What is a Washing Machine Check Valve?

A washer check valve, located in the drain pump, allows water to flow only from the washing machine to the drain, preventing backflow and ensuring discharged water does not re-enter the machine.

A washer check valve, positioned in the drain pump of a washing machine, ensures that once water exits, it cannot flow back into the machine. This prevents contamination of the wash cycle by dirty water, supporting the efficient and safe operation of the washing machine without compromising the water quality.


  • The washing machine check valve prevents contaminated water from flowing back into the machine, ensuring clean and safe operation.
  • Regular maintenance and professional servicing of the check valve are essential to avoid operational malfunctions and maintain appliance hygiene.
  • Recognizing early signs of check valve failure, like drainage issues or visible leaks, is crucial for timely repairs to protect your washing machine's functionality.

Preventing Contamination in Washing Machines

The washing machine check valve ensures that once water exits the machine, it does not flow back into it. This valve acts as a barrier against the contamination that could be caused by backflow, enhancing the operational integrity and longevity of the appliance.

One-Way Flow

The check valve is designed to allow a one-way flow of water, which helps maintain the washer's efficiency and cleanliness:

  • Permits water to exit the washing machine smoothly during the drain cycle.
  • Closes immediately if water attempts to flow backward, preventing any returned soiled water.

Health and Safety

By preventing the backflow of used water, the check valve contributes to the overall safety of the washing machine's operation:

  • Stops dirty water containing soap residue, dirt, and bacteria from re-entering the wash cycle.
  • Protects the machine from potential malfunctions and hygiene issues associated with backflow.

Installation Location and Process

Understanding the installation location and process of a washing machine check valve is important for effective maintenance and troubleshooting. The check valve is typically positioned in or near the drain pump, a critical area for managing water flow out of the machine.

Location of the Check Valve

The check valve's strategic placement helps manage the drainage effectively:

  • Located within the drainage assembly, the check valve is often directly attached to or part of the drain pump.
  • This placement ensures that the check valve can efficiently prevent any backflow of water into the washing machine or its internal components.

Installation Process

Installing a check valve involves several steps that may vary by the make and model of the washing machine:

  • Installation generally starts with accessing the drain pump area, which may require removing the back or bottom panel of the washing machine.
  • The check valve is then either fitted onto the pump outlet or integrated within the pump assembly, depending on the design.
  • Proper installation is crucial and typically involves securing the valve with clamps or screws to ensure a tight fit that prevents leaks and operational malfunctions.

Understanding these aspects of the check valve helps in both initial installation and any necessary replacement, ensuring that the washing machine continues to operate efficiently and safely.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Regular maintenance and timely troubleshooting are key to ensuring the long-term functionality and efficiency of your washer check valve. Proper care helps prevent issues such as backflow, leakage, or blockage, which can affect the washing machine's performance and hygiene.

Regular Inspections

Frequent inspections of the check valve are important to maintain its operation:

  • Check the valve periodically for any signs of wear or damage that could affect its function.
  • Look for leakage or blockage that might compromise the valve's ability to prevent backflow.

Professional Servicing

Enlisting a professional for servicing ensures your check valve is in optimal condition:

  • If you're uncertain about the check valve's condition, have a professional plumber or appliance technician inspect it.
  • Replacement of the check valve should be done by professionals to ensure proper installation and functionality.

Avoid DIY Repairs

Handling repairs or replacements of the check valve without professional help is not recommended:

  • The technical nature of the valve's function in preventing backflow requires expert handling.
  • Engage professional services to ensure that repairs are done safely and effectively, maintaining the integrity of the washing machine's system.

Recognizing Signs of Failure

Identifying early signs of check valve failure helps prevent larger issues that could impair the function of your washing machine. Awareness of these signs enables timely intervention to maintain the efficiency and safety of your appliance.

Washer Not Draining

A malfunctioning check valve may cause drainage problems:

  • If the washing machine fails to drain properly, it might be an indication that the check valve is blocked or not functioning as intended.
  • Check for any unusual delays or incomplete draining during cycles, which can suggest a fault in the check valve.

Visible Leaks or Damage

Detecting physical signs of wear or damage can indicate check valve issues:

  • Inspect the area around the pump for any signs of leakage, which could point to a compromised check valve.
  • Look for visible damage to the valve itself, such as cracks or breakage, which requires immediate attention to prevent operational failures.

The washing machine check valve is vital for preventing the backflow of used water into the machine, ensuring efficient operation and hygiene. Performing regular maintenance and being alert to signs of malfunction are key to the proper functioning of your washing machine. If you have concerns about your washing machine's check valve or need professional assistance, Sears Home Services is ready to help. Our experienced technicians provide expert repair and maintenance services, ensuring your appliance operates smoothly. Schedule your washer repair or routine maintenance today, and take a proactive step towards maintaining your washing machine's performance.

Schedule your washer repair now!

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

Call (802) 552-4364 or schedule online now.

Was this content helpful?

Repair Washer Resources

Laundry day just got a little brighter: Enjoying simple chores with a smile.

Discover how to unclog your washer's drain hose with our step-by-step guide. Say goodbye to frustrating clogs with our expert tips!

Washer won't fill image

Troubleshooting tips for a washing machine not filling with water. Check the lid, water supply, hoses, and water inlet screens for potential issues.

Image of homeowner dealing with a washer failure.

Dealing with a malfunctioning washer can be a hassle, but with the right approach, repairs can be straightforward.

How To Fix Your Washer When It Won’t Stop Filling With Water

Dealing with a washing machine that won't stop filling with water can be a frustrating experience.

Related Glossary

A washing machine pedestal is a platform that raises the washer off the ground, providing easier access to the appliances and often includes additional storage space such as drawers.

A washer tub is the interior part of a washing machine where clothes are placed for washing, typically made of stainless steel, plastic, or porcelain-coated metal, designed to hold water and withstand the agitation or spinning during the wash cycle.

Fabric softener is a laundry additive used to soften and freshen clothing, reduce static cling, and make fabrics feel smoother.

A washer agitator is a spindle located in the center of the washing machine's drum, which twists back and forth to move clothes through the water and detergent, aiding in the removal of dirt and stains.