Solving Washer Drain Valve Issues

All washing machines have a wash drum that fills, turns, drains, and extracts; all washing machines follow this process regardless of the wash temperature or type of cycle.  Problems arise when one of these steps is missed.  Today’s post focuses on the draining portion when the machine either drains at a trickle, a gush, or absolutely nothing at all. 

Most drain valves are electric, and that’s what we’re going to focus on here today, but you can have pneumatic with air or even water-operated drains on washing machines.  (If you’re having issues with the latter two, feel free to reach out to Tri-State.)  With most of our reported problems, customers report one of these two issues:

  1. The door won’t open and there’s water in the wheel
  2. The washer won’t fill up

The cause:

There’s something stuck, and we’ve seen all kinds of stuck things over the years including kitchen utensils.  When an item gets stuck, it won’t allow the valve to shut completely.  This causes the drain motor to keep running, which can cause the motor to eventually burn up. 

This can also happen in the opposite direction.  An object hung up on the inside can keep the valve closed so that it won’t open to drain, plus the door won’t open because the pressure switch is activated because of the force from the water in the wheel.  All washing machines have this safety feature so that the door can’t open while the washer is being filled.

 Steps To Fixing A Water Inlet Valve

  1. Check the drain valve motor to determine the voltage.It can be 230V, 120V, or 24V. This is important for step 2.
  2. Place the washing machine in drain mode, either by program, manual mode, or service mode, to see if the drain is getting the electricity it needs to operate.
  3. If the motor hums or tries to open, turn off the power at the disconnect and remove the drain valve or hose to the drain valve from the wheel.CAUTION:Water will be going everywhere so it is incredibly important that the washer be OFF.
  4. Once it’s off, inspect the inside of the drain, finding and removing anything inside that doesn’t belong.
  5. If you don’t find anything inside of the motor, it is likely that the motor is bad, and you can replace the motor only or the entire valve.

Replacing The Water Inlet Valve

You can order a new valve directly from the manufacturer, but most all electric drains are Depend-O-Drain Brand drain valve, and Tri-State can help you get those.  Simply call us at 866.885.5218 with the motor voltage, size (most are 2 or 3”), if there is an overflow, or additional outlets besides those in from the washer and out to the sewer.  We’ve included a photo for reference.  The additional outlets are used by some washer manufacturers as overflows or as a connection for a pressure control.  Either way, Tri-State’s Parts Department can get you what you need so that your washer down time will be minimal.