How to Troubleshoot a Dishwasher

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The dishwasher is a relatively heavy-duty kitchen appliance. It performs the tough job of thoroughly cleaning dishes that could have considerable grease and residue on them. As a result, there are a few pinch points in its functioning where things are liable to go wrong. While more serious problems will need attention from a professional plumbing technician, you can isolate and probably fix a few common problems to which dishwashers are usually prone.

Dishwasher Does Not Start

If the dishwasher does not turn on, it is not receiving electrical power. This could be an issue with the electrical outlet or fuse. If it turns on but does not start the wash cycle, there could be an issue with the selector switch or motor. You can follow these steps to find the problem:

  • Check the outlet: Make sure that the dishwasher is securely plugged in. You can also check if another appliance plugged into this outlet runs smoothly. If the outlet has a reset button, press it and try again.
  • Check the fuse box: If the appliance still does not turn on, check for a tripped circuit and reset it by turning it on and then off. If a fuse is blown, it has to be replaced.
  • Check the door: If the door does not shut properly, a built-in safety feature prevents the dishwasher from turning on. The cause could be a clogged door gasket or a malfunctioning door switch that needs adjustment.
  • Check the selector switch or timer: If the dishwasher lights turn on but it does not run, it could be a selector switch or timer issue. A professional technician will need to repair it.

Dishwasher Does Not Clean

If the utensils come out dirty, with a film or with spots, it could be due to improper loading, various blockages or hard water.

  • Load the dishes properly: Care should be taken to load the dishes systematically to give adequate access to all surfaces that need to be cleaned. The manufacturer’s manual can guide you. The dishwasher should not be overloaded.
  • Find and clear blockages: Grease and food residue can clog vulnerable parts of the appliance and hamper cleaning. The most common blockages are those of the filter screen and the door gasket. The stems of the spray arms may have developed invisible blockages and will need to be cleaned. The float switch, the inlet valve and connecting hose may be blocked. They may need to be checked and cleaned. This requires a few safety precautions, and the job should be handled by a professional.

Dishwasher Leaks Water

A leaky dishwasher may be the result of a damaged part, a loose-fitting part or a faulty float switch.

  • Check the door gasket and hoses: The door gasket effectively seals the dishwasher while in use. Check the gasket for debris, cracks or a fitting that is loosening due to age. Cleaning it with a disinfectant can help. The intake and drainage hoses could have sprung a leak due to damage or a loosened fit.
  • Use the recommended type of cleaning product: Sometimes, a detergent that produces too many soap suds can overwhelm the appliance and leak through the doors.

Dishwasher Does Not Dry

If the dishes are not drying, it could be a problem with the heating system or the absence of rinse aid.

  • Check the heating unit: If the heating element is not working, it needs to be replaced. The high-limit thermostat that shuts off the heating element after a point may be malfunctioning, and a professional will need to repair or replace it. It is located behind the access panel and can be checked with a multimeter.
  • Check the rinse aid: Even with a rinse-aid built into the dishwashing detergent, a liquid rinse aid is required for efficient drying. Depleted rinse aid or a blocked rinse aid dispenser can cause the dishes to remain damp.

Dishwasher Does Not Drain

If the water remains in the appliance after a complete cycle, there could be a blocked hose or drain. Another reason could be that the knockout plug of the garbage disposal is still intact.

  • Check the hoses: The drain hoses may be blocked, which means they may need cleaning. The same might be the case with the drainage valve and strainer.
  • Check the garbage disposal: When a new garbage disposal is installed, the knockout plug is intact by default. This can prevent the dishwasher from draining into the drainpipe that it shares with the garbage disposal. It might be safer to have a professional check and fix this issue.
  • Check the sink: The sink and drainpipe that leads away from it might develop a blockage that could prevent the dishwasher from draining.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your dishwasher and require professional help in identifying and repairing them, contact us at Greeley Plumbing Heating & A/C in Glenwood, MN, and surrounding areas. We offer heating, cooling, and plumbing services.

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