A person opening a dishwasher in a kitchen

5 Reasons Why Your Dishwasher Is Not Getting Water

Having a dishwasher that doesn’t function correctly is a major inconvenience to any family. If your dishwasher appears to be running but will not fill with water, there are a handful of solutions you can try before contacting a professional. While problems typically occur in older appliances or machines that are not used according to guidelines, Whirlpool brand offers warranties and professional installation to help avoid future issues.

Why is my dishwasher not getting water?

If your dishwasher isn’t filling with water, it could be due to various factors involving different dishwasher parts. An incorrectly positioned drain hose, open or unlatched door, shut off water supply or obstructed overfill protection float may be responsible. Read on to learn about solutions you can try to help troubleshoot these issues on your own.

A closeup of a dishwasher drain hose A closeup of a dishwasher drain hose

1. Drain hose is not positioned correctly

If the loop in the end of your drain hose is not positioned at least 20 inches off the floor or subfloor, your dishwasher could be siphoning. Locate the drain hose and connect it to the waste tee or disposal inlet above your house plumbing’s drain trap at a minimum of 20 inches above the floor to help ensure the tub fills properly.

A person closing the door of a dishwasher A person closing the door of a dishwasher

2. Dishwasher door is open or unlatched

An open or unlatched door will prevent the dishwasher from filling with water. A flashing START/RESUME indicator light typically suggests that this is the problem. If this is the case, make sure the dishwasher door is closed and press the START/RESUME button to continue the cycle.

A dishwasher water supply valve A dishwasher water supply valve

3. Water supply valve is closed

In order for your dishwasher to fill, the water supply valve must be turned to the open position. Locate your kitchen’s water supply and twist the valve open as needed to allow water to flow freely through the water supply line and into the unit.

How to connect a dishwasher to the water supply

Reference your owner’s manual or installation guide before connecting your dishwasher to the water supply, as instructions may vary between models.

Locate the water supply in your kitchen, typically under the sink, and turn off the supply to the dishwasher. Then, attach a 90-degree elbow fitting to the supply line and connect the fill hose to the valve on the bottom of the dishwasher, first tightening by hand plus a ¼ to ½ turn with pliers. 

Be sure to route the water supply line toward the rear of the dishwasher. Get a more in-depth instruction on how to install your dishwasher with this article from Whirlpool brand.

A dishwasher water inlet valve A dishwasher water inlet valve

4. Water inlet valve is blocked

Your dishwasher’s water inlet valve controls water flow into your dishwasher, and is usually located at the base of the inner left panel. A blocked inlet valve may mean there is buildup around the valve or a blockage in the valve.

How do you unclog a water inlet valve?

You can clean buildup around the valve with a clean towel. You can also use a flashlight to check for any obvious blockages at the mouth of the valve. If you can’t find any clear reason for the block, you may need to contact a professional as it may indicate an electrical or mechanical malfunction.

Read this article from Whirlpool to learn how to troubleshoot a clogged dishwasher.

A person pulling a filter out of a dishwasher A person pulling a filter out of a dishwasher

5. Overfill protection float is obstructed

The overfill protection float prevents the dishwasher from overfilling and must be correctly in place to allow the appliance to fill. On some models, the float is typically found in the front right corner. Newer models that are experiencing filling difficulty should be inspected by a professional.

Locate the float, and check for obstructions by moving it up and down to see if it moves freely. Remove the obstructions as needed.

What if my dishwasher fills with water, and then stops?

If your dishwasher fills with water but stops before reaching the wash cycle, a technical issue such as a shorted-out thermal fuse or electronic control board could be to blame. You can also check the detergent drawer or spray arms to see if they seem damaged or clogged. Detergent drawers should open during the wash cycle, so a closed detergent drawer may be the cause of your issue. Or, your spray arms may be damaged or clogged with food debris. If so, you may need to clean your spray arms or have a professional take a look.

Learn more about troubleshooting dishwasher problems, or contact a professional to correct these issues by scheduling Whirlpool® Service and Repairs.

Explore Whirlpool® Dishwashers

If your dishwasher needs to be replaced or if you’re ready to upgrade your appliance, Whirlpool brand offers several dishwasher options to help keep mealtime cleanup moving smoothly. With features on select models like the 3rd Rack for hard-to-fit utensils and extra silverware and Triple Wash Spray with targeted wash action in all three racks to help ensure dishes come out clean the first time, Whirlpool® Dishwashers can help clean up all of your family’s mealtime messes.

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