Working With Incredible Plumbers

How To Troubleshoot A Washing Machine Inlet Valve

Few home appliances play as vital a role as the washing machine. For that reason, many homeowners are thrown into a panic when their washing machine stops working the way it should. Luckily, many common issues are simple enough to correct without having to hire a professional plumber. This article will teach you how to troubleshoot one common washing machine plumbing issue--a malfunctioning inlet valve.  

The Inlet Valve

The inlet valve, located on the back of the machine, is the component to which the two water hoses attach. It consists of two gates whose purpose is to open up when water needs to flow into the machine. Each gate is controlled by a solenoid, which sends an electrical signal when the washer is turned on. A malfunctioning inlet valve may cause the washer to not fill or run properly, or even to wash at an incorrect water temperature.

The Filter Screens

The first step in troubleshooting an inlet valve is to inspect the filter screens. Before you do this, unplug the washing machine and turn off both of the water supply valves. Now you can detach the two water supply hoses from the inlet valve. Use a flashlight to look into the valve's two hose fittings. Each one should contain its own filter screen. Remove an detritus that may be blocking or clogging the flow of water through the screen.

The Solenoids

If the filter screens don't appear to be the root of the problem, the next step is to check the solenoids. This will require the use of a volt-ohm meter, also known as a multi-meter. This handy tool will allow you to determine whether current is flowing through each of the solenoids the way that it should.

To access the solenoids on your inlet valve, you may need to remove either the top or the back of the machine. Consult your owner's manual for the best way to gain access to this component. The next step will be to disconnect the two wires that are connected to each of the two solenoids. Consider labeling them with a piece of masking tape so as to be able to reconnect them to the appropriate terminals.

The next step is to touch the multi-meter's probes to the terminals on each solenoid, one at a time. Ideally, your multi-meter will register some degree of resistance. If even one of the solenoids does not show resistance, you will need to replace your inlet valve. Consult your owner's guide for the appropriate part number, so as to ensure you end up with a correct fit. Contact a local plumber, such as one from Knights Plumbing & Drain​, for further assistance.