The modern dishwasher is a great time saver, and once you move away from washing dishes by hand, it’s extremely hard to go back. So, when your dishwasher starts to develop some issues, it can be very disruptive to your daily routine. It’s important to get on top of the situation before it gets worse and many people call a plumber straight away. But, there are a few less serious dishwasher issues that anyone can fix if they know how. Let’s take a closer look at some common dishwasher issues that you can easily diagnose and repair yourself.
Finding a Water Leak
The dishwasher is designed to thoroughly clean your dishes without spilling a single drop of water. But, water leaks can develop over time if certain parts are damaged or they fail. If you’re using an older dishwasher model, some of the components can fail due to the age of the machine and gradual wear and tear. This can also lead to water leaks that can cause damage to other parts of your home if they are not detected and fixed quickly. So, if you notice any signs of water spray or pooling around the dishwasher, there could be a leak in one of the following three areas.
The Water Supply
There is a pipe or hose that connects your dishwasher to the water source for your home. This hose supplies the water to the water inlet on your dishwasher. If the machine has been moved recently that connection could have become loose. Another possibility is that the gasket around the water inlet has failed. In both of these cases, water will be leaking from the dishwasher’s water inlet connection. The connection should be tightened, or a new gasket should be fitted to stop the leak.
The Dishwasher Door
As you open your dishwasher door, you can see that it’s lined all the way around with a rubber gasket. This is very similar to the type of gasket that you would find around a refrigerator door too. If there is a break in this gasket or if it’s become brittle and cracked in places due to age, it can be a source of a water leak. In this case, identify the gasket you need, pull off the old gasket and fit the new one.
Under the Dishwasher
This is more complicated than the first two leak sources shown above. If the water leak is coming from underneath the dishwasher there are three possible places that could be the source; they are the drain, the water inlet, and the pump seal. The leaks in these areas are caused by a variety of issues, such as cracked gaskets, broken pumps, loose connections, and failed hose clamps. Identify the exact source can be tricky and some trial and error may be required. If the area is dried thoroughly, it will be easier to notice where the water is pooling, and this will help you to locate the leak.
How to Look for a Water Leak
When you’re searching for a water leak, it can be tempting just to start looking with no preparation. This will make the task harder, so it’s a good idea to do a little advanced planning, to make things go easier. First, get a flashlight and clear out the area under the kitchen sink so you can see what you’re doing and don’t knock anything over. Take off the dishwasher kick plate and take a good look around for any signs of water spray or pooling. If the dishwasher isn’t mounted to the cabinets or countertop, you could even pull the machine forward to get a better look behind. If you do this go slowly and carefully to avoid breaking or snagging any hoses.
How to Fix the Water Leak
If you find that the source of the leak is a loose connection you’re in luck, all you need to do is tighten the connection, and the leak is fixed. If the source is a failed pump or gasket, then you will need to check the manufacturer’s website to find the replacement part and some advice on how to install it. This may seem daunting, but the instructions on how to fix these problems are very simple in many cases. If you’re still not confident about carrying out a repair, you can always contact a local certified plumber
for an expert repair.
The Dishwasher Will Not Wash
A water leak is an annoyance, but at least it’s pretty easy to identify the problem in most cases, and it can be simple to fix. It’s not advisable, but the dishwasher can still be used; if you don’t mind cleaning up the water and you’re willing to risk hidden water damage that will be expensive to fix. But, if the dishwasher will not wash at all the machine is totally useless until it’s been repaired. Let’s take a look at three common reason why a dishwasher stops washing completely.
The Float Switch
The float switch is a plastic cone or disc that’s attached to the dishwasher floor. It can move up, and down a little, when the dishwasher has filled with enough water for a cycle, the float switch is supposed to rise. This is intended to let the machine know that there is enough water in the machine to wash the dishes. But, if the float switch is stuck in an “up” position by a rogue fork tine or accumulated soap scum, it will not rise. There will be no water supplied to the machine because it already thinks it’s full. Carefully cleaning the float switch and ensuring that it’s free to move can fix this issue. The float switch can even break off entirely, and in this case, it will need to be replaced with a new switch.
Water Supply Problems
If you can draw water at your kitchen sink, you will know if you have a water supply problem. Check the under sink valve to make sure that it’s diverting water to the dishwasher. If the valve is open, follow the hose to ensure that there are no kinks to stop the flow of water.
The Door Sensor
Every modern dishwasher has a door sensor as a built-in safety mechanism. This will prevent the flow of water if the door hasn’t been latched shut and if the latch isn’t working that could be the source of the problem. Sometimes, an item in the dishwasher can prevent the door from closing properly, and the door sensor will stop the water. If the latch is working the electronic switch used to control the water flow could be malfunctioning, and it will need replacement.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.