What can be wrong when a Whirlpool washer will not fill with water?

May 22, 17 • DIY Tips14 Comments

Whirlpool washers start the wash cycle by filling with water.

Nothing happens when the water does not flow and the problem can be one of several things. First, a quick explanation of why we care about the water level switch when the washer is not filling and then I will detail the basic steps I use to troubleshoot any washer that will not fill.

The function of a water level switch on a Whirlpool washer. 

The water level switch controls the power going to the water inlet valve. Electrical power is routed from the timer through the water level switch to the water inlet valve.  When the correct water level is reached in the tub, the water level switch will remove power from the water inlet valve and direct it to the motor. This action ends the fill cycle and begins the agitation phase. Specific models may have more components in the circuit, but this is the basic operation.

Troubleshooting steps I use to identify the problem.

These steps apply to the most common washers.  Upscale models may have additional components in the circuit (such as thermistors and water valves with more than two solenoids), but these basic steps can serve as a starting point.

  1. Select different water temperatures.
    1. If the water flows on one temperature selection and not another.
      1. Disconnect the water hoses at the machine and test by running water through each hose into the drain.
      2. Inspect the sediment screens in the inlet of the water valve and clean any sediment that is blocking the flow.
      3. If suspected flow problem is corrected, reconnect hoses and go back to step 1, otherwise, go to step 3 “Test the Whirlpool washer inlet valve” (skip step 2).
    2. If there no water flow on any selection go to step 2 below picture.Pressure switch
  1. Remove and test the Whirlpool washer water level switch (picture above) also known as a pressure switch. Use a multi-meter to test for continuity (connection) between the terminals. Alternatively, the pressure switch can be taken to the nearest U-FIX-IT store for free testing.
    1. Two of the three terminals should show continuity between them.
    2. Blow gently on the hose connection of the pressure switch until you hear a click.
      1. The two terminals that were showing continuity should now show open until the pressure is released.
      2. The common terminal should now show continuity to the third terminal until the pressure is released.
      3. Water level switch is bad if it fails to test as described in the previous two steps, otherwise, go to step 3.Testing water valve
  1. Test the Whirlpool washer water inlet valve or remove the water valve and take it to the nearest U-FIX-IT store for free testing.
    1. Set the water temperature to warm.
    2. Using a multimeter check that there is 110 volts present at one of the solenoid coils on the water valve.
      1. If 110 volts is present at the coil and no water is flowing through the valve then water valve is bad.
      2. If 110 volts is not present at any solenoid then use the schematic wiring diagram to work back through the circuit until the lost voltage is found.

If these steps for identifying the common Whirlpool washer fill problems do not isolate the problem, locate the wiring diagram for your washer and call the nearest U-FIX-IT store for personalized help in locating the problem.

More From Jim Plummer

Jim is an ex-Air Force pilot and a business school graduate of University of Texas at Austin. He has been in the appliance parts business since 1975.

Leave a Reply

*

*

14 Responses to “What can be wrong when a Whirlpool washer will not fill with water?”

  1. India Bryant says:

    I have a cabrio 5000 and its not filling up with water when trying to wash.

    • Jim Plummer says:

      India,
      Have you tried different temperature settings and different water level settings on your Whirlpool Cabrio washer?

      If changing the water level causes the water to flow, then I would look at the water level switch. You can remove the water level switch and take it to the nearest U-FIX-IT Appliance Parts store for free testing.

      If changing the fill temperature causes the water to flow then:
      1. I would disconnect the fill hoses at washer.
      2. Inspect and clean the screens at the inlet of fill valve.
      3. Run water through the hoses to insure good flow.

      If the screens are clean and the water flow through the hoses is good. Then:
      1. Check for 120 volts going to the water inlet valve solenoid.
      2. If 120 volts are present at either (or both) solenoid and water is not flowing, I would replace the inlet valve.
      3. If the 120 volts is not present at either solenoid then I would test the water level switch.

      Note: you can bring both the water inlet valve and the water level switch to the nearest U-FIX-IT Appliance Parts store for free testing. For free personalized diagnosis assistance call 817 472-7740.

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Jim

  2. Shelvia Betina Rivera says:

    My washing machine fills up,the wash light stays on,but does not wash,then it drains the water back out.My washing machine was working fine,until i had to move to another state.i had to put my machine on a movers truck.i dont know if that had anything to do with my washing machine not working properly.??

    • Jim Plummer says:

      Shelvia,

      I need a model number before I can offer any meaningful suggestions. You might try setting the water level or load size to a different setting and see if you get the same result. When the wash cycle starts on a top load washer, the water level switch directs power to the water valve until the selected level is reached then power is redirected from the water valve to the motor. We can test the water level switch for free if you will remove it from the washer and take it to your nearest U-FIX-IT Appliance Parts store. For immediate help call 817 472-7740 for personalized diagnosis assistance. Thank you for your inquiry.

      Jim

  3. Kate Rogerson says:

    I have a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washer that has started to skip the “fill” step for the rinse cycle, begins agitating without any clean water and will not allow you to move to a additional rinse cycle until it has “spun out” the water that never went in. If I let it spin, it will allow a second rinse and fill just fine. But if I let a load run from start to end without checking it at the rinse stage, the loads are not getting water to rinse. A YouTube video suggested 2 sensors in the panel for wash and Rinse, but as it seems to work if you set it to a additional rinse I’m not sure that’s the problem… any suggestions?

    • Jim Plummer says:

      Kate,
      Inconsistent or intermittent malfunctions are often the most difficult to trouble shoot. The water level switch is the sensor the washer uses to “know” when the tub has filled to the proper level. The water level switch sends power to the inlet water valve to fill the tub with water. The water level switch cuts off the power to the inlet water valve when the tub is filled and, simultaneously, redirects the power to the motor for the agitate cycle.

      There are two possibilities that come to my mind. 1st is water being left in the tub from an incomplete pump out? If this is the case, then I would look to the pump, drain hose or “out of balance” condition for the malfunction.

      If residual water is not being left in your Whirlpool Ultimate Care II washer at the end of the pump out cycle, then the simple solution would be to say the water level switch is bad, but that does not account for the washer filling for the rinse when 2 rinses are selected and not filling when 1 rinse is selected. I would check the hose connecting the water level switch to the tub for a partial obstruction or pinch which could cause a delay in the pressure escaping from the hose and, in turn, delaying the reset of the water level switch. With the tub empty of water, I would disconnect the hose from the water level switch, air should move freely through the hose with a gentle pressure. If the hose is clear, then I would suspect it is a bad water level switch.

      For personalized help in trouble shooting your washer call 817 472-7740 and we will help you work through your symptoms to a solution. Thank you for your inquiry.

      Jim

  4. David pope says:

    Loaded my Whirlpool washer this morning for regular cycle, water only filled for a light cycle…Cut it off and moved the setting up to heavy cycle, washing machine continued to function with water foe a light cycle…what could be wrong…previously when I thought I needed to more water, I would move it up a cycle, the water would fill…Not this time…Had to add water….Pain in the neck…

    • Jim Plummer says:

      David,

      I agree, it is no fun to have to manually add water to the washer. More information is needed to give meaningful assistance. Please call 817 472-7740 with your model number for free personalized diagnosis assistance. Thank you for your call.

      Jim

  5. Piney says:

    I have a stackable whirlpool washer dryer. Even on large loads only filling with 6 inches of water. King size sheets don’t even get wet everywhere! Valves are checked. Any suggestions? Model is:WET3300xq2

    • Jim Plummer says:

      Piney,

      The water level should be controlled by the water level switch (pressure switch). Your machine shows to have a 3 level switch which is located behind the third knob from the left. If all three positions result in the same low fill, I would replace the pressure switch. Call 817 472-7740 or the U-FIX-IT store nearest you for free personalized troubleshooting assistance.

      Jim

  6. Louis Schweichler says:

    I have a Whirlpool Washer, Stock No: LSR7233E , Model No: LSR7233E00 , Serial No: CF4656403.

    Cold water has just begun to fill very slowly. Water hose screens are clean, ie no blockage. Removed hoses from the back of the machine, and placed output side of hoses in Washer tub, then opened the water valves at the wall, both had plenty of water and pressure flowing thru the hoses. I then connected the Cold water supply hose to the HOT WATER INLET connection, and the Hot Water supply hose to the COLD WATER connection. Now the Washer’s HOT water is filling normally, and the Washer’s Cold Water is slow to fill. Diagnosis, the cold water inlet valve is faulty.

    Please send me a quote for a new WATER INLET VALVE ASSEMBLY for the above Whirlpool Washer via email or .

    Regards,
    Lou Schweichler
    Mansfield TX
    817-905-5653 (C)

    • Jim Plummer says:

      Lou,
      I notice you have visited our Arlington store and purchased the water valve you needed while waiting for my reply. Your troubleshooting process will probably inspire others with the same symptoms to use your test. Thank you for your inquiry and thank you for your business.
      Jim

  7. Sara Perez says:

    My Whirlpool washer starts agitation with no water in tub.

    • Jim Plummer says:

      Sara,
      I need more information before I can offer help. Call the U-FIX-IT Store nearest you (or 817 472-7740) with the model number and we will be happy to give you free personalized assistance in troubleshooting your washer. Thank you for your inquiry.
      Jim