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How to Fix a Washing Machine That Won't Fill

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Written by mjmetz   



Do you have a washing machine that takes forever to fill?  Does the hot or cold water pour in at barely a trickle? This is a very common washing machine problem. If you have a little mechanical aptitude you can fix this yourself and save yourself a $150-200 appliance repair bill.

1.  First, shut off the water at the valves in the wall behind the washer. This may be difficult if they are old and corroded. If you can't get them to turn all the way off you may need to turn off the water to the entire house.

2.  Once you have got the water shut off you remove the hoses from their connections at the valves and from the back of the washing machine. You'll need to push the washer out 2-3 feet to do this. UNPLUG the washing machine from the electric outlet as well, no need to chance getting a shock! Inspect and clean these hoses making sure they are in good shape. It is possible that they will have small screens in them that are full of mineral deposits and other gunk. If this is the case clean all that stuff out and hook things back up and you may have solved your problem. If the hoses are in bad shape you should replace them. You can get them at any 'big box' store or at a hardware store.

3.  More than likely you will join me here at step 3. The problem usually isn't the hoses. Take a look at the back of the washing machine where the hoses were connected. The connectors should have little metal screens in them. Are they full of mineral deposits and gunk? If they are, clean them out after removing them carefully or knock that stuff out with a toothpick. If there was a LOT of this stuff you may have solved your problem, so you may want to hook things up and try again.

4.  I won't be surprised if you join me here at step 4. It isn't usually the gunk in the little screens in the connectors either. It's usually a very simple control valve that has gone kaput. That's it pictured below. The plastic parts are the connectors that stick out of the back of the washing machine and the rest of the device controls the water flow.

5.  You are pretty much at the point of no return now. If you've come this far and have some pretty good mechanical aptitude you are going to be able to fix this for $20-$40 and another hour of your time. The other choices are 1)Appliance repair service call, could be $150-$200 and 2) buy new washer $200-300. If the washer is old at all, which I bet it is and you don't want to proceed the best plan might be just buying a new washer.

6.  If you're here at step 6 with me I'll assume you are a diehard like me and will fix this if it doesn't kill you first. The rest is not bad. There are quite a few different ways of getting into washing machines to get to this valve. If it looks easy, like there is an access panel specifically for this component, then open it up and unhook the valve and pull it out. Otherwise, I'm going to direct you to the web site www.uncleharry.com. This web site has instructions for getting access to the inside of many different types of washing machines. It's just not possible for me to list all that info here.

7.  Ok, so I'm assuming that Uncle Harry has instructed you on how to get into your washing machine and you've removed the old control valve. You might have even bought the replacement part while you were there, as Uncle Harry has a pretty good parts store too. If not, hit Ebay with the part number from the valve. There are several good parts stores that sell these types of components that list on Ebay regularly.

8.  Now that you have the replacement part, simply hook it up reversing your disassembly steps. Nothing to it, a couple screws, water hose and clamp, and 2 electrical connections. Hook your water connections back up, turn on the water valve, plug it in and you are ready to go.

9.  I bet you say something like 'Wow I've never seen the water fill that fast!' (Everyone Does)

Tips & Warnings

If the water valves in the wall behind the washing machine are in bad shape you may want to schedule a plumber visit to get them replaced or do it yourself. Preventive maintenance does pay off, and this is usually a very neglected area.

TURN OFF THE WATER AND UNPLUG THE MACHINE BEFORE WORKING ON IT!

Check out another of my DIY articles here: How to Keep Water Off a Pool Cover






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