A dishwasher has several parts (electrical and mechanical) that must work flawlessly to ensure that it is working as designed. If your dishwasher is not filling with water, about 5 of these parts are usually the culprit.
A dishwasher that is not filling with water is often caused by a faulty water inlet valve, float switch or door switch. It could also be caused by a clogged water supply hose or inlet valve screen.
A jammed float assembly or closed water shut off valve can also prevent the dishwasher from getting water.
It is important to rigorously troubleshoot your dishwasher whenever you notice that it is not getting water. Often, most people assume that the water inlet valve is the faulty part and rush to replace it, only to find that the problem is not fixed.
To fix a dishwasher that is not filling with water, first ensure that the water shut off valve is fully opened, and that there is nothing blocking/jamming the float assembly. Make sure that the . Check for continuity in the air inlet valve, float and door switch, and replace the faulty part.
How to Fix It
Although dishwashers are made by different manufacturers, they work almost the same way and have similar parts. Whether you have a Bosch, Samsung, Beko or any other type of dishwasher, the process to fix them is the same.
Here is how to fix a dishwasher that won’t fill with water:
1. Unclog or Replace the Water Supply Hose
A dish washer water supply hose is the hose connecting the water inlet valve to the water shut off valve underneath the kitchen sink. There are several hoses under the kitchen sink so take your time to trace which one supplies water to the dishwasher.
Once you have traced the hose, the first thing you need to do is check if the shut off valve is open. These valves are usually turned off when you are going out on vacation or performing repairs. Sometimes people want to shut off valve the kitchen faucet valve but turn off the dishwasher one, and don’t always turn it back it on.
An open shut off valve should be turned all the counterclockwise. If the valve is closed then your dishwasher will not be getting any water.
When you have confirmed that the shut off valve is opened and yet there is not water filling the dishwasher, go ahead and confirm if the hose is supplying the inlet valve with water. In order for you to do that, you will need to gain access to the water inlet valve.
The dishwasher water inlet valve is located behind the bottom access panel. You will therefore need to remove this panel, which is usually held in place using 2 screws. This is how to do it:
- Turn off water to the dishwasher at the shut off valve by turning in clockwise all the way.
- Remove the bottom access panel using a screwdriver or drill machine and place it away. Some people prefer to remove the dishwasher access door as well to have a enough working space. If you are not comfortable doing it then don’t do it.
- Place a towel or rag underneath the hose-water inlet valve connection to absorb water still trapped in the hose.
- Disconnect the hose from the water inlet valve using an adjustable wrench.
- Once the hose is out, pull it out as much as possible and put its end inside a bucket or bowl.
- Turn on the water shut off valve, and check if water is flowing out of the hose into the bucket.
- If water is flowing from the hose to the bucket without a problem then the hose is not the problem. On the other hand, if no water is flowing out of the hose then it is clogged.
Debris and mineral deposits from the water source can embed inside the hose, restricting the free flow of water. Unclogging the hose is usually easy and enough to fix the problem.
Some hoses have a check valve inside which prevents water from flowing back to the source. A clogged hose with a check valve will almost always need to be replaced.
- Disconnect the hose from the shut off valve and pull it out.
- Just to be sure that the shut off valve is not the problem, turn it on and if water gashes out close it immediately. If water does not flow out then the shut off valve is defective and you will need to replace it.
- If the shut off valve is working fine but no water is reaching the dishwasher inlet valve, the hose is clogged. To unclog it, put one of its ends in your mouth and blow air through it to dislodge the clog.
- Another way to unclog the hose is to force a wire through it, or blow in air using an air compressor.
- When you cannot unclog the hose go ahead and replace it. Look for a part number on it and order a matching replacement.
2. Unclog or Replace the Water Inlet Valve
The main reason why your dishwasher may not be filling with water is due to clogging of its water inlet valve screen by debris or minerals deposits present in the water. Removing and cleaning the screen is usually enough to fix the problem.
If the screen is clean and still water is not filling the dishwasher then you will need to replace it. Before that you may however want to check for electrical continuity on its solenoid.
How to Unclog a Dishwasher Water Inlet Valve Screen
- Unplug or turn off power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker. Opening the dishwasher with power still on can lead to electrical shock.
- Turn off water supply to the dishwasher.
- If you haven’t already, remove the bottom access panel to expose the inlet valve.
- Place a towel/rag under the valve to catch any dripping water.
- Disconnect the water supply hose. You can remove the valve screen with the hose still attached but removing it makes your work easier.
- Remove the bracket from the frame. The inlet valve is held in place by a metal bracket using some screws. Remove the screws attaching the bracket to the frame of the dishwasher.
- Pull out the power connection. You will see 2 electrical wires which supply the valve with power. Pull them out.
- Disconnect the water outlet hose. This is the hose that carries water out of valve and into the tub. It is connected to the valve using a metal clamp. Use a pair of pliers to release the clamp and pull out the hose.
- Once the water outlet hose is out, the valve will be free and all you have to do is pull it out.
- Remove the brass elbow, from which the water supply hose was connected using a wrench. Please note that this elbow fitting can be plastic in some dishwasher models.
- With the brass elbow out, you can now see the water screen. Check if it is clogged or not. Pull the screen out using a pair of pliers.
- Clean the screen in a sink faucet to remove all the debris.
- Check for electrical continuity in the valve. Take a multimeter and set the dial to resistance. Bring the 2 prongs together and set it to zero. Hold the 2 prongs with both hands and make a contact with the valve connections. If you see a figure of more that 500 ohms then you have good electrical continuity. A zero reading indicates that the valve is faulty and will need to be replaced.
- If the valve screen is not clogged and still there is no continuity you will still need to replace the inlet valve. You may not have to replace the valve if the screen was badly clogged and you have managed to clean it.
How to Replace a Dishwasher Water Inlet Valve.
In order to properly replace a dishwasher water inlet valve, look for the part number or model number on the old valve and buying an exact match. Once you have bought it this is how to install it. This is also the same procedure you would use to reinstall a valve whose screen you have cleaned.
- Connect the brass elbow fitting to the new valve. To help the valve seal properly and prevent leaks, apply 4 wraps of Teflon tape round its threads. Tighten the elbow fitting with a wrench. Teflon tape is always applied in a clockwise direction.
- Thread the water supply line into the brass fitting and tighten it as well.
- Slide the outlet water hose into the valve’s connection and secure it with the clamp.
- Connect the wires to the water inlet valve terminals.
- Align and slide the bracket in the mounting frame slot.
- Secure the bracket on the frame with the screws.
- Put back the bottom access panel and secure it with screws as well.
- Turn on the water and power to the dishwasher and check if the problem has been fixed.
3. Check the Float Assembly
The float assembly consists of the Float switch and the float itself, which looks like an inverted cup at the bottom of the dishwasher. It works the same ways as a toilet float.
When the dishwasher is filling with water, the float moves up gradually as the level of water increases, and when it reaches its set height it triggers a float switch which in turns shuts off the water inlet valve, preventing overflowing.
If something is blocking the float then it will not work as a designed and the dishwasher will not fill with water. To troubleshoot a dishwasher float, start by removing the lower dishrack and placing it away so that that you can access the float.
Check underneath the float if there is anything blocking it like a spoon or even food waste. Lift the float and drop it a few times. A properly functioning float should fall off freely. If it is restricted by something then you need to remove it.
Try to lift off the float and check for debris under it that could be inhibiting its movement. Some floats will however not come off, as they are usually connected to the float switch.
One simple test you can perform to check whether the float switch is good or not is to play with float. Pull the float up and down a few times. If you hear a clicking sound under the float then your switch is getting triggered, which means it is good.
If there is nothing blocking the float and you have properly cleaned underneath it and still the dishwasher is not filling with water, you will need to access the float switch and test it for electrical continuity.
To access the float switch, turn off power to the dishwasher and remove the bottom access panel. Disconnect the float switch and if there is no power continuity replace it.
4. Check the Door Switch
A dishwasher cannot work if the door latch is not closed. If the door latch is not closing as a result of a defective/malfunctioning door switch, the dishwasher will not get any water.
The door switch is usually located behind the door panel, at the top of the door. The video below demonstrates how to replace a dishwasher door switch:
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