How To Repair A Dishwasher That Won’t Fill With Water

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  • Rated as EASY
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Water Inlet Valve

A lot of the time, a dishwasher that isn’t getting water is one that has a broken water inlet valve. This valve, usually found in the front part of the dishwasher behind the bottom access panel, has a hose bringing it water from the household line, and a hose coming out of it to the tub of the dishwasher. Make sure the water can come into the valve with no obstructions and with sufficient water pressure. Use a multi-meter to check the solenoid on the valve to see whether the valve has the electrical continuity to open. See if there is power coming into the valve during the part of the cycle when the tub is filling. If there’s hot water coming in and the valve is properly wired and supplied with energy, but it’s still not working, then it needs replacement. If no power comes to the valve, use a multi-meter to see if the chain of electrical connection has gotten broken at the float switch, at the timer/electronic control, or at the door switch.


Just as your toilet tank does, your dishwasher has a float to keep it from overfilling. When the water in the tub of your dishwasher reaches the level of the heater in the base of the tub, the float triggers the float switch, which in turn closes the water inlet valve. So if your dishwasher is not filling, it could be failing to get a signal from the float, or from the float switch directly under the float. Make sure that when you gently lift the float it triggers the float switch, and make sure the tub bottom is free of crud or utensils impeding the rise of the float.

Float Switch

Under the float, in the bottom of the dishwasher tub, is the float switch that signals to the water inlet. If that switch doesn’t have connectivity or is otherwise broken, the water inlet valve may not open, and you would not get water flowing into the dishwasher. Unplug the dishwasher and check that the float arm mechanically triggers the float switch when the float has been raised to the height of the top of the water heater. Make sure the wires coming out of the float switch haven’t gotten loose. You can pull the wires out and use a multi-meter to check continuity of the float switch.

Door Switch

Your dishwasher is designed to start only once the door latch is closed. When the latch closes properly, the latch switches set the dishwasher controls in motion to start the machine. So a dishwasher that will not fill might be one with a malfunctioning latch, or latch switch. First, unplug the dishwasher. Then open the door and unscrew the inner door panel. When you remove that panel, you’ll see the latch assembly at the top of the door. Insert the catch into the latch assembly by hand and watch to see if closing the latch activates both the two switches. If so, use a multi-meter to check for continuity in the two switches.

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