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Washing machine won’t fill with water (or no water goes into washing machine)

No water A common cause of a washing machine not taking any water in is either a kinked fill hose, or the tap becoming faulty whereby you switch it on but the valve inside doesn't turn. Another common cause is the tap getting accidentally switched off and people not realising. Other causes can be wiring faults, water valve faults, PCBs or pressure system faults.

This advice was originally written when most washing machines were hot and cold fill and didn’t produce error codes. So if yours is cold fill only, ignore any references to the hot water valve. This article has now been updated to reflect the fact that these days the vast majority of washing machines should give an error code if they can’t take in water.

No fill error codes

Error Code Most washing machines are now controlled by software programmes and produce error codes if they don’t detect the right amount of water has been taken in within a set amount of time. Error codes are different for each brand of washer but the error code for not filling is one of the few usually explained in the instruction book. This is because if it’s caused by a kinked hose or a problem with the water tap a customer can often sort it out themselves. (Need an instruction book? – download instruction book / manual for washing machines and various white goods)

Washing machine making a humming noise when trying to fill?

If the washing machine wont take in any water at all, plus you can hear a humming noise (not normally present), check that both your taps are turned on, or that the water supply hasn’t been cut off in some way. A gentle humming from the back of the washing machine could be the water valves being energised and trying to take water in. This humming noise will normally be obscured by the sound of water rushing in. Don’t confuse any noise with the water pump which may also be humming as they are usually energised when the cycle first starts. This noise may also normally be partially masked by the sound of water rushing in. Before deciding the valves are humming but not letting water in make sure it’s definitely the valves humming.

The first thing to check is that water is available to the washing machine -

  1. Carefully pull the washing machine out (What's the best way to pull a washing machine out?)
  2. Turn off the tap(s) supplying the washing machine
  3. Unscrew the fill hose(s) from the water valve. Have a bucket or bowl and towel ready as there may be a spurt of water at first due to the pressure in the hose. If you get a spray of water coming out that lasts longer than a second or so the tap may not be actually turned off properly, or faulty.
  4. Hold the hose over a bowl or bucket and switch the tap back on to see if there is a decent supply of water coming through the hose

No adequate water supply coming through the hose?

If no water comes through the hose, or the flow is very slow, then the fault is in the plumbing or there could be a kink somewhere in the hose. If your machine was plumbed in using those self plumbing taps that clamp on to the copper water pipes then they do sometimes get clogged up and need the hole clearing. If this happens to the cold supply it can be achieved by turning the stop tap off first, but if the hot supply is blocked – which is the most likely of the two – then you have to turn off the cold supply and then drain the hot water tank by turning on the hot tap until the water is drained out (unless you know where the valve is to turn the hot water off in your water cylinder).

Water-tap If your machine is plumbed in using the ubiquitous blue (and red) levers to turn the tap on and off they can commonly go faulty where you think you've switched it off or on but only the plastic lever has moved and it hasn't actually operated the valve inside the tap. This is typically caused when the red or blue plastic lever cracks. You can usually unscrew the lever and operate the tap using pliers.

If there is an adequate water supply available

Filter If water comes through the fill hose at a decent flow rate then next check the filter in the water valve on the washing machine. You can pull it out with a pair of pliers and clean it. However, this will only explain the fault if it is severely blocked up, which is rare. The picture on the left shows a water valve, which could do with cleaning, but is in no way blocked enough to cause any issues. Be careful not to damage the filter with the pliers as they are often delicate and brittle. The pic shows an old Hoover water valve which has a metal filter but the majority of filters now are made of very thin and brittle plastic. If you create a hole in one – even a small hole – it can let grit and dirt through into the water valve and prevent it shutting off properly resulting in possible flooding in the future. Don’t use narrow-nosed pliers, use flat pliers and be gentle with it.

If there is a good water supply and the valve filter isn’t blocked..

Water Valves The next suspect is a faulty water valve (or solenoid), or maybe a faulty connection. Water valves can have a live supply to them even when not operating so never work on a washing machine when it’s connected to the electricity! The picture on the left shows a typical set of water valves. Again, it’s from a hot and cold fill machine so there are 3, one for hot, cold and fabric conditioner. The solenoids can be tested with a continuity test meter though they have quite a high resistance. If completely open circuit clearly that’s the fault, all valves should have the same reading so you may be able to compare if more than one valve is fitted. If they test out ok, and you can’t see any faulty connections then we’ve tested as far as we can for this article and it’s best to get an engineer in. The only other line of enquiry could be a fault on the pressure system but this could be difficult to diagnose. Read this article for help on how washing machines control water levels

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  1. I did all that, even replacing the valve. Still only a hum and no water coming into the machine. What’s next?

  2. Hi Kathy, I put all my advice in the articles so if it doesn’t help I can only advise getting an engineer. If the hum is from the water valve and no water is going in then there can’t be a water supply to the valve. Make sure the hum is coming from the valve and not elsewhere. If it’s not the valve humming then it may not be a not filling fault at all. Does it work on spin?

  3. It’s always the same hum. I found an engineer, coming to look tomorrow. Thank you for trying. This is a very helpful site, got me this far. :-)

  4. Please let us know what it turns out to be Kathy, it will help others with a similar problem.

  5. The local repairman checked it out and said the door lock mechanism wasn’t functioning fully. That’s why it wasn’t filling. He gave me the part number to order, which I confirmed and did order. It arrived today. When I attempted to replace the part, I saw it was completely different. Thinking I’d gotten the wrong part, I went back online and read more details. When replacing this part, I must also replace the entire wiring harness ($127 US) and door strike ($6 US). Disappointing. I’m not inclined to change a wire harness with 10-15 different connections. I’m going to have to buy new. :-(

  6. That sounds crazy Kathy. I would return the part at least. If it can only be fitted with the wiring harness they should have told you that when they sold it. It sounds bizarre to me, to be honest I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous thing. Having said that, my initial reply did say it may not be anything to do with not filling. Basically your fault was the machine wasn’t doing anything. If the door interlock was faulty it wouldn’t spin or empty water either.

  7. My washer stopped pumping cold water in, but will pump straight hot water?? This happened suddenly, after a very cold night, and the washroom is not heated. I don’t understand why there’s hot but no cold? Cold water is coming from the source and through the hose to the washer, but not getting in! Please advise, thanks!!

  8. Hot and cold fill valves are separate so it’s perfectly possible for one to work but not the other. Having one work does rule out some faults such as pressure system but follow the advice in the article above to try and get to the bottom of it starting by checking there is cold water actually coming through the cold tap.

  9. Hi Andy, What a great site you have.
    I think I have a similar problem to Kathy’s. My 9 year old Hoover H60AT is not working. For the last few months I’ve needed to give the door an extra shove before the lock clicked and a then few moments later the water started coming in. Yesterday, same again. Today, nothing.
    I tried opening & closing again. Checked the electrical & water supplies. Everything seems fine. When I turn the programme control knob it does set the other things in motion (pump etc). Does that mean that the door is locked?
    Not sure where to go from here. (other than the laundromat) Any ideas?

  10. Thanks Sarah, please share it :) If the door isn’t closed (or the door interlock isn’t being activated or is faulty) then the washer should not work at all. So if the drum turns it can’t be anything to do with the door and lock. If only the pump runs it’s possible it’s been designed to let that happen so as to get the water out but I haven’t heard of it to be honest. If the washer won;t start unless you fiddle with the door then you need to check the door seal is on properly and not coming off the front rim which can stop the door closing properly and that the door catch is OK. After that the chances are the door interlock needs replacing. It’s always worth spraying some WD40 on the door catch and inside the door lock from the front.

  11. Thanks for replying so quickly, Andy.
    I’ve tried the WD40 on the door lock but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. The drum doesn’t turn when I put it on spin cycle it’s just the pump that kicks in when I turn the dial. I think it must be a lock problem – the seal is fine. The door does close properly but the little red light that shows it’s ‘locked’ does not come on.
    Do you know where I could check what exactly I’d need to replace? (parts lists & diagrams would be mega helpful)

  12. You can order a new door lock here –
    They should be pretty easy to replace and work out how to.

  13. Great!! Thank you for that, Andy. I’ve ordered the part (I had to phone them for delivery to France) and will keep my fingers crossed that I can work out how to replace it because there will be no diagrams with it.
    Hoorah! I just downloaded a service manual for my machine from here:

  14. avatar Lucy Balmer says:

    Hiya I have a 18 year old hotpoint first edition and its filling with water but its filling the opposite side to where you put the powder. So I’m having to use a jug of Water to wash the powder in. Do you have any ideas what it could be . Thanks in advance

  15. 18 years? That’s pretty good going. Yours will be a hot and cold fill so it sounds like maybe just one of the valves isn’t letting water in (possibly the hot one). Follow all the instructions in this article to try and find out why.

  16. WOW!!! Feeling very proud of myself.
    The part arrived today. I had imagined that I’d need to open the machine from the side but a quick look on youtube found me a video of someone changing a similar part. All that was needed was to unclip the front seal to get at the doorlock.
    I disconnected three wires and one ‘brake cable’ (for want of a better description) then connected them to the new part. It took about 5 minutes.
    My machine is currently doing a wash and I can stop hiking my washing right across town to the laundromat!!
    Thank you so much, Andy. :-)

  17. Nice one Sarah.

  18. I have a similar problem! A couple weeks ago, I turn my washer on to fill up. I always use only the cold water. Nothing comes out, just the humming noise is all I hear. I switch the temperature control to warm, it works, but there is only hot water coming out, not a mixture of both like its supposed to be. Then switch it over to hot, the hot works fine. Its just the cold water. So I disconnect the cold water hose from the washer, put it in a bucket, turn the faucet on, and nothing!! Then just to see if it was the hose, I switched the hot and cold water hoses, still the cold won’t work. So I left it for a couple hours, thinking I would call someone the next day, but then decided to just try it one more time. I went downstairs, turned on the washer, and it suddenly has cold water coming out! So it works fine for a while. Then I went to try my washer again today, and I have the same problem, no cold water coming out!! Any idea why it would work again for a while, then all of a sudden not work anymore?

  19. Hi Rhea. Strange, especially with it being the cold supply but it’s a plumbing issue rather than the washing machine. Only things I can think of are possible faulty tap (faucet) appearing to turn on and off but not actually turning inside or the water somehow being turned off and on elsewhere.

  20. I have a ariston washer when I switch it on water starts to go in then stops lights start flashing then starts to fill again it goes on for few mins till waters in then the rest of the wash is perfect I also notice the pipes are knocking at the beginning can’t understand it

  21. I just bought a bosch wkd28450 washer dryer that had the same problem from new. However it was evident that no water was entering the aqua stop/filter inlet pipe (water could get through the tap). This part is being replaced and I will see if this resolves the situation but it does seem that is a another area for a fault. No fault code came up on the machine.

  22. The new part made no difference – I tried a standard water inlet pipe and there was no problem -water entered and the macine was fine. So there is something wrong with the aquasecure fitting system I think- could there be too much or too little water pressure going in? I can’t find anything else on the web about it?

  23. Water should run through an aqua hose as normal unless the aqua stop device inside has triggered, but surely it can’t have on 2 new hoses. Is there any connector plug by any chance? Some of them have an actual solenoid inside, which only lets water through when energised. If so there would be some wires running down the inside of the hose to a connector somewhere on the washing machine.

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