Mailbag: Slow Water Flow into a Washer, Part I

Craig Raper wrote:

I have a Kenmore washer, model 110.28972891. I read your page about washer water problems. My washer is about 4 years old and we just replaced the pump due to a few small leaks in it. Also a while back the fabric softener dispenser was leaking and it got replaced. We also replaced the hoses recently and after replacing the hoses I could not get much of any cold water flowing. In your write up on this problem you mentioned the inlet screen. I know where the mixing valve is and the solenoid attached to it. How do I get to the inlet screen? I don’t see them at the end of the tubes that the water hoses hook up to, and there are none on the hoses themselves (not on the original ones either). From what I can see on the parts blow-up diagram, there are two solenoids on this valve.

Thanks for any help you can give.

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

You have fought bravely and honorably in this mortal combat with your washer, Grasshopper. And now, the Samurai is here to help you deliver le coup de grace.

The protective screen on your inlet valve is clogged with sediment and probably looks something like this. The recommended practice in this case is to replace the whole valve. Sometimes, you can clean the screen using a Dremel tool with a wire brush attachment or a toothbrush. But, whatever you do, avoid the Cute Plumber’s Trick where you simply remove the screen altogether and then return the valve to normal service. It’s called a protective screen for a reason: to protect the valve from sediment and pipe scale and prevent it from getting stuck open. Let this haiku from the Samurai Scrolls of Appliantology be your victorious katana in this, your Hour of Appliance Repair Misogi:

the bamboo reveals all

Cold water dribbles
lifeless into the washer.
Replace inlet valve.

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As long as you’re poking around back there with the water hoses off the valve, now’s a good time to get rid of those cheesy black rubber hoses which can (and do!) fail without warning, like this one, and install steel-braided hoses–it’s the cheapest flood insurance you can buy!

Oh, I know, you’re saying, "Enlighten me further in the ways of washer flood prevention, oh Ancient Ameliorator of Aging Appliances." Ahh, Grasshopper, the Samurai heard your petition for wisdom before you even knew enough to ask. Come, read the Sacred Samurai Scriptures on preventing washer floods.


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