What Causes Water to Come Out of the Clear Overflow Tube in Top-Loading GE Washers?

General Electric (GE) top-loading washers have a clear, plastic or rubber overflow or pressure tube that fills with water as the tub also fills. Once a desired water level is reached, air pushed to the top of the tube by the water triggers a switch to end the filling cycle. If a filling problem occurs, water may come out of the tube, and the washer will overflow and possibly flood your laundry room.

  1. Stuck Valve

    • Sometimes a corroded water valve won’t shut right away or it'll stick while it’s closing and cause water to flow out of the overflow tube. The valve must open when the fill process begins and close after the washtub is full. Over time, sediment in your home’s water supply may affect a valve’s operation and hamper its ability to close. Unplug the washer. If it continues to overflow while unplugged, the valve is likely open. Turn off the washer’s main water valves or faucets behind the washer. Don’t use your washer until the valve is repaired or replaced by a technician.

    Pressure Switch

    • Another reason that water may be coming out of the overflow tube may be due to an electronic malfunction. Unplug the washer, and open the appliance's control panel to find the pressure switch, which is attached to a long plastic or rubber tube that runs the length of the washtub. Detach the tube, and attach a rubber hose, which can be purchased from a hardware store. Blow a constant stream of air into the tube and listen for two clicks to correspond with the pressure changes. Once you hear them, plug in your washer back and set it to fill. Blow into the rubber tube again and observe if the pressure changes cause the washer to stop filling and transition to the wash cycle. If so, the switch is good. If not, the switch is bad and needs to be replaced by a technician.

    Pressure Tube

    • Blow air into the pressure tube to make sure it’s not clogged. You don’t need to remove the tube from your washer; just detach it from the switch. If any resistance is felt, the tube may be clogged. This clog prevents air pressure from triggering the pressure switch to stop filling, which in turn causes water to overflow the tube. Remove the tube from the washer and run it under warm water to clear the obstruction.


    • Though rare, it’s possible for water to come out of an overflow tube if the washer’s drain clogs and water backs up into the washtub. Because water enters the tub at the same rate it enters the tube, both components are affected equally by draining problems. Contact GE to schedule a service appointment if your washer isn’t draining correctly.

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