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How to Adjust the Water Level on a Washing Machine

Modern clothes washing machines are equipped with a water-level control that typically includes at least two settings, and up to five on higher-end models. Each setting lets you adjust the amount of water flowing into the tub for a wash cycle. Adjusting the water level to a lower setting helps you conserve water and money on your utility bill, including electricity when you need to wash clothes in hot or warm water.

The middle control on this washing machine adjusts the water level.
  1. Load the washing machine drum with the amount of laundry you wish to clean. Add detergent in a measurement that's appropriate for the load. Recommended quantities of detergent are usually listed on the package.

  2. Push in the wash cycle control knob, which is usually the largest of the knobs on a dial-control machine. Turn clockwise to the desired cycle. On a push-button model, press the button for the desired wash cycle.

  3. Dial the water level control to the desired setting, typically "Low," "Medium" or "High," depending on the amount of laundry you have added to the machine. Inexpensive washers may have only two settings. Costlier machines may have multiple settings or an "infinite adjustment" that lets you dial more precisely--for example, in-between medium and high.

  4. Press the "Start" button on a push-button washer or pull the cycle control knob to begin the wash cycle.