Washing Machine Water Level Switch – Has It Failed?

Your washer has a water level switch. This small part can cause all kinds of trouble when it malfunctions. Here, you'll learn about those troubles and find information that can help you troubleshoot the machine to see if the water level switch is the root of your washing machine's issues.

How the Water Level Switch Works

This part senses the water level inside the wash tub. An air-filled plastic tube determines how much water is in the tub. As the water fills, it fills the tube increasing the air pressure inside. Once the air pressure reaches a certain level, the switch flips and stops the water flow to the tub.

Problems Caused by Water Level Switch Failure

If the water level switch has failed or is beginning to fail, you'll experience one, or a combination of these seven problems.

  1. The washing machine doesn't work at all or even make sounds like it's trying to work.
  2. The agitator doesn't move anymore.
  3. The drum won't spin.
  4. The clothes are very, very wet even after the spin cycle.
  5. The washing machine doesn't fill with enough water to wash the clothes.
  6. The water overflows from the machine.
  7. Hot and cold water won't fill the tub.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, it's time to do some troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting a Water Level Switch

You'll need:

The owner's manual – if you don't have one, you can use the model number to find it online.

  • Screwdrivers
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Flashlight
  • Multitester

Remove the screws holding the back panel in place. Stick the screws to a piece of tape so you can find them easily when the project is complete.

Inspect the Air Tube – Refer to the manual to find out the exact placement of the air tube. Now look at it to make sure there isn't any damage or kinks that could prevent it from working properly. Check for water inside and make sure that it is securely fastened to the outer tub base. If the connections are loose, tighten them. If the tube is damaged, replace it.

Test the Water Level Switch

Use the masking tape to label the connectors on the switch and the wires they are connected to. You want to get them hooked back up properly when you've completed the project.

There are three possible pairs to test using the multitester tool. Test 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 1 and 3. The tool should give you a reading of infinity for two of the pairs and one should read continuity.

Blow some air into the air tube and perform the test again. The two pairs that gave you an infinity reading before should now be giving you a continuity reading. The one that gave you the continuity reading should now be infinity.

If the switch doesn't pass this test, it's time to replace it.

If you are uncomfortable completing this project on your own, contact your local appliance repair professional, like D& S  Appliance, for assistance.