When home appliances experience problems, there are always a few components that you should check first since they are most often the culprit. If your problematic appliance is a dishwasher, the water inlet valve is one of the first items to check. These valves can cause a variety of problems.

Signs that point to an inlet valve problem include leaks that fill the dishwasher when not running, the dishwasher filling too slowly when in use, or the dishwasher not filling at all. Leaks that end up outside of the dishwasher also can indicate an inlet valve problem, and this must be addressed immediately. Most issues with this valve come down to the seal or the solenoids in the valve failing.

Should You Troubleshoot Your Dishwasher Water Inlet Valve?

While you can go DIY with this task, the truth is that doing it effectively is not easy. You will need a number of tools and will be working with electric components, making it a bit risky. Also, depending on the valve in your machine, you may need to strip wires, attach terminals, and even create a testing cord to evaluate the electrical components of the valve. Given all of this, for most homeowners, the cheaper, easier, and safer solution is to use a professional appliance repair service for this task.

First, Complete a Simple Check

This simple check will not catch every problem. However, it will expose some of the more common ones. As such, we recommend you go this route first. If you’re not experienced in working with appliances, you may want to try this and only turn to a professional for help if it proves inconclusive.

  1. Disconnect the dishwasher from both power and water supplies.
  2. Get to the valve and remove the wires from the valve using pliers, but do not tug on them.
  3. Attach an ohmmeter to the terminals; if it reads infinity, one of the solenoids has failed.
  4. If the reading is fine, look over the valve. See if it is clogged with food debris or sediment. If so, try to clean it without taking it apart.
  5. If step 3 and step 4 reveal nothing wrong, you will want to complete a more in-depth check.

The More In-Depth Check of the Water Inlet Valve

This in-depth check is significantly more difficult than the simple check above and will require you to work heavily with electrical components. Unless you are highly confident in your abilities, it is best to leave this to a professional. With that said, for this check, you do the following:

  1. Unplug the dishwasher or otherwise remove the power source so you can safely handle electronic components. Turn off the water supply as well.
  2. Locate the water valve and look for a sticker or stamping on the metal of the valve. Here, you should be able to determine if the valve uses AC or DC power and what the voltage rating is.
  3. For AC power, create a test cord so you can apply power to the valve in order to test its function. To create this cord, you need a power cord, two crimp-on insulated terminals, and a crimping tool. The power cord should have three wires: ground, hot, and neutral. Strip the insulation off the hot and neutral wires and cut the ground wire so it is no longer in the way. Crimp an insulated terminal onto the stripped ends of the hot and neutral wires.
  4. For DC power, purchase a 12-volt battery pack that already has wires attached to it and attach the insulated terminals in the same manner.
  5. Now, examine the valve and see what type of connection it has. In general, you will either find two male spade terminals or two small pins.
  6. If it has the male spade terminals, you can directly connect your test cord or pack.
  7. If there are pins, you will need to cut the wiring harness a few inches away from the valve. Proceed to strip the ends of all four wires. On one side, crimp two male spade terminals and on the other, two female spade terminals. This ensures you can test the power and reconnect the wires with ease.
  8. Turn on the water supply and see if there is any leaking from the valve without any power running to the dishwasher. If there is, replace the valve immediately. If there is not, move to the next step.
  9. Attach your test cord or battery pack to the valve. If the water flows well, the problem is not the valve. If the water flows slowly or not at all, check to see if the valve needs to be cleaned. If it does, clean it without taking it apart and try again. If it does not need to be cleaned, then the valve is broken and must be replaced.

For Help with Your Dishwasher, Turn to West Coast Chief Repair

If all of this sounds like too much of a hassle, or too costly to get all the tools and parts, simply give West Coast Chief Repair a call. We can test your dishwasher to determine where the problem lies and offer the right solution for your needs. We are here to help you, day or night.