Why is the Water Level in Your Washer Low?

Fred's Appliance
March 9, 2020
Washer Repair

Have you peaked inside your washer only to discover that the water level inside is looking kind of low? It may look like barely any is in there. The water may not even be fully saturating your clothing. When you discover this, it certainly can be due to an actual problem with your appliance. However, it may actually be part of a washer’s design as well. Here is how you can troubleshoot this issue.

High Efficiency Washers Use Less Water

Part of the reason that they call high-efficiency washers “high efficiency” is because they use less water to wash your clothing. Sometimes this type of washing machine is confused as working quicker or having better performance compared to traditional models, but actually it just does its job by using less resources. By investing in a high-efficiency washer, you enjoy both lower energy bills and lower water bills. So if you have a high-efficiency washer it will only use as much water as the machine needs. This makes the water level look much lower than what you would be used to in traditional washer models. Usually people pick out high-efficiency models for the benefits. However, if you bought a new home or didn’t think the high-efficiency label meant anything different, you are in for a surprise.

If you do discover that you have a high-efficiency washer and that is causing it to use less water, you will also want to make sure you are using the right detergent. One of the biggest mistakes owners of high-efficiency washers make is that they continue to use traditional detergent. Unfortunately, this can cause some sudsy problems over time. You will want to make sure the detergent is made for high-efficiency washers because they use less water and thus need different strength detergent.

Problems That Can Cause Low Water in Your Washer

If you know you don’t have a high-efficiency washer, then if you notice lower than normal water levels, you need to start looking for a problem. These are the most common washer malfunctions that can result in a low water level as well as what you can do to fix them.

Poor Water Pressure

A washer is designed to use a certain water pressure in order to fill with water. However, if you have a low water pressure, it may not get the amount of water into the tub that it needs or even be able to work. In order to get the recommended amount of water, your washer needs at least 20 psi optimally and thus you get less water.

Low water pressure need not be a house-wide issue, however. So don’t worry if your taps seem just fine. The water inlet valve to your washer comes with a screen. If this screen gets blocked up, it may result in a lower water pressure to the machine. So that will need to be checked.

Furthermore, if you have shut off the water to the washer or to your entire home recently, low water pressure can manifest if you did not fully open the valve when you turned the water back on. It is best to check this if you notice that your water pressure is low in your washer or any other appliance. If you needed to shut the water recently in order to do a repair, then this should be your first suspect.

Water Inlet Valve

As the water inlet valve is responsible for letting water flow into your washer, when you aren’t getting enough water, it should be your first major suspect. You can locate the water inlet valve by following the hot and cold hook ups on your wall to where the hoses join and enter your washer. The device the combines the two hoses into one hose is the water inlet valve.  You will want to start your investigation by shutting off the water to your appliance, disconnecting the wires to the water inlet valve, and unthreading the hoses into the water inlet valve. You will want to check the screens for any blockages as well as if those screens got lodged inside if they are missing from the alcove. You will also want to check the area around the water inlet valve to see if there have been any leaks that could cause problems as well.

It is possible that the solenoids in the water inlet valve have failed. In this case, you will need to replace this part.

Faulty Fill Sensor

In order to know when the washer has enough water, it comes with a fill sensor. Ideally, this sensor will detect when enough water is inside the washer for the set load size. However, if it is malfunctioning, it may cause the washer to fill with less water than it needs. It can also result in no water at all and filling with too much water. So if you have seen some of those symptoms as well, then it is a good indicator that the fill sensor has gone faulty.

To replace this part, you will need to only disassemble the control panel of your washer. The water level switch is located near the temperature control. You can test it with a multimeter to be sure, and if it proves faulty, it is as simple as unplugging the faulty part and plugging in the replacement.

Need Help Fixing This Issue?

Troubleshooting any appliance problem can be tricky. However, you aren’t completely left to your own devices here. In the case of a washer that has low water, the cause usually isn’t difficult to fix. Even in the case of the fill sensor, it only requires minor disassembly to replace it. Yet, if you can’t quite figure it out or are having problems with any appliance that you can’t figure out or fix yourself, contact us today. The professionals at Fred’s Appliance Repair are dedicated to helping keep your home running smoothly through functioning appliances and fast repairs.

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