Getting your clothes clean is all about water temperature and choice of detergent. If you have trouble regulating your washer's water temperature, your water inlet valve may be at fault.
This article follows up on the first article: Washer Woes: Part One - Water Temperature. If you've already read Part One and are still having problems regulating your washer's water temperature, read on to learn how to examine, test, and replace your water inlet valve.
Water enters the water inlet valve through two hoses that originate from the hot and cold water taps in your wall. Solenoids inside the water inlet valve respond to the temperature selector switch and create the selected water temperature. The mixed hot and cold water exits the water inlet valve through a common hose, filling your washer with the correct temperature of water.
Never attempt any repairs or maintenance on your washer without making sure the power to your washer is disconnected - you could be seriously injured if the power isn't disconnected.
The water inlet valve is located at the back of your washer (inside the cabinet). Before examining the water inlet valve, check the water flow. Shut off the water taps (at the wall) and disconnect the hoses from the back of the washer. Place the disconnected end of each hose in an empty bucket and turn on the water. Now check the flow of water and to make sure the hoses aren't blocked.
If the water flow appears to be correct, remove and examine the water inlet valve. The valve is held in place by two screws. Remove the screws and then disconnect the valve's washer fill hose by loosening the clamp that holds the hose in place on the valve.
Now that the valve is removed, use a small, flat-head screwdriver to pop out the valve's inlet screens. Carefully inspect and clean any debris from the screens. Be careful not to damage the screens - they cannot be replaced. If the screens are free of debris, the next step is to test the valve.
To test the water inlet valve, locate the wires attached to the terminals on each solenoid. Label the wires prior to removal so you can remember how to reconnect them. The wires are secured in place by metal slip-on connectors. When disconnecting the wires, use needle nose pliers to remove the connector from the terminal. Pull the connector, not the wire. If the terminals and connectors are rusty or corroded, replace the valve.
If the connections are fine, test your water inlet valve for continuity. You can do this with a multitester. Set your multitester to the ohms resistance scale X1.
Each solenoid has two terminals. Test one solenoid at a time by taking each of your meter's probes and touching one to each terminal. Readings can be different for each brand or model, but if you get a result of infinity, then the solenoid is damaged and the valve should be replaced.
To replace the old valve with a new one, connect the fill hose to the new valve and secure it in place with the screws. Attach the wires to the solenoid terminals, and the water hot and cold water hoses to the valve openings. When everything is secured, turn on the water. Check the water inlet valve and hoses for leaks before turning on your washing machine and running it through a cycle.
Sometimes there is no way of knowing what is wrong with your water inlet valve and replacing it may be the only solution. If you find this repair difficult to do, or if you don't have an ohmmeter or a multimeter, contact a service technician.
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