Washing machines need a constant supply of water to operate properly. Depending on the region, they may require hot and cold water, while others can fully operate only using cold water.

Regardless, both washing machine types need a regulated water supply, which can easily be done using valves. They are installed for safety and practical reasons, but should washing machine valves be fully open, and why?

Let’s find out!

Should Washing Machine Valves Be Fully Open
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Should Washing Machine Valves Be Fully Open?

There are two types of washing machine valves: internal (built into the washing machine) and external (typically mounted on the wall).

You should fully open the external valves if you constantly use the machine. If not, you should turn them off to prevent water from going to the machine unnecessarily.

Internal valves are operated automatically by the washing machine itself, and there is nothing you can do to manipulate them.

I will cover both valve types in the following section so that you can better understand them and know if they’re fully open or closed.

Read more: Do I Need A Check Valve For Washing Machine?

Understanding the Types of Washing Machine Valves

As I’ve said in the previous section, internal and external washing machine valves let water pass through the washing machine.

Internal washing machine valves

The internal valves are built into the back of the washing machine and are automatically controlled by the machine’s computer. 

They are also called solenoid valves because they open and close with the help of a solenoid. Moreover, a washing machine can have one of two types of internal valves:

  • Hot and cold water internal valves
  • Cold water internal valves

A machine with built-in hot and cold valves is designed to receive hot and cold water through an external source. You can easily recognize this machine type because it has two separate valves built-in at the back.

If a machine only has one cold water internal valve, it has built-in water heaters that help heat up the water.

Furthermore, washing machines with hot and cold water inlets may be more cost-effective because they don’t spend extra electricity on heating the water internally.

External washing machine valves
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External washing machine valves

External washing machine valves are frequently attached to the wall. You can manually control these valves to turn the water supply on or off. 

Type of ValveOperationUsed For
Stop valve (Globe Valve)Takes several hand movements to close or open. Uses a rubber washer to stop the flow of water.Commonly used in plumbing fixtures and is only designed to regulate water.
Gate valveTakes several hand movements to open or close. Uses a “Gate” system to close the flow of water.They are commonly used as main water inlet valves because of their large opening for water to pass through.
Ball valveOnly turns a ¼ of a turn to open or close the water flow.Used for water, gas, or oil regulation.

Washing machines are most frequently attached to ball valves. These valves are easy to operate, more reliable, and have a longer lifespan than the other valve types.

Why Should Washing Machine Valves Be Fully Open?

External valves should provide maximum water flow at all times while the machine is fully operational. 

If you only open an external valve halfway, it will not supply the machine with water quickly enough. This will slow the machine’s operation time and lead to other electronically related defects.

That is why it’s always a best practice to fully open external valves when the washing machine is in operation.

On the other hand, if you’re not planning on using the machine for a longer period, then it’s better to close the valves and turn off the water supply.

This will prevent the water from putting constant pressure on the internal valves and the water hose and avoid causing leakage.

Also read: How Far To Open Washing Machine Valve?

How to recognize if a washing machine valve is fully open

If you’re wondering how to recognize when a valve is in a fully open position, then all you need to do is look and ensure it’s facing the same direction as the washing machine’s hose.

On the other hand, a closed valve will often be facing a different direction than the direction of the machine’s hose.


It is crucial to fully open the external washing machine valves when the machine is in operation. By doing so, the valves provide maximum water flow, ensuring the machine operates efficiently and effectively.

Opening the valves halfway can lead to slower operation times and electronic issues.

On the other hand, if the washing machine will not be used for an extended period, it is best to close the valves to prevent constant pressure on internal components, reducing the risk of leakage.

Recognizing if a valve is fully open is simple; it should be facing the same direction as the washing machine’s hose.