Washing Machine Filling With Water When Off? (We Have a Fix!)

Eli Smith
by Eli Smith

Waking up to a small lake inside of your washing machine isn’t fun. If you find that this is happening to you, don’t panic. Instead, start this process by turning off the water. Once you’ve done that, we can explore what’s causing your water machine to keep filling after the water is off.

Remove the water inlet valves and soak them in vinegar for 24 hours to remove debris and hard water remnants. You can also blow pressurized air into the water inlet valves to knock clumps of minerals and debris loose. Low water pressure may be the cause, and you will have to purchase a new pump to increase pressure.

Below, we will be digging into different causes for what may be causing this water leakage issue. We will also be working towards preventing your washing machine from filling when it doesn’t need to.

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How The Water Inlet Valve Causes Washing Machine Leaking

Most washing machines have two different inlet valves for hot and cold. The washing machine controls these valves through the sending of electronic pulses.

These are also known as solenoid valves, named for the “plunger material” that opens and shuts in response to electronic messages. Those messages tell how much hot, cold, and warm water needs to release into the machine. If the water inlet valve stops working, it can be due to one of the below issues:

  • The water inlet valves may be dirty
  • The water pressure may be low
  • Busted filter screens
  • Not enough power to the inlet valves

Cleaning Dirty Water Inlet Valves

The first potential issue comes from dirty valves. Like any water-based hose, hard water and muck can sometimes get caught in there. To clean the water inlet valves, you can dip them into a mild cleaning agent. Vinegar is a great option, as that eats through organic material and hard water stains.

Leave them in there as long as it takes, and eventually, you will have a clean valve. The soaking process can take up to 24 hours. Also, blowing air into these inlet valves will force some of the more stubborn debris from getting out.

The Water Pressure In Your House Might Be Low

If cleaning doesn’t solve the issue, the next problem brings us to the water pressure. The most common reason for low water pressure comes from clogged pipes. If this is a problem in other areas of your house, your issue is possibly related to the main water valve. The old owners may have turned it down for some reason, so check to see if you need to bring a pipe wrench to turn it up.

If it is in a limited number of areas, you likely have corroded pipes. This process will involve complete pipe replacement, which might be difficult if you aren’t a plumber.

You can also invest in a pump, but that might get expensive. In this case, we recommend checking out our guide on increasing water pressure without a pump. If the project starts getting beyond your scope, it might be time to contact a plumber.

Busted Filter Screens

Your solenoid valves have filter screens that prevent any unwanted debris from entering your washing machine. Sometimes, the wrong kind of waste can make their way to these filters. That debris can either clog the filters entirely, requiring cleaning, or get caught in the filter or rubber section. If you can clean them, that should solve your issue.

If they have large gaps and the “plunger function” isn’t working, that means you will need to replace the entire valve. You cannot replace the filters and rubber sections. You will need to buy a complete valve. At this point, you will need to unscrew both sides and use the part number of the inlet valve to make a replacement. If you don’t have access to the part number, use the model number from your washing machine.

Not Enough Power To The Inlet Valves

If your inlet valves are in the open position, your washing machine may not have enough power to undo this. As a result, your valves are stuck open, and there is no easy solution to opening them up. You can test the power going to these thorough instructions on your owner’s manual. Typically, the owner’s manual will tell you of the required voltage on the valves. Use a multimeter to run these tests.

Much like with broken filter screens, you can solve this issue by purchasing replacement inlet valves. You can also check to see if the outlet’s voltage is sufficient to handle all of this. If needed, you can contact an electrician to test the outlet. You will need another kind of technician for the washer.

Other Issues That Cause Your Washing Machine To Overflow While Draining

There are a couple of other issues that can prevent your washing machine from draining everything in the drum. Check those out below.

  • Broken water level switch
  • Pressure hose
  • Control board issues

These situations apply regardless of the washer being off or on.

How To Fix A Broken Water Level Switch

The front of many washers includes a switch that allows you to control the level of water. If the water level switch doesn’t send the right signal to the board, it doesn’t tell the water inlet valves to stop filling.

Start by testing the water level switch with a multimeter. The required voltages will be in your owner’s manual. Suppose all of the other situations have already been proven false, or you have found that the voltage is weak. In that case, you will need to move on to replacing the water level switch.

You can do this by removing the front face of your washing machine’s control panel. You will see it has a connection to the pressure hose and a wire cluster, which you will set aside for now.

Pop it out from the front-facing control panel, and replace it with a part that you can find the replacement for on your washing machine company’s website. In some cases, you can also find this at your local hardware store. Pop the switch where the old one used to go, but don’t the control panel yet. Next, we will be checking the pressure hose.

Pressure Hose

The pressure hose informs the water level switch that the drum is full. When the drum is to a specific capacity, the tube’s air pressure tells the water level switch that the tub needs to stop filling. Follow the pressure hose along the washer to find if it has any clogs or damage. The hose ends at an air dome that is near the bottom of the washer.

If the tube has any noticeable obstructions, use your washer’s model number to purchase and install a replacement part. If it isn’t damaged, check to see that the hose is secure. You can also apply the same checks to the air dome, as that also controls the amount of pressure leading to your machine.

Control Board Issues

Use your owner’s manual to see where they place their control board. Typically, the location is alongside the buttons and knobs along the top of the front-facing control panel.

Check the control board to find any signs of corrosion or damage. You could also see some burnt marks, which indicates a potential overload or power shortage. If you need to make a replacement, use the washer’s model number to locate a replacement board. Also, replace any wires if needed.

Given that this replacement does require a certain amount of technical expertise, It isn’t a terrible idea to call a technician at this point. If you wish to stick to DIY repairs, be sure to mark all of the chords, so you know where they go. You can also take a picture of the board before disconnecting it, using it as a guide down the road.

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What If My Washer Fills With Dirty Water When It Is Not In Use?

If the water is dirty, your issue originates from the other end. At this point, you are going to want to check the drain hose for clogs. In this case, you will want to pull out your washer, remove the drain hose from the back, and clean it out.

Be sure that you have an available bucket and towel nearby. There is a fair chance of water discharging when you are trying to clean this. That water may be dirty or clean, depending on where it comes originates. You can use a stiff brush to get out the most visible clogs. Otherwise, blowing air through it might solve some of the deeper clogs. You can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove some of this.

In the process, check to see if there is any damage to your hose. If there is, the amount of hose you have might be too much for the space behind the washer. At this point, you will want to consider replacing the hose with a shorter or more flexible one.

If the plug is deeper inside the pipe, your issue is not related to the drain hose. In this case, you will want to use Draino to try and eat through the organic material stuck. Otherwise, you can use a drain snake to try and get the deeper clogs.

Eli Smith
Eli Smith

I'm a guy who becomes the expert of whatever I stumble upon, writing-wise. I've written tons about cool home products, home improvement, and smart technology in the home. I'm also the proud father of a kiddo born on new years, making my holidays very busy.

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