Why is there a ping pong ball in the outlet of the bowl of my front load washing machine ?
When the machine fills for the first time or when the pump chamber is empty after the filter cover has been removed and replaced, water runs down into the tub and the tub outlet hose and fills the outlet hose and the pump chamber. Water also rises up in the drain hose. (Archimedes principle of water finding it's own level) This water below the outer bowl causes the ping pong ball in the top of the tub outlet hose to rise up (float) and so block off the outlet from the bowl.
Water continues to fill the machine until the sensor for water level stops the fill and actuates the cycle to begin washing. When this wash water containing detergent drains out when the wash part of the cycle is finished, the pump action sucks the ping pong ball down and allows evacuation of the wash water.
When the drain pump stops after the drain out time frame expires, there still remains some water in the drain hose. This water falls back (Archimedes again) causing the ping pong ball to rise up and block off the tub outlet in preparation for the next fill.
Here is the punch line. When this and subsequent fills occur, the ball is up and holds water in the bowl, so the water intake is litres less than it would otherwise be if the ball were not there. ( Water saver) This saves on the amount of detergent required too as less detergent is required with less water.. Hence the title 'The Suds Saver Ball'
NB. The presence of this ball, having a valve action, does also prevent water from the drain coming back into the machine. This would only happen if the outlet hose was connected to a sealed spigot or similar. When placed in a open pipe, there would not be any risk of water from the drain entering the machine.
Also, as mentioned earlier, when the filter cover of the pump chamber is removed for maintenance reasons, all of the water will run out of the pump chamber and the outlet hose. (See my topic about cleaning the pump trap..... ) The next fill will set the ball in the position to save suds and water for subsequent fills.
If the machine has evacuation problems that are not easily discovered, this 'ping pong ball' must be checked for 'sticking' ( by a qualified person only) as it may prevent efficient water evacuation should it become blocked with greases caused by poor washing habits. Ask Tony.
©Copyright Tony Pike 1/1/2011