone, so having another method to bypass the switch is helpful such as the above method.

This concept brings everything full cycle (cycle, get it?) on the bypassing process; why would you want to bypass it at all? The reason for bypassing the lid lock is a simpler answer than one would think; we're forgetful!

We're all human and laundry is a struggling feat for most of us. From washing and drying and sorting and all gets overwhelming! So when we have something else to add to the wash, clothes or bleach, etc not having access only makes this process more frustrating.

To make my laundry more stress-free I've invested in a more high range washing machine. But I am space-conscious so I needed something compact. I eventually invested in a hOmeLabs Portable Washing Machine - (affiliate link), this little beast keeps me sane by not having a huge washer and dryer blocking up my kitchen.

Does Unplugging a Washer Reset It?

There are some reasons for resetting a washer and unplugging it typically gets the job done. Unplugging a washer cuts the power to the machine, thus stopping the cycle its in and resetting the machine. However, it is important to note that it is necessary to turn the knobs on the front of the washer to their off positions before unplugging the machine.

The reasons for resetting a washer are not just to attempt to release the lid lock, though that is a common reason people try instead of anything more extensive handiwork like the magnet trick. It is been noted that just unplugging the machine may or may not actually release this locking feature.

In theory, it should, however if there is a direct issue with the locking mechanism there may be something more sinister going on. If at least 10 minutes have passed and the lid lock has not released, this would warrant the need for a call to a service repair tech.

While this method is used by some to bypass the lid lock, there are other reasons associated with resetting washers. There are certain brands and models that can have a reset button on the face of the machine where the other function buttons are located.

However, those that do not may need to just be unplugged.

Some of the other reasons for resetting washers include imbalanced loads (the washing is shaking uncontrollably due to not enough clothing inside) or power interruptions (such as starting and stopping).

Resetting washers due to these issues helps to give them the opportunity to work properly again by rechoosing the washing settings after plugging the machine back in. Technology often needs a refresh just like tired out things usually do!

Why Isn't the Washing Machine Spinning Clothes Dry?

Even with the spin cycle being the most dangerous part of the washing process, it is the most important cycle. This cycle ensures all clothing is properly drained of any water so that the clothes do not come out sopping wet.

The lid switch and lid lock help aid in the process of making sure this cycle runs smoothly. For the lid lock, the cycle can run uninterrupted. As mentioned earlier, the lid switch plays a role in only running the machine while the lid is closed.

Combined, these aspects make for safer washers. However, if the washing machine is not spinning clothes dry, this is a problem.

The reason why a washing machine is not spinning clothes dry is usually that the washer is not balanced properly. This is usually due to clothing being caught up on the agitator or being unbalanced in general. Open the washer and tugging any clothing loose and repositioning them around the agitator will solve this issue.

Why Do Washers Fill with Water, But Not Spin?

This, unfortunately, is a more common problem with washers than one would think! No technology can be perfect, therefore that's why knowing the reasons behind the issues helps to maintain our devices for as long as possible! 

Washers that fill with water but do not spin are usually experiencing an issue with the lid switch (remember this is different than the lid lock!) or possibly a problem with the machine's belt. 

To remedy this ever so common occurrence, first, check the belt. It may loose or broken. If the spin cycle is working properly, this an indication to check on the belt. Tightening the belt is a simple solution but if it needs to be replaced as a whole, that is not a big deal either!

Another thing to check is the lid switch. If this mechanism is altered in any way where it cannot function properly, the machine will not spin the water out. The lid switch serves as a signal to the machine to safely operate as normal.

If the lid is not latching properly due to a fault lid switch, this will cause such issues to arise. The easiest way to repair this is to call a service tech.

The world of washers is a fascinating place in a world so crammed full of technology around every corner. The light shed on lid locks can assure that safety precautions are still in place but also provides options for those who don't wish to have it activated on their washers!

Mime Petit

A home appliance enthusiast and creative writer.

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