Fix a Slow Filling Washing Machine

These simple fixes will solve the problem 95 percent of the time

If your clothes washer doesn't fill or fills slowly, check the check the fill valve screen or replace the fill valve. Both are simple fixes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Fixes for a slow-filling washing machine

Washing clothes isn't much fun to begin with. But waiting hours for the tub to fill sure doesn't help matters any. If water trickles into your washer, or if you're not getting any water, there's a 95 percent chance the fill valve screens are plugged or the valve is bad. It's so easy and cheap to clean screens and replace the valve that even if they don't solve the problem, you're only out about $20 and a few minutes, and your washer will probably fill faster anyway.

Here's a quick way to pinpoint the problem:

  • Turn the timer slightly to start the fill cycle, and listen closely. If you hear buzzing but very little water is entering the machine, chances are good the fill valve or screens are plugged up. Photos 1 - 4 illustrate the repair procedure.
  • If you hear nothing and aren't getting any water, the electrical part of the fill valve could be broken, or the problem could be in the timer or another electrical component. Without getting into electrical diagnostics, you can still check the fill valve by removing it and taking it to an appliance parts dealer for testing. If the valve is bad, buy a replacement. Otherwise, put it back in and call an appliance repair person.

We're repairing a belt-drive Kenmore washer. Repair procedures are slightly different for other washers. Here's a guide to what you'll find:

  • A large cover plate on the back of the washer (Photo 2) indicates a belt-drive machine. The valve must be removed as shown in the photos.
  • If instead of a large cover plate you find a small cover plate around the valve itself, you most likely have a direct-drive machine. The valve is attached to this small cover plate. Simply remove the cover plate screws to access the valve.
  • Some direct-drive Kenmore and Whirlpool washers have no cover plates. Accessing the fill valve on these machines is a bit more work. You must remove the metal shell that covers the front and sides of the machine to get at the valve.

Heed these words of wisdom before you start:

  • Always unplug the washer before working on it.
  • Close the water valves before removing the hoses. Check the condition of the hoses and replace them if they show any signs of wear. A hose that bursts while you're out of the house will cause a major mess. Always replace the rubber washers at both ends of the hoses.
  • Flush the hoses before you reconnect them to the washer. This will prevent dislodged debris from clogging the inlet valve or screen.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Nut driver