I have a frigidaire front load washing machine, and we are finding a few inches of water in the barrel after running a load, but not right away -- it takes at least 1/2 an hour before the water appears in the barrel.

I can empty it quickly by running a spin cycle, and notice that the water is foul smelling, which leads me to think that it is drain water, rather than fresh water.

Also, the drain pipe runs into a utility sink, rather than a standpipe, so I'm pretty sure that there isn't water backing up into the drain.

Any thoughts what could be causing this?

  • can you post the model number so we can perhaps find specifics about this?
    – mohlsen
    Commented Jan 20, 2011 at 13:19

5 Answers 5


This happened to us (we have a GE Profile front loader). Most front loading washing machines have a filter that the water passes though before being pumped out to the drainage basin. This filter is designed to catch things so they don't run through the pump and damage it or end up going down the drain. The filters are typically in the bottom front of the washer, as it is common to have to clean this out. It should be easily accessible. It might even be in the manual (it was not for ours though)

For ours, you simply remove two screws on the front of the washer at the very bottom to remove part of the front panel. Behind the panel, there was a hose connected to a pump. This was attached via a clamp. We simply removed the clamp, it was the pinch style, and found a baby sock blocking the water from flowing through.

One tip, is that the line will probably be full or water when you detach the hose. So have some towels and a tray or pan to catch the water as it drains!

  • Just to add to what has already been said. I checked my filter on front loader Samsung. I had a plastic wire 1", tile spacer (for grout for tiles), 2 small pebbles and a pretty decent sized ball of lint. I removed all of these and its working like a charm. Good stuff on the posts folks, no matter how old. Check your filter and be prepared for some water discharge.
    – user53247
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:59

It sounds like you have something causing drain water to backup, and siphon back into the barrel slowly. The drain pipe that runs to the utility sink... does the pipe incline to get to the sink?

I had one many years ago and I can see it in my head.. the pipe would hold about 1.5 gallons of water, and would stink quite badly. I never had it run back into my machine, but it would occasionally get knocked off the sink and spill on the basement floor.

  • What is the siphon here? I've the same problem?
    – user53495
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 11:03

Shut off the supply valve after the final spin cycle is complete.You will be able to tell if the solenoid valve that allows water in during certain cyles is leaking.It may be dripping so that over time the tub fills even when it is not in use.


It's a little late for the OP, but it is pretty common. Here is a different explanation:

Maybe the water was hiding

It could be that the machine tried to pump out the water, but did not complete because the drain is blocked somewhere. Even if there was a spinn cycle later, it would not dry anything, leaving it very wet instead.

If there is a pile of very wet clothing in the machine, it could look like the normal pile you expect;
But over some time, the water of the upper part of the pile drains to the surrounding, filling the water level that remained from the incomplete pumping up until it is visible from the machines window.

That would mean the water stayed in the machine, it is not coming back from the outside, which I think is improbable;
It just stayed in the machine, but was hidden for a while.

Anecdote that inspired this answer

I have seen a similar situation where pumping only managed to drain about half of the water;
I checked the drain pipes inside the machine, than the drain hose. All clean. The hose was connected to the kitchen sink pipe above the siphon, which was not blocked either.

It was clearly behaving like blocked, and clearly free at the same time... very strange.

I was very irritated for some minutes - until I finally found that the harmless looking 5 cm connection between hose and siphon was almost fully blocked.


How deeply does the drain hose from the washer into the utility sink?

Before I switched over to an automatic laundry pump on my utility sink, I thought it was amazing that the basin never overflowed (my sink is below the drains from the house, as there had previously been a septic tank, and the tied through the septic system to connect to the sewer system)

I just thought it was a feature ... I'd just do like you, and run to spin the rest of the water out ... until I realized that it filled the water level just to the height of the drain hose. What was actually happening is the water was flowing from the drain hose back into the washer.

(mind you, the drain pipe had a U-bend in it, but I guess when the water was being ejected, it pushed the air out of the bend, so it could then act as a syphon ... or maybe it was just the difference in height between the full sink and the exit drain on the laundry that gave it enough pressure to backflow)

I've now got an automatic pump, but if it starts getting too much lint, down the drain, it'd start to cycle too often which would allow a fair amount of water to build up ... so I'd have to restrict the exit on the laundry pump, until I restricted it far enough that about every year or so I have to take it off and clean it.

They have some wire net things that you can attach to the drain hose, but I find they fill up too quickly, and they have large enough openings that they still let a fair bit through. I've switched over to getting knee-high stockings, and using that instead. (finer mesh and holds more so you don't have to change it out as often)


So anyway, I'd check to see how fast the utility sink is draining. It'd probably be good to check on it a few times while you run a load of laundry. If the water ever gets up to the level of the drain pipe from the washer, there's your problem.

If you can't get the sink to drain faster, you can always shorten how far the drain pipe extends into the sink.

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