Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

3 Answers

Visible water level in front-load clothes washing machine?

Bought a new front-load washing machine. At no time during any cycle is water visible in the machine, but clothes are damp at the end of operation. Is this normal?

Posted by on

  • Tim T-28 Feb 20, 2009

    We have the same problem with our Whirlpool Duet. I would like to find a way to have the machine add more water during each cycle. I hope this is possible, after doing this manually for awhile are cloths are getting clean and oder free. We can now leave the door open to the washer without any bad smell and we don't have to use all of the cleaning products that I have read about in the bolgs to clean out the washer and drain pump. I need away for the machine to do this without having to add water manually at the beginning of each cycle. If anyone knows how to get the machine to use more water please let me know.



3 Answers

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 20 achievements.


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

  • Master
  • 1,543 Answers

Yes, it is normal. There is water in the machine. One of the big draws for this style machine is that they use much less water than top load machines. If you stopped the cycle and opened the door, dug down in the clothes, you would find water. The machine fills a small amount of water (below the level of the door) and tumbles. As the water is absorbed by the clothing, the water level drops, so the machine adds more to maintain the water level. This is basically how the washer figures out how big your clothes load is and how much water that load needs. (Of course most sales persons at the big box stores and Sears have no idea how this works)
If you'd like, try running a cycle with no clothes to see how much water is in the machine. (It's not a lot) Now remember this: Because there is so much less water use than a top load machine, you must cut way way way back on the amount of soap and fabric softener used. Use no more than one tablespoon of HE (High Efficiency) soap (even less if it is 2x or 3x concentrate) and one teaspoon of fabric softener per load !!!!!
This should be a Fix-Ya for your question. Thanks.

Posted on Dec 14, 2008

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

    Problem Solver:

    An expert who has answered 5 questions.

  • Contributor
  • 15 Answers


I have a Whirlpool DUET (almost - it's actually a Whirlpool AWS 931-1000, which is almost exactly the same machine) and I got sick and tired of clothes that didn't seem clean.

So I:

1) Unplugged the machine
2) Opened it up (2 "star" type screws at top of back panel)
3) Looked for the water level sensor (right side, behind timer)
4) The water sensor looks like a flying saucer
5) Screwed in plastic set screws about 5 times (clockwise)
6) Placed top on washer, screwed it in
7) Plugged in washer
8) Placed a bathrobe in the machine (to give it a load)
9) Turned it on

The machine now has visible water at the bottom of the porthole.

I have a video blog of this experience underway, just look for MY MAN THE MAKER on google and you'll see the whole adventure in photographs so you don't make any mistakes.

After doing this modification (took about 5 minutes) my clothes are now coming out of the washer clean, fresh and NICE

Graham Leach

Posted on Mar 05, 2013

  • Graham Leach Mar 05, 2013



    I have a "almost" Whirlpool DUET (it's actually a Whirlpool AWS 931-1000, which is almost exactly the same machine) and I got sick and tired of clothes that didn't seem clean, which I thought was the result of insufficient / invisible water levels.

    I couldn't care less about Consumer Reports and eco/green feel-good factors/features if my clothing is coming out DIRTY, which what was happening.

    So, after doing the below modification (which took about 5 minutes) my clothes are now coming out of the washer clean, fresh and NICE - which is what the machine is for, no?

    Here's what I did:

    1) Unplugged the machine :)
    2) Opened it up (2 "star" type screws at top of back panel)
    3) Looked for the water level sensor (right side, behind timer)
    4) The water sensor looks like a flying saucer
    5) Screwed in both sensor set screws (clockwise, first 2 then 5 turns)
    6) Replaced top on washer
    7) Screwed top screws back in, just to be safe
    8) Plugged in washer
    9) Put a large bathrobe in the machine (to give it a "hefty" load)
    10) Selected Program 1 (longest)
    11) Turned it on
    12) Watched the action :)

    I have a photo / video blog of the above experience underway, just look for MY MAN THE MAKER on google and you'll see the whole adventure in photographs so you don't make any mistakes.

    After the fix, the machine loaded water until an inch or two showed on the porthole. After a while in the duty cycle (tossing the bathrobe around) it absorbed a lot of the water, but a little tiny bit remained visible.

    Now, if I want to be extra sure of sufficient water in the machine, I just manually add about 2 liters of extra water once the machine has initially filled for the first time (the clothes are sufficiently wet thereafter to made adding water unnecessary). Seeing as the door is locked, I added the water through the TRAY 1 section of the soap dispenser, the section reserved for "pre wash". I normally put ONE SCOOP (about 1 tablespoons) of powdered detergent in TRAY 2 and I never bother to put anything in TRAY 3 (fabric softener). The clothes smell fine without it and they are soft enough now.

    This experience has piqued my interest in washing machines.

    I am now considering developing an ethernet-enabled micro-controller that I will connect to my washer to give me ultimate control over how my clothes are being washed. THat way, I get clothes cleaned the way *I* want rather than the way THEY want. Hahahaha!

    It will also eliminate the "sour smell" that can plague washer

    Oh, it will also tell me when the cycle is done so I don't forget to leave clothes standing in it overnight.

    Graham Leach


  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

MNTECH mentions that with HE front loader machines you need to cut way back on detergent and fabric softener. He says no more than 1 Tbsp. of HE soap and less if concetrated and one tsp. fabric softener? I was so surprised to read this. My question is, why then on the bottle of HE detergent, does it tells you to fill the measuring cup provided to line 3 for large loads 2 for med. etc. this is WAY MORE THAN! a Tbsp. or tsp. Besides them obviously wanting you to buy more of there product why do they tell you so much If it will effect the final result. We just had ours installed 2 days ago. I have been doing quite a few loads trying to catch up from our old top loader kicking the bucket a week ago. I have noticed that the clothes seem to leave a bit of a residue feeling on my hands after folding. i'm assuming it's from too much detergent and fabric softener? I feel like the clothes will not clean properly if I use so little product. Just stuck in my old ways I guess :}

Posted on Feb 20, 2009

1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

Does not clean clothes properly/suds still visible on door at cycle end.should i be able to see a water level on door during cycle non visible at present. Thanks Alan

don't know about water level on side door machines but do know that most people put way to much detergent in with their clothes and frequently then see soap suds in rinse is there is too much detergent.

Apr 02, 2011 | Washing Machines

3 Answers

My new electrolux front loader is not filling with water during the wash cycle. The clothes are soaked, but there is NO extra water in the bottom of the tub. It does have extra water in there during the...

front loader washers fill accourding to how big the load size is on all front load washers.There should be no water above the center with a full load.If it is spinnig out and draining then it is working properly:)

Apr 21, 2010 | Electrolux EIFLW55HIW Front Load Washer...

1 Answer

Whirlpool Duet 9150.. should I be able to see water in the tub when it is washing? There is no visible water level. The clothes are wet but how do they get clean?

water is drawn THROUGH the clothes. There is a BIT of water in the drum - however the water sprays on the clothes during the wash cycle and draws the dirt/water/detergent THROUGH the clothes.

Thanks for using FixYa - a 4 THUMBS rating is appreciated for answering your FREE question.

Sep 07, 2009 | Whirlpool Duet GHW9150P Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Water level too low. clother wet. No water visible or suds. What is wrong.

Your expectations are based on top load washers.
Front load washers use only a very little water, and suds are an enemy. (HE soaps are designed to clean without suds. Suds are really for show and cause drag on the wash tub during spin.) If you start a load with no clothes, you will see that the water level never gets above a couple inches in the tub. That is the correct water level for front loading machines. PS. Because of the low water use, make sure you use very little soap. (one to two tablespoons per load only!)

Aug 12, 2009 | Frigidaire Affinity ATF7000E Front Load...

1 Answer

No water level in new Kenmore HE3T Steam front loader

high effeciency washes use very little water , the water is at the bottom of the drum (not visible )

Jun 07, 2009 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

1 Answer

Water leaks during drain cycle and the machine


If the water leaks during drain and spin only: A washer that leaks only during the drain/spin cycle often has a leak in the main drain hose. Inspect the entire hose and correct any problem you find. Alternatively, the steel or plastic outer tubs can rust, split, or be punctured. This may be most visible during large loads and high water levels. If this happens, you may have to replace the entire outer tub--but that may not be an economical repair to make. Consult a qualified appliance repair technician for further details.

Please do rate this solution as "FixYa" if found useful.


Mar 17, 2009 | Washing Machines

3 Answers

There is no water visible during the wash or rinse cycles

hi there,

may i know exactly the unit that you have

Mar 14, 2009 | Washing Machines

1 Answer

Low water level

It depends on how old the machine is, the newer machines by law,take in way less water but still wash ok. TIP.try it with out load and check water level Ire bye

Nov 04, 2007 | Whirlpool GHW9200L Front Load Washer

1 Answer

LG1812CW Walks During Spin Cycle

The rear 2 legs are fixed. The front 2 are adjustable. There are lock nuts to prevent the adjustment from coming loose. The front legs are to be adjusted to the minimum. While not running if the machine rocks, continue the adjustment. For few clothes there is a half load switch; best the read the manual well before anything. Well if the walking continues, check the rear for any shocks or springs that may hv fallen off during transport. Plug off the wall socket first.

May 28, 2007 | LG WM1812C Front Load Washer

Not finding what you are looking for?
Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer Logo

2,327 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Kenmore Washing Machines Experts

Ron Lankford

Level 3 Expert

5386 Answers


Level 3 Expert

662 Answers


Level 2 Expert

65 Answers

Are you a Kenmore Washing Machine Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides