The water inlet valve on your washing machine is the electrical solenoid valve that will open when current is applied to allow the washing machine or washer dryer to fill with water from your household water supply.
While these are the more commonly reported faults, there are others that can be reported when a water valve is faulty and it is not possible to take it as read that if one of the above is reported that it will be a faulty water valve causing the problem. Although, it is the most probable cause of the reported fault.
As is usual with these guides, we will show you how to do the job correctly as professional appliance repairs do but we will stress that you should read this tutorial fully before beginning any repair work on your washing machine or washer dryer.
Unlike many, this tutorial is intended to teach you how to logically diagnose the fault with the washing machine, ensure that you know how to test for the part being faulty and how to replace the part safely. If at any point you feel out of your depth or unsure, call in a professional washing machine repair company and do not put yourself in harms way for a few pounds.
Before starting any work on a washing machine or any other appliance, please ensure that all power to the machine is removed.
There are components to the rear of the machine, such as the mains terminal block where the mains lead connects to and the mains interference filter in many washing machines that are live even when the power is off on the mains switch. You can still get a shock.
It is also highly advisable to keep all children and pets from being in the same room or area where you are repairing your washing machine. Children have a nasty habit of being curious but do not understand the danger of sticking their hands inside a washing machine or any appliance that may be live, pets just don't know any better.
Please make sure that you work safely.
The actual valve only allows water to pass when electrical current is applied to the electrical solenoid or solenoids on the valve. This creates a magnetic field that lifts a small magnet inside the valve body itself which, along with the force of the water from the mains supply, pushes through the valve allowing water to flow into the washing machine.
In order for the valve to work correctly and allow the washing machine to fill with water both the current and water pressure are required. Typically the water pressure required is 1.0 to 10 bar of pressure from your mains supply, anything below that will likely not allow the washing machine to fill with water and anything above it may well cause a leak to occur.
On the image to the right you see a typical double or dual water inlet valve used in many washing machines. The format may differ in your particular washing machine model but the general principal will be the same for almost any fill valve.
We have marked the best place to use the leads of your test meter to check for continuity, that is a simple check to see if there is a circuit or not. If the test with your meter on the water valve solenoid coil reports that there is a circuit then the chances of the valve being faulty diminish greatly.
To test simply place the positive (red spot) and negative (black spot) leads onto the valve coils as indicated and test to see if you have a circuit. If you cannot do this then we would suggest that you ask someone that can or call in a professional to repair your washing machine.
If the meter shows that the solenoid coil is open circuit, i.e. there is no circuit or connection, then the solenoid is faulty and you will need to change the water valve for a new one.
In some cases it is possible to change only the solenoid, such as the one shown to the right, by squeezing the retaining lugs at the top of the coil, popping it off and putting a new one back on. This is handy where the original water valve is no longer available and suchlike but it does involve cannibalising one valve to repair another. This is not really recommended unless you know what you are doing or, there is no other option available.
Ordinarily, although there are other faults that can manifest on a washing machine water valve, it will be the solenoid coil that fails causing one of the faults listed above. Of course you can get a water valve that doesn't close properly and that allows water to seep into the washing machine when the power is off but, generally speaking, these are very reliable mechanical spares that have been around for a long time, so they tend not to break.
The eclectic solenoids however can and do fail and this is the most common point of failure by far when it comes to washing machine and washer dryer water valves.
Although the process can differ slightly from model to model let alone between different makes of washing machine and washer dryer, the principals here will apply to almost all. Only a very few washing machines will differ greatly from the process described here although the mounting points of the water valve, the number and type of connections and so on could be different.
The first step is to pull the washing machine out as all water valves will be mounted on the read of the washing machine.
Now, make sure that there is no power to the washing machine. If you did that already, check it again please.
Next you need to switch off the water supply to the washing machine. Usually this will be done by a valve on the incoming pipe in the cupboard next to the washing machine, just follwo the washing machine fill hose until you get to the actual house pipework. At that point you should see a valve that will allow you to switch off and isolate the washing machine.
Once that's done unscrew the fill hose at the washing machine, it is advisable to have a bucket or suchlike and a few old towels handy as there will be residual water in the fill hose that will come out.
After this is done you should see something like the following on your washing machine.
This is the water inlet valve.
What you see inside is the screen or filter that stops any large particles in the water supply from entering the valve and causing any issues or even a failure of the water valve. These can get clogged up and make the water valve less effective where you have a dirty mains water supply. That filter being clogged can cause a poor fill, slow fill and so on but it wouldn't normally stop the washing machine from filling at all.
At this point, you need to take the lid off the washing machine.
On the other side of what you see in the photograph above you should see something very like below.
What you can see there is the two hoses from two solenoids from the single water connection.
What happens is that one valve opens for the normal washes in the washing machine, the other will open (normally) to operate the pre-wash compartment in the soap dispenser drawer and both open to use fabric conditioner on the final rinse. the flow of water is determined by the force of the water and by the way that the soap dispenser top channels the incoming water.
Next you need to release the water valve to allow you to replace it, in this case as follows.
As you can see, on this particular washing machine, there are two screws that hold the water valve in place, one above the valve and one below it. Simply unscrew these two screws and the water valve will fall free.
There are a number of water valves that are held in by push pins, nuts and all manners of different methods. the trick is to take your time and work it out logically, you should not be required to use much force at all to get a water valve released from its mounting point.
Once this is done it allows you to remove the electrical connections like so.
It is personal preference whether you remove the electrical connections before releasing the water valve from its mounting or vice versa. In essence it makes no difference which way around you do this part.
Now you need to release the how clips and, because the valve is no longer mounted this is often made easier as you can flip it over or lift it up so that you have more space to work with the valve.
In many machines this will be simple spring clips as sown that can be released using a pair of pliers and pulling the clip back although some manufacturers to use ratchet type plastic clips, but the basic principle is exactly the same.
Then you have to get the internal water hoses off the water valve and there are a few words of warning here.
These hoses can be VERY tight!
On some washing machine they can feel as if they are glued on but, they're not. They are just very tight and often require considerable effort to get them off but, what ever you do, do not be tempted to force them off with a screwdriver or something as you run a high risk of damaging the hose which could make it impossible to refit.
What you need to to is try to twist the hose on the valve whilst pulling it, it will break free but as stated, it could take a bit of effort. Just try to keep your hands clear of the machine when you do that as almost always they will fly away from you and smack off the machine giving you a nasty cut or bruise.
After that the valve is off and you should have it sitting free like this.
To refit the new water valve you simply reverse the process above and then test that the washing machine is once again working once it is all back together again.
For a lot of washing machine and washer dryer water valves you do need the model number to make sure you get the correct part. Many water valves have specific fittings for both mounting and electrical connections and if you order the wrong water valve it will not fit correctly. If you are unsure, please ask as we are more than happy to assist.
For most washing machines and washer dryers you will find the model number printed on the control panel of the machine, as Zanussi, Beko and others do or, more often, on the rating plate that you will normally find inside the door, on the filter flap or on the back.
Without the model number and, sometimes even the serial number or PNC, it may not be possible to identify the correct water that you need.
There are also universal water valves available that will fit a great number of washing machines especially but those are more for people that have a bit more experience or skill as well as time to work out how to fit the valve. Having said that, you can save a considerable amount of money using a universal fill valve.
Finding a water valve in our online shop is dead easy, simply go to the shop using this link that will open a new window or tab (or the ones below) then type in the model number of your washing machine or washer dryer into the "Search" box. Press search and it will bring up all the parts we've used on that particular model.
You can of course narrow the returns by adding "water valve" to the search, just as you would in the likes of Google, to look for a specific spare part.
Many water valves that are in the online store we physically hold in stock and are often shipped the same day that we receive your order. Even if it is a water valve that isn't so common we would usually have most within a day or two and it would ship the same day it was received.