Why Is My Washing Machine Not Filling With Water, and How Do I Fix It?

Washer woes are no joke. If you realize your washing machine is not filling with water, it’s time to learn how to get the suds flowing again.
Melissa Graham Avatar
A close up of a person opening the door of a washing machine.
Photo: istockphoto.com

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What You Need to Know

  • Some reasons for a washer not filling with water include issues with the lid switch, a kinked hose, clogs, damaged switches, and malfunctioning electronic controls or timers.
  • It’s wise to let an appliance repair professional handle washer issues to avoid damaging the machine further.
  • A home warranty can provide coverage for appliance repairs, including washing machines.

Q: I’ve been trying all day to do my laundry, but my washing machine is not filling with water. Is this something I can repair? What could be causing this issue? And who do I call when my washer won’t fill with water?

A: Whether you have a brand-new washing machine not filling with water or a machine that’s been in your home for years with the same issue, it can be frustrating not to be able to clean your clothes, linens, and towels. When a washer will not fill up with water, several problems could be at play. You could have a faulty lid or water level switch, or your hot and cold water supplies could be turned off or have kinks in the hoses. A clogged water inlet screen or a malfunctioning electronic control could also be the reason a washer isn’t filling with water. No matter what is causing the problem, if you’re asking, “Why is my washing machine not filling up with water?” it may be time to contact one of the best appliance repair services who can save you time and effort by diagnosing and correcting the problem.

Washing machine not filling with water?
Let an appliance repair technician take care of it. Get free, no-commitment project estimates from repair services near you.

1. Make sure the lid is fully closed. If it is, check if the lid switch is working. 

If the lid on a top-loader washer closed properly, the washer likely won’t run. When a washer isn’t filling with water, the user will first want to ensure the lid is fully closed.

If the lid is closed, the next step is to look at the lid switch. This mechanism is a safety measure to prevent the motor circuit from running when the lid is open. When this switch stops working, the washer’s power can’t extend to the water inlet valve. The user may need to see if the lid switch can be activated manually and ensure the switch’s levers aren’t stuck or damaged. Manually activating may solve the issue, and luckily, this is an easy (and affordable) fix that an appliance repair technician can handle quickly.

2. Ensure that the hot and cold water supplies are on and there are no kinks in the hoses. 

If the problem isn’t with the lid or lid switch, the next place to check is the hot and cold water supplies. Since these are typically located behind the washing machine, the user will need to move the machine forward to make sure each supply is turned on. The cold water supply usually has a blue knob, and the hot water supply has a red knob.

If the knobs have been turned off, it’ll be necessary to move the knobs to the “on” position. If the supplies are already on, the user may want to check the hoses to see if any kinks are preventing water from running through the hose and into the washing machine. If they spot a kink or two, they can try to reposition the hose or hoses to remove the kink before testing the flow of the water.

3. Check the water inlet screens for any clogs. 

If the hot and cold water hoses are turned on and are free from any kinks, the next step is to check the inlet screens. The inlet screen is responsible for catching debris, and it could be clogged, preventing water from flowing into the washing machine.

The good news is that this is a simple fix requiring zero tools—just a little time and elbow grease. If the inlet screen is clogged, and that’s why water is not filling the washing machine, the user will first need to turn off the water to the unit and disconnect the hoses from the washer. Then they’ll be able to see the filter screen and remove any particles blocking the flow of water. After cleaning the screen, the hoses can be reattached and the water turned back on.

A technician dressed in blue checks how a washing machine is running.
Photo: istockphoto.com

4. There may be an issue with the selector switch or water level switch. 

When there’s no water flowing into a washing machine, the problem could result from a faulty selector switch or water level switch. If the user can choose the temperature of the water for wash and rinse cycles, the selector switch is what tells the water inlet valve to open the hot and cold inlets and fill the machine. It’s possible to test if this switch is damaged or worn down by unplugging the washer and using its wiring schematic to test the terminals with a multimeter.

Similarly, newer models of washing machines have a sensor that tells them when the water gets to a certain level and forces the machine to stop filling. If the water level switch isn’t working, it could be wrongly telling the machine that the water is at too high a level to fill, even if no water is in the unit.

Both of these issues will require the help of an appliance repair specialist who can inspect the machine and bring the necessary parts and tools to repair it.

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Get free, no-commitment project estimates from repair services near you.

5. The timer or electronic controls could be malfunctioning. 

When the washing machine water is not filling, it may be necessary to check the machine’s timer or electronic controls. The timer and electronic controls are what signal the water inlet valve to open and let water in: specifically, the electrical contacts run by a cam assembly, which is powered by a timer motor. If any of these elements aren’t working correctly, the washing machine won’t receive the signal to fill up the basin with water.

The user can unplug the washer, use the machine’s wiring schematic to the timer’s terminals, and check the terminals with a multimeter to test for continuity. If the washer’s electronic controls are at fault, a service technician will need to look at it. This isn’t a DIY fix since live voltage is involved.

An experienced appliance repair technician can diagnose and fix your washing machine’s problem. 

Turning to an appliance repair technician is the safest and easiest path when someone is wondering, “Why is my washer not filling up with water?” Appliance repair technicians know the ins and outs of every make and model of washing machine on the market and know how to fix a washing machine that’s not filling with water. In some cases, the technician may need to take apart certain pieces of the appliance, and they’ll have the tools and experience to put those pieces back together once the issue has been identified. This takes the time and stress of a DIY project off the owner’s plate. Plus, a professional’s work is often under warranty, so the owner can give them a call if issues arise after they’ve fixed the washing machine.

It might also be worthwhile to look into getting a policy from one of the best home warranty companies (such as American Home Shield or AFC Home Club). A policy can help alleviate the high cost of appliance repairs in the long term.