dishwasher not filling with water

Dishwasher Not Filling with Water Troubleshooting Guide

Latest posts by Emmanuel Joseph (see all)

In every home, dishwashers are essential appliances. They help reduce chores, are easy to use, and do an excellent job. When they break down or stop working correctly, doing dishes is much more of a chore than needed.

If your dishwasher isn’t filling with water, it may be because the water is not getting to the dishwasher. It can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, you can do a few things to troubleshoot this problem and get your dishwasher up and running again. 

This guide will walk you through the most common causes of this problem and how to fix them. We will also cover some essential maintenance tips to help prevent this issue from happening. 

Bottom Line Up Front

In my experience, troubleshooting a dishwasher is pretty straightforward. Depending on the dishwasher you have, there might be a little difference. Overall, all dishwashers have the same components and sequence of operation.  There are many possible causes of your dishwasher not filling with water. But remember, it might not be as serious as it seems. I suggest carefully inspecting your dishwasher before making any conclusions.

How Does the Dishwasher Work?

Dishwasher Not Filling with Water Troubleshooting Guide

The dishwasher has a simple job–to clean your dishes. But have you ever wondered how it does that? 

  • The dishwasher starts by spraying water onto your dirty dishes.
  • Then, it pours water from different angles, hitting all the dirt and grime on your dishes. The 140°F temperature of this water destroys nearly all microorganisms.
  • After the initial wash, your dishes will go through a rinse cycle.
  • More hot water will be sprayed onto your dishes during this cycle to remove any soap residue. 
  • Finally, your dishes are dried using either a heating element or a fan. 

Why Your Dishwasher is Not Filling with Water

There are several possible explanations for a dishwasher that isn’t filling with water. The following are the most prevalent causes and how to fix them. 

Problem with the Float Regulator

The float switch tells the dishwasher when to stop and start filling with water. If it’s stuck, the dishwasher will not start filling. 

How to Fix?

To fix this issue, you will need to replace the float switch. 

Here is how:

  • Turn off the power to the dishwasher at the breaker box.
  • Remove the dishwasher’s kick plate by unscrewing the screws.
  • Locate the float switch on the dishwasher’s sump pump. The float switch is a small round device connected to the sump pump with two wires.
  • Disconnect the wires from the float switch.
  • Remove the old float switch by unscrewing it from its mounting bracket.
  • Install the new float switch in the mounting bracket and reconnect the wires.
  • Turn on the power to the dishwasher at the breaker box.
  • Test the dishwasher by running a cycle to see if it fills up with water and overflows. If it does, check the float switch to ensure it is properly installed and functioning.
  • Finally, replace the dishwasher’s kick plate by screwing it back on.
  • Run a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher is working correctly.

Problem with the Inlet Valve

Problem with the Inlet Valve

The inlet valve allows water to flow into the dishwasher. If it’s clogged or damaged, water can’t flow in, and the dishwasher won’t fill. 

How to Fix?

Here’s how to fix this issue:

  • Locate the inlet valve. You will find it near the water supply line.
  • Turn off the water supply to the dishwasher.
  • Disconnect the inlet hose from the inlet valve.
  • Inspect the inlet valve for debris or damage. If there is debris, clean it out with a brush or other objects. If the valve is damaged, it will need replacement with a new one.
  • Reconnect the inlet hose to the inlet valve.
  • Turn on the water supply to the dishwasher.
  • Run a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher is working correctly.

Kinked Supply Line

The water supply line is the hose that brings water to the dishwasher from the house’s primary water supply. If it’s kinked, water can’t flow properly, and the dishwasher won’t fill. 

How to Fix?

Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix:

  • Locate the kink in the water supply line and straighten it out. You may need to use a pair of pliers to do this. 
  • Once the line is straight, you should see an improvement in water flow.
  • You may need to replace the water supply line if the pipe is kinked in multiple places. It is a relatively easy job that you can do yourself. 

How to Replace?

  • Shut off the water to your dishwasher.
  • Disconnect the old water supply line. 
  • Connect the new one.
  • Use a dishwasher-safe hose to avoid damaging the machine’s internal components.

Faulty Control Board

Dishwasher Faulty Control Board

The control board helps tell the dishwasher when to start and stop filling with water. If it’s damaged or malfunctioning, the dishwasher might not fill with water. To fix this, replace the control board.

How to Fix?

  • Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.
  • Remove the access panel to the control board. This is usually located at the top of the dishwasher near the back.
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the control board in place.
  • Carefully disconnect any wires that are attached to the control board. Note where each wire is connected so you can easily reconnect them later.
  • Remove the old control board and replace it with the new one.
  • Reconnect any wires that were disconnected earlier.
  • Replace the access panel and screw it into place.
  • Reconnect the dishwasher to the power source and turn it on. Test the dishwasher to make sure it is working correctly.

The Dishwasher Does Not Connect with the Water Supply

This issue might seem pretty minor, but it’s a common mistake. People sometimes forget to connect the dishwasher to the water supply before turning it on. As a result, the dishwasher won’t fill with water. 

How to Fix?

  • Make sure the water supply line is connected correctly to the dishwasher before you begin troubleshooting. If it is not, turn off the water supply and reconnect the line. 
  • Next, check the pressure of the water supply. If it is too low, you may need to increase the pressure by opening the shut-off valve or adjusting the pressure regulator. 
  • Finally, if none of these solutions work, you may need to call a plumber to help you troubleshoot the problem.

Clogged Fill Tube

parts of a dishwasher

The fill tube allows water to flow from the inlet valve into the dishwasher. If it’s clogged, water can’t flow properly, and the dishwasher won’t fill. 

How to Fix?

Here are some steps to clean the fill tube and get your dishwasher working correctly.

  • Check if the clog is in the fill tube or the water supply line leading to the dishwasher. If the clog is in the fill tube, you’ll need to remove it and clean it.
  • To remove the fill tube, turn off the dishwasher’s water supply. Then disconnect the fill tube from the water inlet valve on the back of the dishwasher.
  • Once the fill tube is disconnected, you can remove and clean it. Use a small brush or tool to clear any debris clogging the tube.
  • After cleaning the fill tube, reconnect it to the water inlet valve.
  • Turn on the water supply. 
  • Test the dishwasher to see if it is filling correctly.

Also, if the clog were in the water supply line leading to the dishwasher, you’d need to shut off the main water supply to your home and disconnect the line from the water inlet valve.

  • Flush out the line with clean water to remove any debris that may be causing the clog.
  • Reconnect the cable to the water inlet valve and turn on the main water supply to your home.
  • Test the dishwasher to see if it is filling correctly.

Kinked Drain Hose

The drain hose is the hose that carries water away from the dishwasher. If it’s kinked, water can’t flow properly, and the dishwasher won’t fill. 

To Fix This

  • Straighten out the drain hose.

Damaged Pump

dishwasher drain Pump

The pump allows water to flow from the inlet valve into the dishwasher. If it’s damaged, water can’t flow properly, and the dishwasher won’t fill. 

How to Fix?

To fix this, you will need to:

  • Disconnect the power to the dishwasher.
  • Remove the dishwasher pump from the unit.
  • Install the new pump in the exact location of the old one.
  • Reconnect the power to the dishwasher.
  • Test the dishwasher to make sure it is working correctly.

Problem with Timer

The timer tells the dishwasher when to start and stop filling with water. If it’s damaged or malfunctioning, the dishwasher might fail to fill with water. 

How to Fix?

  • First, check to see if the timer knob is loose. If it is, tighten it up with a pair of pliers. 

If tightening the knob doesn’t work, we may need to replace the timer knob. 

Another possibility is that the timer itself is defective. In this case, you will need to replace the entire timer. 

How to Replace?

Replacing the dishwasher’s timer is simple and does not require professional skills. All you need is a screwdriver, pliers, and a new timer. 

Follow these steps, and you will have the old timer replaced. 

  • Start by unplugging the dishwasher from the power outlet. 
  • Remove the screws that are holding the control panel in place using a screwdriver. 
  • Carefully remove the control panel and set it aside. 
  • Locate the timer behind the control panel and disconnect the wires from it. 
  • Remove the timer by unscrewing it from its mounting bracket.
  • Install the new timer in the same position and screw it in place.
  • Reconnect the wires to the new timer. 
  • Put the control panel back in place and screw it in. 
  • Plug the dishwasher back in and turn it on. Test the new timer to make sure it is working correctly. 

Note – You must purchase a new timer from an appliance store or online retailer. Follow the instructions that come with the new timer to install it properly.

Damaged Drain Solenoid

Damaged Drain Solenoid

If your dishwasher isn’t filling with water, it could be due to a broken solenoid. This solenoid is responsible for opening and closing the dishwasher’s drain valve. If it’s not working correctly, water can’t enter the dishwasher.

How to Fix?

  • Unplug the dishwasher from the power outlet.
  • Remove the dishwasher’s access panel. It is usually located near the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Locate the drain solenoid. It will be a small cylindrical device with wires attached to it.
  • Disconnect the wires from the drain solenoid.
  • Remove the old drain solenoid and replace it with a new one.
  • Reconnect the wires to the new drain solenoid.
  • Replace the dishwasher’s access panel.
  • Plug the dishwasher back into the power outlet.
  • Your dishwasher should now be functioning correctly.

Helpful Tips for Using Your Dishwasher

Here are some helpful tips to help get the most out of your dishwasher:

  • Pre-rinse your dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. It will help remove any food particles or grease that could clog the dishwasher’s filters and spray nozzles.
  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher. Too many dishes in the machine can prevent proper water and detergent circulation, leading to poorer cleaning results.
  • Use the appropriate amount of detergent. Not using enough detergent won’t get your dishes clean. Using too much detergent can cause Suds build-up in the dishwasher, eventually leading to pump failure.
  • Clean the dishwasher’s filters and spray nozzles regularly. Over time, these components can become clogged with food particles and grease, reducing the dishwasher’s cleaning performance.
  • Run the dishwasher regularly. It will help prevent detergent and water buildup inside the machine, which can lead to corrosion and other problems.

FAQs

Question: What Would Cause a Dishwasher to not Fill with Water?

Answer: A faulty water inlet valve could prevent the dishwasher from receiving water. A faulty water inlet valve is the most common cause of a dishwasher not receiving water. The water inlet valve, which is controlled by a timer or electronic control, is used to fill the dishwasher with the appropriate amount of hot water.

Question: How much Does Replacing an Inlet Valve on a Dishwasher Cost?

Answer: This valve may be damaged if you notice leaks around the dishwasher, even when it is not in use or if your dishwasher fills very slowly or not at all. The replacement of the water inlet valve typically costs between $80 and $125.

Question: How Often Should I Clean My Dishwasher?

Answer: It’s a good idea to clean your dishwasher regularly, about once a month. It will help prevent the build-up of dirt and debris, which can eventually lead to problems with the float switch, inlet hose, or pump. 
To clean your dishwasher, run it through a cycle with a cup of white vinegar added to the detergent compartment. The vinegar will help break down any build-up in the dishwasher and leave it sparkling clean.

Question: Is it Cheaper to Repair or Replace a Dishwasher?

Answer: Overall, more expensive dishwashers are worth repairing over a longer period of time because the cost of a typical repair is a smaller proportion of the dishwasher’s value.

Question: What Should I Do if My Dishwasher isn’t Draining Properly?

Answer: If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be draining correctly, there are a few things you can try. First, check the dishwasher’s drain hose to avoid clogging. Use a plunger or a plumber’s snake to clear the clogged hose. Next, check the dishwasher’s filters and clean them if necessary. 

Question: What Does It Mean When a Dishwasher Hums?

Answer: If you’ve ever noticed your dishwasher making a humming noise but not running water, don’t worry. One possibility is that the dishwasher is in “idle” mode. In this mode, the dishwasher waits for the water to heat up to the correct temperature before beginning the washing cycle. 
It can take a minute or two, so give it time if you immediately notice your dishwasher humming but not running water. The water should eventually kick on and start filling up the tub. 

Dishwasher Not Filling with Water Troubleshooting Guide: Conclusion

Dishwashers are the household appliances many of us take for granted. We assume they will always work how they’re supposed to, but sometimes things go wrong. One of the common problems you will experience with the dishwasher is not filling with water. 

If your dishwasher isn’t filling with water, there are several potential causes. Sometimes it could be as minor as untangling a kinked wire, and other times you might need the help of a technician. Troubleshooting your dishwasher yourself might seem scary, but with the right instruction, you have nothing to worry about.

You might not be able to fix the problem, but you will learn something about your dishwasher. It will also help you understand how it works and how to avoid any future problems. If you’re still experiencing problems after trying these solutions, I advise contacting a trained professional for assistance. 

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