4 Reasons Why a Washing Machine Stops Heating the Water

clothes coming out of the washing machine still dirty

Your washing machine is a staple item in your home. If it suddenly stops working correctly, it can cause all kinds of problems for you.

We are going to be looking at some of the reasons a washer would stop heating up the water and what you can do about it.

If you have recently noticed that your clothes are coming out of the wash dirtier than usual or that the glass door is constantly cold, your machine might not be heating the water correctly.

Washing machine not heating faults

Let’s take a look at 4 reasons that your washing machine is failing to heat the water.

It’s important to remember that if your machine is displaying an error code, you should check the manual for what it means as it may indicate the specific fault.

1) The heating element has failed

When a washing machine stops heating the water, the usual suspect is the heating element.

After years of use, the heating element can develop a range of faults including low electrical insulation or an open circuit.

washing machine heating element with a bulge indicating a fault

When you visually inspect the heating element, sometimes it’s obvious that it needs to be changed. Any cracks or bulges in the element would mean that it has had its day.

You can normally find the heating element at the back of the machine behind the metal cover. You’ll need to unscrew it to remove it and sometimes even use a flathead screwdriver to lever it out.

Faulty heating elements can cause all kinds of problems including tripping the electrics and stopping the machine from draining.

2) The NTC needs to be replaced

If you have taken a look at the heating element, you will have noticed something sticking out the middle. This is the NTC. The NTC feeds temperature information back to the control board so it can turn the heater on and off during the cycle.

A faulty washing machine heating element being removed

Washing machines work on a binary temperature system. This means that if the desired temperature is 40 degrees, the heating element will be switched off at around 41 degrees and then switched back on at around 39 degrees so that it can maintain a median temperature.

If the NTC has broken, it could be feeding bad information back to the control board. The NTC could be telling the machine that the water is hot when it’s not.

Replacing the NTC is fairly simple and only takes a few minutes. You can usually get the correct part for your appliance using the model number online.

3) The electrical wiring is faulty

If you have checked out the heating element and the NTC, the problem might be with the wiring in the machine.

testing the wires on a heating element for an open circuit

If the electrical wiring has a break and has been damaged, the power won’t be sent down to the heater.

Diagnosing a wiring fault on a washing machine can be quite difficult, especially if you don’t have access to an electrical multi meter.

Sometimes you can get lucky and find some clear signs of bad wiring. You should be on the lookout for burn and scorch marks or clear damage on any of the wires.

4) The control board has failed

As we mentioned before, the control board controls when the heating element receives power, which in turn heats up the water.

front LCD control display of a washing machine

If the control module is defective, then it might not be receiving information from the NTC correctly or is struggling to send power down to the heater.

It’s important to know that it could be the wiring leading to and from the control module that is faulty, so it’s worth inspecting it to narrow it down.