Dishwasher Not Filling With Water

Photo of dishwasher

In this article we will discuss the most common things you should check if you have a dishwasher not filling with water.

Dishwashers today use very little water in the wash cycle. In fact on some brands, if you open the door while it is washing you will see very little water in the base of the tub. You may start to wonder if that's even enough water to wash dishes.

But if you have a dishwasher not filling with water there are some basic items you can check before you call in a serviceman for help. The first thing you should check is to verify that the water supply to the dishwasher has not been turned off. If someone was under the sink servicing the garbage disposal or the plumbing to the sink, it is possible that the valve on the plumbing supply line to the dishwasher has been turned off.

If the water supply is not turned off in the next thing you would want to check and see if your particular model dishwasher has a float in it. A lot of dishwashers have a float that look like a spaceship from outer space located in the base under the lower rack. This float acts as a bobber moving up and down. Normally it keeps pressure on a switch located underneath the dishwasher tub so that the contacts in the switch stay closed. If debris is on the shaft of this float it can get hung up. If that happens it will not go down far enough to allow the switch to supply electricity to the water fill valve on the dishwasher. Most of the time you can pull the float up and look around to see if it has gunk on it. If it does usually all you need to do is wash it out in the kitchen sink and reinstall it in the dishwasher.

If the float looks clean you need to verify that the switch located below it is functioning properly. You can do this by lifting the float up and down listening for the click of the switch. If that seems to be functioning properly, the easiest thing to do next is to check for voltage to the dishwasher fill valve.

Dishwasher fill valves normally operate on 120 Volts AC but as dishwasher manufacturers change the way they do things it is possible that the coil voltage for your dishwasher fill valve might be lower. You will need to refer to the schematic and documentation for your specific model. Once you have your voltmeter in position you can use alligator clips to attach the leads from the voltmeter to the spade terminals on the valve. All you need to do is slide the connector out slightly so that you can connect the alligator clips making sure they do not touch anything or each other. Now turn the dishwasher on and check for voltage at the valve. It is not unusual for a dishwasher to start out in pump out for some time before the control sends voltage to the fill valve, so be patient. If you have the correct voltage at the valve then turn off the electricity to the dishwasher and check the water supply.

The best way to check the water supply is the first turn it off at the source usually located under the sink and remove the line that's attached to the dishwasher fill valve. Next use a bucket or pan and if you have an assistant have them turn the water on under the sink while you watch for water coming out of the supply line. If the supply line is clear with no problems, and the valve is not restricted at the water supply connection point, then most likely you have a defective water valve.

If everything checks out properly and your dishwasher is still not filling with water, it's probably time to call in an appliance service technician. With today's electronic controls and various safety devices calling in a professional is sure to save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.