How Do I Know If My Dishwasher's Water Inlet Valve Is Bad?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you hate the idea of doing dishes by hand, you’re not alone. Dishwashers are considered to be one of the nicest “luxury” appliances you can have in a kitchen, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, they have a tendency of breaking when you least expect it. When they do, you’re stuck doing dishes until you can find a proper fix. One of the biggest culprits? A bad water inlet valve.

You can tell that your dishwasher’s water inlet valve is bad your dishwasher fills with water slowly or stops filling with water. Bad water inlet valves can also cause changes in your dishwasher’s water temperature. Inlet valves can go bad if the filter, the solenoid is worn, or if the pipe is clogged.

No one likes having a busted dishwasher, and keeping an eye on your water inlet valve can help you figure out what you should do to fix it. If you’re wondering what this part does, or just need help diagnosing your dishwasher problems, this guide will help.

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What Does A Water Inlet Valve Do?

A water inlet valve is the part that connects your two water hoses to the machine. This is the valve that regulates the water intake for both hot and cold water. When your water inlet valve starts to fail, you might start seeing issues when it comes with the water flow in your dishwasher.

How Can You Tell If Your Water Inlet Valve Is Failing?

The biggest clue-in that your water inlet valve needs to be worked on deals with the way your water flows. These signs below tend to be dead giveaways that you could be dealing with a valve problem:

  • The dishwasher stopped filling with water. If it got to this point, you should be very worried. This is a sign that you’ve been having inlet valve problems for ages and it’s been entirely broken.
  • Your dishwasher now fills up slowly. Does it seem like it takes forever to get the water running in your washer? Do you notice your dishwashing loads taking longer and longer to complete? Well, it might be a failing inlet valve that’s to blame.
  • For some reason, your dishwasher doesn’t seem to want to work at the right temperature. Water inlet valves regulate the temperature of your dishwasher’s water. If your dishwasher has been running super hot, or super cold, this suggests that one of the hoses in your valve could be blocked.
  • Your dishwasher isn’t working. A lot of dishwasher models have triggers that shut down the dishwasher completely if the water intake valve is busted. If your dishwasher is clearly on, but refuses to actually start, this could be a sign that your valve went bad.

Should You Try To Diagnose And Inspect The Valve Yourself?

If you are a casual DIYer or don’t have a lot of luck with plumbing, you probably shouldn’t try to actually open up your dishwasher to look at the valve. If done incorrectly, this could cause serious damage to your dishwasher and even cause you to pay a higher price to get it fixed. Hiring a plumber is usually the best idea.

Knowing that, it is possible to diagnose and fix the valve on your own if you are willing to get your hands (literally) dirty. If you’re willing to do that, then you might be able to save a couple bucks. However, that’s better left for another article simply because it’s so advanced and the process can vary from model to model.

What Could Be The Problem?

Your washer inlet valve is not just one piece, it’s multiple pieces that work together in order to make sure your water flow is good to go. The water inlet valve has filters, solenoids, as well as some piping. Each part has its own potential failures in it. Here’s what you should be aware of:

  • The most common issue with water inlet valves involves filters. A clogged filter will cause slow to no water flow. Clearing them out is ideal, since this means you won’t have to replace your valve. In some cases, you also may be able to switch out the filters without replacing the rest of your valve.
  • If your piping is clogged, this could be another problem. Once again, clearing out clogs will help, even if the piping is relatively small. Much like cleaning your filters, this can prevent you from having to replace the valve. Most of the time, the piping in and around your valve will be easy to clean out. Hope for this fix!
  • Solenoids can also be an issue. The wiring and electrical portion of your water inlet valve can also deal with wear and tear. If your solenoids don’t give any resistance when tested, then it’s a sign that you need to replace your valve. Your water inlet valve will not work without functional solenoids.

How Much Does Replacing A Water Inlet Filter Cost?

Like with any other plumbing issue, the amount of money that you’ll pay depends on whether you’re DIYing it and the model of the dishwasher that you have. If you are able to do the replacement on your own, then the only thing you need to buy is the water inlet filter. The price of the water inlet filter will depend on your machine model.

On average, buying a new water inlet filter will cost $30 to $75. This is assuming that you will be buying a brand-specific water intake valve. If you choose to buy an aftermarket brand, you might be able to find one from $12 to $40. However, there is a chance that aftermarket parts won’t work with your machine. So, buy at your own risk.

This doesn’t include the price you would have to pay to hire a plumber to switch it out. If you choose to go with a plumber, things can get pretty pricey. A plumber usually charges $50 to $100 for a diagnosis. From there, you may need to pay an additional $65 to $80 per hour for the actual repair to happen.

Cleaning A Dishwasher Inlet Valve

Sometimes the issue isn’t with the fact that your inlet valve is actually bad, but rather that it needs to be cleaned. You can always clean your inlet valve to see if your dishwasher functions better before buying a new one, or hiring a plumber.


  • Find the solenoid valve. After finding the solenoid valve you will need to remove the inlet hose. Afterward, take off the brass angle fitting. You may need some hand tools to assist you with unscrewing it as it will be tight.
  • Detach the hose. Next, you will need to loosen the inlet hose and pull the hose from the valve until it comes all the way off.
  • Remove the screen. Using a pick or a screwdriver, take the screen out so that you can clean it. If it looks damaged or warped, then it’s a good idea to replace it instead.
  • Put everything back together. Working in reverse order, follow these instructions to put your dishwasher back together to test it and see if any of this helped you.

Other Screens You Might Want To Clean Up

While you’re at it, you might as well take some time to clean the other screens. You will want to take the screens out of the dishwasher’s inlets and hose ends to clean them. You can use pliers for removing the aerator off the end of the spout to your faucet and clean all the little parts inside of that.

Don’t forget to check the aerator before you replace it. If it’s damaged, or warped in any way you will need to replace it before you decide to put your dishwasher back together. Then, run your dishwasher once you have all the parts back into place to see if this worked for you. If it didn’t, then you might want to call a professional to come to look at your dishwasher so they can diagnose and fix the issue at hand.

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Our Final Take

If your dishwashing machine is running a little wonky, then it’s normal to want to get a little bit of an idea on what’s going on inside of it. Your water inlet valve could be a problem, since it’s a frequently-replaced part of almost any dishwasher. If you’ve been wondering if this is the cause of your trouble, look for water flow problems. It’s what issues with your inlet valve tend to cause.

Whether it’s a clogged filter, a bad solenoid, or piping that just got a little cloggy, it’s good to know that many valve problems can be repaired quickly and cheaply after a diagnosis. If you need a replacement, things might get a little more pricey. Though you might end up losing a couple hundred dollars for a repair, there is some good news here.

Water inlet valve repairs may be pricey, but they are fairly quick fixes. With that said, there’s another thing to remember too. It’s better to replace the inlet valve than to replace your dishwasher, don’t you think?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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