One evening a couple of weeks ago, we found the washing machine to be in a state of confusion and despair. Full of soapy water, failing to spin, lights flashing, and generally refusing to complete the whites-wash.
It had done this previously, in the summer, but the tried and tested 'turning it off and on again' had been a sufficient repair on that occasion. This time, however, we tried and failed.
Given the prospect of having to call out an engineer, I thought it would be worth checking for a solution on the Internet. After all, you never know. The answer might be a simple fix, within the grasp of my limited technical abilities.
And so it was. It turned out that the particular sequence of flashing lights corresponded to a specific fault. Our machine was suffering form a jammed pressure switch, which was a symptom of a blocked filter. I opened up the Hotpoint WT540 user manual on Gemma's laptop, and decided to give it a go.
Gemma had grave reservations about this; she feared I would get angry and break something. But I kept a cool head, and with some patience and a little elbow grease, managed to drain the machine and remove the filter (shown above, accessible via a removable panel, removable by turning anti-clockwise).
I had to use a baking tray to catch the draining water, which took ages (and filled one-and-a-half standard washing-up bowls), then struggled for some time to free the filter. The cause of the problem is illustrated below:
£1.57 in chemically-scarred coins, a flower button, a label, and (not shown) a significant amount of sodden lint and fluff. As well as recovering the cash, I guess I've saved around £100 in not having to get an engineer.