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Washer Won’t Fill? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Advanced Troubleshooting and Repair TIps

Let the Washing Machine Experts at Sears Home Services Repair Your Washer

  1. Resource Center
  2. Repair

Solving the Issue of a Washing Machine Not Filling with Water

8 min readUpdated Apr. 11, 2024Terry MehilosWasher
Washer won't fill image

In this guide, we'll walk you through simple troubleshooting steps to identify common reasons a washer won’t fill. Whether it's a kinked hose, faulty water valve or a broken lid strike, learn when to DIY and when to call in a professional to get your washer back up and running smoothly.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Before calling for repair, check simple issues like the lid being completely closed, water supply faucets being turned on, and hoses being free of kinks.
  • Problems such as clogged water inlet screens, faulty water inlet valves, or broken wires could lead to a washing machine not filling with water.
  • If basic troubleshooting doesn't resolve the issue or if advanced diagnostics reveal complex problems with components, enlist the help of a professional repair service like Sears Home Services.

Why does your top-load washing machine not fill up? Watch our video and get DIY troubleshooting tips to discover if the problem is your washing machine water valves, a kink in the water hose or some type of clog.

Washer Won’t Fill? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Your top-load washing machine obviously needs water to do its job. So when it’s not filling up with water, you know something’s up. Before you call for a washer repair, there are some things you can check very easily that may solve the problem. Our video walks you through the troubleshooting process and shows you step-by-step how to unclog your water inlet screens. But be careful: Do this incorrectly and you could flood your home.

Remember to consult your owner’s manual first for information on how to properly care for your specific appliance.

1. Check that the lid is completely closed.

Washing machines have a safety switch that prevents the washer from operating if the lid is open. If you’re washer isn’t filling with water, make sure the lid is completely closed.

If it is closed, check to see if the strike on the lid is broken, preventing it from making contact with the lid switch. If the strike is broken, it should be replaced.

2. Make sure the hot and cold water supplies are on.

It may seem obvious, but it’s possible the water supply faucet handles aren’t on. Ensure both the hot and cold water faucets are in the “on” position. You may want to move them to “off” and then to “on” again.

3. See if the fill hoses are kinked.

Check the hoses that lead from water supply to the back of the machine and make sure they’re not kinked. If you do find a kink, reposition the hose to remove the kink, and make sure the hoses remain in a position that prevents kinking again.

4. Check if the water inlet screens are clogged.

Sometimes the screens on the water inlet valve become clogged with mineral buildup. Remove the water fill hoses from the inlet valve and use a soft cloth to clean the screens. Don’t remove the screens — this could possibly cause flooding. If the screens are clogged and you can’t get them clean, the water valve should be replaced.

After checking the screens, reinstall the hoses and turn the water back on. Make sure there aren’t any leaks.

Advanced Troubleshooting and Repair TIps

If your washing machine fails to fill with water after basic troubleshooting, there might be underlying issues that warrant repair. One possible culprit could be a faulty water inlet valve. Over time, these valves can become clogged with debris, preventing the free flow of water. A malfunctioning valve requires replacement.

A faulty pressure switch could also cause the washer not fill. The pressure switch monitors the water level in the machine and sends signals to start or stop the filling process. A malfunctioning pressure switch might incorrectly signal that the desired water level has been reached, causing the machine to not fill properly.

Another potential source of the issue could be a malfunctioning control board or timer. If these components fail to communicate the appropriate signals, the washing cycle may not fill or may start to fill but with not enough water to perform a wash cycle.

A blockage or obstruction within the machine's internal hoses or filters could restrict water flow. Sediment buildup or foreign objects might impede the passage of water, necessitating a thorough cleaning or replacement of affected components. In such cases, seeking professional repair services can help diagnose and rectify the underlying problems, ensuring your washing machine resumes its normal functionality.

Here's an advanced DIY troubleshooting video that shows how to systematically check all issues that can prevent a common top-load washer from filling.

Check Water Flow

Check for water flow through the fill hoses by unplugging the washer, turning off the faucets and disconnecting the hoses from the back of the washer. Hold each hose end over a bucket and briefly turn on the faucet. If you don't have any water coming out, check for a clog in the hoses. If the hoses are okay, you could have a problem with your house water supply.

Is water inlet valve working?

Check for continuity through the entire electrical circuit with a multimeter. This will tell us if the cold-water valve is getting the current it needs to open. For safety, always unplug your washer before checking continuity. Shut off the water supply. Pull the plastic end caps off the sides of the control console. Remove the screws at the base of the control console. Pull the control console slightly forward and then swing it up and over the top of the back panel. Unplug the wire harness from the lid switch on the washer's top panel. Release the clips that secure the cabinet to the washer's back panel. Using a slot screwdriver, pry the clips forward to release them. Lift the back of the cabinet and slide it forward to remove it from the washer frame.

Set your multimeter to check resistance. Place one meter probe on the right prong of the power cord and the other on the yellow and red wire connected to the cold water valve. You should see near 0 ohms of resistance, which indicates that you have a clear path for voltage to the cold water valve in the rinse portion of the cycle. Next, check the other side of the circuit. Put your leads on the white wire and the left prong of the outlet cord. You should have continuity through the neutral side of the circuit as well. If you had continuity on both sides of the circuit, then the cold water valve is apparently getting voltage but not opening to allow water flow, meaning you’ll need to replace your water inlet valve.

Check for Broken Wires

If you didn’t have continuity on either wire—on this meter that’s a “1” in the far left corner—then do more checks to find the break in the circuit. If the white wire didn’t have continuity, you’ll need to check each section of wiring until you find the break and repair any broken wires that you find. This video has more information about repairing wires.

Check the Pressure Switch

If the water inlet valve isn’t the problem, the next thing to check is the water level pressure switch. If the yellow/red wire didn't have continuity, check from the power cord to the pressure switch. Place one meter lead on the right prong of the power cord and the other on the pink wire on the water level pressure switch. If you measure no continuity, check between the violet and pink wires on the pressure switch. If you measure no continuity there, then the break must be in the pressure switch. This video will show you how to replace your pressure switch: How to Replace the Water Level Pressure Switch in a Top-Load Washer.

Test for a Bad Timer or Wiring Failure

Now, if you measured continuity between the violet and pink wires, the problem is either the timer or a wiring failure in the circuit. Check for continuity on the violet wire between the timer and the water level pressure switch. If there's no continuity on the violet wire then that wire will need to be repaired. If there is continuity on the violet wire, check between the violet wire and the black wire on the timer. If you measure no continuity, you’ll need to replace the timer because it's not allowing voltage through the circuit. This video will show you how: How to replace the timer in a top-load washer.

If you’ve got continuity through the timer, then you must have a break in wiring harness between the timer and the power cord. Find and repair that break.

Let the Washing Machine Experts at Sears Home Services Repair Your Washer

If you've gotten this far in the troubleshooting and haven't found and fixed the cause of the filling problem, it's likely time to have a professional fix your washing machine.

Sears Home Services stands ready to provide trusted expertise to address even the most complex washing machine issues. With a team of skilled technicians experienced in diagnosing and repairing a wide range of appliance problems, we’ll have your washer working again fast. Schedule a service appointment with a washer repair expert today.

Schedule your washer repair now!

With years of experience, our technicians possess the skills to repair your washer, regardless of the issue.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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