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Clothes Washer Doesn’t Fill Correctly

Is your washing machine failing to fill properly?

washing machine fill

Be sure the water supply valve is open; this lever valve is closed when the lever is down.

If your washer doesn’t fill properly, something is keeping water from entering the machine, or the washer is draining before the tub fills to the desired amount.

Set the controls to the first wash cycle, and then try each water temperature setting. If the hot water setting works but cold doesn’t or vice versa:

1Be sure both the hot and cold water supply valves or faucets are turned on. See the illustration at right if your washer is served by lever-style water supply valves.

2Be sure the supply hoses are not kinked. A kinked hose will block the free flow of water.

3Turn off the valves or faucets, then unscrew the hoses from the faucets, and drain them into a bucket. Hold the bucket under the faucets, and test them to make sure they both work and have plenty of pressure.

4 Clean the filter screens just inside the supply hoses (if your supply hoses have screens)—they may be clogged. To do this, pry out the screens with a small flat screwdriver (this can be difficult because the screens may be inside the valves). Flush the screens under running water, and then put them back into the hoses. If the screens look defective, replace them. Then screw the hoses back onto the valves. Be careful not to cross-thread the hose threads when screwing them back onto the valves. Note: In some cases, the screens are located behind an access panel on the washing machine.

5If the above steps do not solve the problem, call an appliance repair person.

Other Washing Machine Fill Problems

If both hot and cold water seem to be entering the washer with good pressure, water may be draining out prematurely during the fill cycle through siphoning action. Be sure the drain hose’s connection to the standpipe is at least 34 inches above the floor (otherwise, discuss the problem with a plumber). An air gap between the drain hose and standpipe that prevents backflow is also good to have.

Another reason for the washer not filling may be that the water-level switch, timer, or temperature selector is broken.

If your washer is overfilling, you may have a defective water-inlet valve or water-level switch.

A broken water-inlet valve will often cause water to leak into the clothes tub. A faulty water-level switch cannot detect the correct water level in the tub and signal the water to turn off, resulting in overflow.

These repairs are best handled by an appliance repair person.

For other washing machine repairs, see Washing Machine Troubleshooting & Repairs.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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