- The solenoid valve is an important part of your washing machine. It’s responsible for regulating water flow, allowing the machine to fill with water, wash clothes, and drain out used water. The solenoid valve is often located at the bottom of the washing machine, usually near the drain pump, and is turned on and off by a control board or timer. Whether looking to replace a valve in your washing machine or are just curious to know how these devices work, we have discussed all you need to know in the sections below.
What is a Solenoid Valve?
A solenoid valve is a type of control valve that uses electricity to regulate or control the flow of liquid or gas. When you flip the switch on your washing machine and configure the settings, you power the machine and the solenoid valve. The valve consists of three main components: the solenoid, a plunger and a diaphragm.
A solenoid is made of an inductive coil that becomes magnetic when an electric field is passed through it. The plunger is a movable core that closes or opens the orifice in the valve, allowing or restricting fluid flow. On the other hand, the diaphragm controls the opening and closing of the valve.
There are two main types of solenoid valves: normally open (NO) and normally closed (NC). The difference between these two types is how they work. In an NC valve, current flows through a coil and opens the valve, while in an NO valve, current flows through a coil and closes the valve.
When an electric current passes through the inductive coil, a magnetic field is created, which attracts the plunger, opening the valve (NC valve) and allowing fluid flow. Once the power is off, the coil becomes demagnetized, and the spring action pulls back the plunger, closing the orifice and restricting fluid flow.
Functions of Solenoid Valves in Washing Machines
Solenoid valves used in washing machines are also known as automatic drain valves or motorized actuated valves. They are designed to automatically drain water from the washing machine at the end of every cycle. These valves are becoming increasingly popular in the market thanks to their efficiency, reliability and durability. Solenoid valves can also be used as inlet/feed valves or control valves to regulate the flow of cold and hot water into the machine.
Depending on the specific function, these valves often have different ratings and design specifications. Solenoid valves often vary based on their circuit functions (i.e., 2-way or 3-way), Valve operation (NO or NC), and valve working principles (direct acting, indirect-acting, and semi-direct acting). Most washing machines use direct-acting valves.
Choosing a Solenoid Valve for Washing Machines
Washing machines come fully operational with fully-configured parts and components. That means you probably won’t need a solenoid valve unless the existing one is faulty. Similarly, you can choose a washing machine based on the type of solenoid valve installed. That means you’ll need to consult widely and do your research to know exactly the type of solenoid valve installed and whether it meets your needs and expectations.
Whether buying a new washing machine or replacing a faulty solenoid valve in your old machine, there are several considerations you should make. First, you should know what you want from your washing machine: in terms of quality and efficiency. Here are the other factors to consider:
- Environmental conditions. If you plan on using the washing machine in a high-moisture environment, you must ensure the solenoid valve is rated for those conditions. This will ensure that the electrical components of the valve, such as the coil, won’t be exposed to moisture that could damage it.
- Speed. Most solenoid valves you’ll find in the market takes up to 30 seconds to respond to a switch button. Such a machine would be slow and inefficient if you work in a high-traffic environment. Some of the best washing machines have solenoid valves that only take 8 to 10 seconds to open or close.
- Pressure requirements. If you need a larger-size washing machine or already have one, the solenoid valve should be rated for medium to high-pressure applications. That way, you will avoid breakdowns and damage to the sensitive machine parts.
- Price. As much as you want to buy a quality product, you still want to get the best value for your money. Always choose a valve that’s premier quality with reasonable pricing.
Make the Right Choice Today!
Like most components in your washing machine, solenoid valves should be chosen keenly to ensure optimal and safe operation. When buying a washing machine or a solenoid valve replacement, always go for the quality products that have been in the market for a long time. That way, you are guaranteed the durability and ease of getting spare parts if you need some in the future.