• No Power

  • Water Supply Is Off

  • Clogged Filter Screens

  • Faulty Lid Switch

  • Water Inlet Solenoid Valve Failure

  • Water Level Control / Pressure Switch Failure

  • Faulty Control Board

Washing Machine Has No Water

Washing Machine Has No Water

Bill Gilbert and 3 contributors
Last updated on

An embarrassing moment, but embarrassing is also cheap!

  • First just be sure it's all the way plugged in. Older non-electronic machines can often give no real indication that they are unplugged.
  • Also check the circuit breaker for the laundry outlet. Maybe something tripped the breaker and it wasn't reset.
  • If you find one of these problems see if the machine will operate properly. Try running a spin cycle, if it starts, you know that's good. See if the machine has water now, if not, keep going.

Another embarrassing moment, but sometimes we forget that we or someone else shut the valves off.

  • Look carefully at the valves. Do they have straight lever handles, or do they have round handles?
    • If they have lever handles, make sure the handle is in line with the outlet of the valve. They should only turn one-quarter turn as they are ball valves.
    • Below is a picture of the ball-type valves.
  • If they have round handles they are likely globe, gate, or angle stop valves and will take multiple turns to turn off and on. Try turning them counterclockwise. You may also have valves that have T-type handles like an outdoor faucet. They work the same way.
    • If they will turn keep going until they stop turning. It may be tricky to get this right if your valves are upside down or the handles face to the side or worse still away from you.
    • Angle stop valves pictured below.
      • If they won't turn, try turning them clockwise. If they turn, they were already on, and you can just leave them alone.
        • Tip: It is a good idea to leave this type of valve about 1/8 turn from fully on. It helps to verify the actual valve position because you can just turn it toward open that little bit, and won't be as readily fooled that it is stuck in the off position
  • Check both supply valves using the above procedure to be sure they are both on.
  • You might also want to check to see if the main supply to your home is on, though you would likely have noticed if your water was turned off.
  • Many water heater installations will have valves for both hot and cold at the water heater. Make sure all vales at the water heater are on.
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Ball Stop Valves

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angle stop valves


Your machine will have filter screens located in the water inlet connections of the machine. There will also frequently be screens on the water supply hoses. These screens can become clogged and make the water flow slowly or essentially not at all. If you are on a water well, you will likely have sediment buildup and possibly mineral buildup, especially if you have hard water. Plugged filter screens are a very common cause of slow filling.

To check them do the following:

  • Turn off the water supply (you know how from the step above)
  • Disconnect the hoses at both ends. (Have a rag or a bucket handy to catch the water that is in the hoses.)
  • Look at the filter screens on the hoses, if they are dirty, clean them thoroughly. If the screens are badly corroded, or there are heavy mineral deposits, replace them.
  • Look at the screens on the machine. If they are dirty, clean them. If not go on to the next step.
    • If possible remove metal screens carefully with needle nose pliers for cleaning. Some plastic screens may have a tab to allow you to wiggle them out. Pliers will likely break plastic screens unless you use them very gently. Mineral deposits will be hard to remove
    • You may have to clean some screens on the machine if they aren't removable.
      • You can use an old soft toothbrush and something to gently squirt water at the screens, to rinse away the bits. An old empty dish detergent bottle is handy for this. Mineral deposits may be very hard to remove and you may need to replace the screen.
      • If you see the screens are broken (plastic is prone to this), they should be replaced.
  • If the screens were dirty, and you cleaned all the screens, reconnect all the hoses, turn the water back on, and test the machine. If it works, you're done! If not, go to the next step.

Here's a picture of where the filter screens are on a water inlet valve connection. The small red circles are where the screens are. You can't see the screens very well here.

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If the lid switch on your machine might be keeping it from filling, a quick check is to run a spin-only cycle. If the machine will run then the lid switch is good, and you can go to the next step. If not, you should investigate the switch as it is a common failure point, especially on older machines. Here is a link to helpful information on investigating your lid switch. Information for testing on older or Traditional machines is down that page a bit located here.

Here is a link to a guide for replacing the lid switch on an older machine


The most common problem that prevents your machine from filling with water, is if the solenoid switch fails. You may notice that your machine may fill with only hot or only cold water or seems to fill slowly. This is a sign that the corresponding solenoid coil or even the corresponding valve itself has failed.

  • First try filling the machine with water using cold water only. If nothing happens you know that the cold water solenoid is likely bad or the cold water valve plunger is stuck.
  • Next try filling with hot water only. If nothing happens, the same problems could have happened with the hot valve, or your machine thinks it is already full.
  • If there are problems with filling with either hot or cold, you will need to move your machine so you can open the cabinet (case). Make sure it has been drained first as water is heavy.
  • Next, shut the water off, disconnect the hoses and unplug the machine.
  • Once you have it open, look at the place where the water hoses connect to the machine. There should be a device that has some wires connected to two cylinders on it. The cylinders are solenoid coils and you can use a multimeter set to ohms to check the resistance of the coils.
    • If it's over about 1,500 Ohms. the coil is defective and the valve should be replaced.
    • If it reads very low resistance or zero, the valve is also defective and should be replaced. This condition might also have blown an internal fuse on some models.
  • If the coils look ok, go to the next step.

Here is a picture of a Water Inlet Solenoid Valve. The red arrows point to the contacts that you should check with the multimeter in this picture. The circles at the end of the arrows show how the contacts are paired on each coil.

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Another reason your machine won't fill is because it thinks it is already full. If your machine is still filling slowly at this point you can rule out the water level control, as it won't cause slow fill, only no fill or overfill. The water level control is actually a pressure switch or pressure sensor (newer machines) connected to the washtub or drum.

If the machine refused to fill at all (no water), the water level control may be the problem. On older machines, it will have a knob attached to the control panel for adjusting the water level. This knob works by adjusting how much air pressure is needed to cause the switch to operate. Switches inside supply power to the inlet valve and if they don't do that (like burned out or stuck) you get no water.

On newer machines with electronic control, a sensor coil in the device is connected to the diaphragm to monitor the water level, and the machine sets the level itself according to the cycle settings. These don't often fail, unlike switch contacts.

In either case, if the pressure tube that is connected to the control is plugged, the control can be fooled into thinking the machine is full. Let's start.

  • Look for a device that has a single small rubber hose attached to it that is either on the control panel with a knob attached or is on a bracket inside the machine with no knob.
    • The device on the control panel will likely have two sets of switch contacts. Disconnect it from the machine, and remove it. You can check for continuity on these contacts. If there is none replace the control.
    • The device on the bracket won't have switch contacts. The resistance of the coil is usually about 20 ohms. The best test is a self-diagnostic routing that the machine can run.
  • You should next check the rubber tube that you disconnected by blowing through it gently. if it is clogged, and you can't free the clog by blowing with more force, you can disconnect it from the tub or drum and check the connection for accumulated debris. This is a common problem for no-fill issues.

Here is a picture showing a pressure switch on an older machine. The switch is circled in red, the red arrows point to the small pressure tube that is connected to the washer tub and that sometimes gets clogged. Alongside is a control or sensor from a newer machine with a small tube in blue.

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At this point, no water likely means a failure with the main control board if everything else has checked out. You might want to consult an appliance technician for diagnosis before replacing the board, as it is usually fairly costly.

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