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How to fix a dishwasher that won't fill with water

Woman looking into dishwasher that's not filling with water

Dishwashers are designed to fill up with water when their doors are sealed. So if yours isn't filling up, you have a problem.

The good news is there are some easy ways to solve it. Asurion Experts are trained and experienced with all major appliances, so they know exactly how to get yours running properly again—and how to keep it protected from future breakdowns. Check out their tips for how to diagnose and repair a dishwasher that won't rinse, wash, or fill with water.

Why is no water going to my dishwasher?

If your dishwasher isn't filling with water during the wash cycle, there are a few potential culprits.

We'll walk you through how to check for these common problems:

  • A malfunctioning dishwasher float
  • A broken float switch
  • A clogged or broken water inlet valve
  • A malfunctioning door switch

As with many home appliances, some issues can be diagnosed and even repaired by a homeowner, depending on their skills and comfort level. If you're unsure, reach out to an appliance expert.

A malfunctioning dishwasher float

Your dishwasher float is located on the bottom of your appliance's tub. This component is designed to prevent your machine from filling up with too much water. If the float isn't working correctly, it could be telling your dishwasher not to fill up when it actually needs to.

How to check

Before you get started, unplug your dishwasher or, if it is hardwired, turn off the circuit breaker that powers it from your electrical box. Take off the cover to the float assembly. Check the float for damage and to make sure it can move freely.

How to repair

In some dishwashers, you can easily access, remove, and replace the float, while in others, you have to first disconnect it from the float switch. To access the float switch, remove the kickplate in the lower front of the dishwasher, just below the door.

A broken float switch

The float switch controls the flow of water coming into your dishwasher as it fills up. If water isn't flowing into your appliance, the float mechanism could be the issue.

How to check

Unplug your dishwasher or shut it off at the electrical box if it is hardwired. To access the float switch, remove the kickplate, which is located at the bottom front of your dishwasher. Detach it from the wires. You can test the dishwasher float switch with a multimeter for continuity to determine whether the circuit is unbroken and the switch can function properly. Need help? Check out our guide on how to use a multimeter.

How to repair

If the float switch is no longer functioning, it will need to be replaced.

A clogged or broken water inlet valve

As its name suggests, the water inlet valve lets water into your dishwasher to clean your dishes. If you're dealing with a faulty water inlet valve or it's clogged, water may not come through.

How to check

Unplug your dishwasher or shut it off at the electrical box if it is hardwired. Remove the kickplate to access the water inlet valve, which is found at the bottom left corner on most makes and models. Check the valve and filter screens for debris or signs of damage. After removing the wires from the valve coil terminals, test the valve with a multimeter, a handheld tool that measures voltage, current, and resistance. Using the multimeter's probes, attach one to one terminal, and the other to the second terminal. If the multimeter shows a reading of 500-1500 ohms of resistance, the valve has continuity (aka a complete path of electrical flow).

How to repair

If there's debris blocking the valve or filter screens, you'll need to clean it out. If the valve lacks continuity, it's likely that the part will need to be replaced. Check your owner's manual for more instructions on how, or look up the make and model of your appliance on the manufacturer's website.

A malfunctioning door switch

The door switch is a component that helps close and latch the dishwasher shut so water doesn't leak out. If the door isn't closed or latched properly, your appliance won't run.

How to check

Unplug your dishwasher or shut it off at the electrical box if it is hardwired and remove the inner door panel to access the door switch. Use a multimeter to determine whether the circuit is unbroken and the switch is getting power.

How to repair

If the door switch doesn't work, you'll need to replace the entire door latch assembly, a larger component (the door switch is part of it) that prevents water from leaking out. Once you've removed the inner door panel, disconnect the door latch assembly from the wires and take out the part. Replace it with a new door latch assembly and plug the wires back in.

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