Two Common Automatic Dishwasher Problems with Possible Causes and Fixes

denver-dishwasher-repair.pngAutomatic dishwashers are usually reliable and operate without much fanfare; however, like all appliances, they are subject to breakdowns and assorted problems, especially as they age. Knowing what these are can help you make a determination about repair options and better inform you about the odds of successfully making the repair yourself.

Below are two common dishwasher problems as well as a few possible causes and fixes:

Leaking from the Dishwasher
There are multiple locations for dishwasher leaks, and locating where water is coming from can be challenging at times. Here are a few of the most common leak points.

Door Seal
The door seal, or gasket, on a dishwasher surrounds the opening of the tub, and its purpose is simple: keep water from passing out of the tub during operation. These seals can wear out over time due to constant compression and exposure to heat. If they lose their flexibility, the seals can remain flat and fail to form a tight seal against the door.

Check the door seal by inserting a piece of letter-sized paper into the space between the door and tub and then closing the dishwasher. Leave a corner of the paper protruding and attempt to pull it out. If the paper grabs or tears, then the seal is probably still in good condition and not the cause of your leak.

However, if the paper freely pulls out of the door, then the seal is likely due for replacement. You can replace the seal yourself, but be sure you know what you are doing before beginning. Otherwise, your dishwasher may develop other leaks, and you couldmake the mess even worse than before.

Pumps and Internal Plumbing
The drain pump operates to remove the dirty water and food particles from the tub. Likewise, the inlet pump adds clean water to the tub. Both pumps are attached to a plastic drain hose that leads to the tie-in with the sink drain. Remove the front lower cover of the dishwasher, and then take a flashlight and look beneath the dishwasher during operation. If you spot water dripping from the pumps or hoses, then you know there is probably a leak at a joint or at the device itself.

If you suspect there is a leak, you can attempt to tighten the hose clamps that hold the hoses to the pumps and other fittings. Before attempting that, be sure to turn off the power to the dishwasher—there may be exposed electrical connections beneath the unit—and use adequate lighting to see the hose clamps. Tighten the clamps with a screwdriver and replace the front lower cover before restoring power.

Water Won't Drain from the Tub
Another frustrating problem encountered by dishwasher owners is a tub that won't drain. This leaves a disgusting mess that must be emptied by hand with a container. A failure to drain can be due to a couple of causes, including the following.

Clogged Drain Hose
The drain hose transfers the used, dirty water to the sink drain in most instances, though some hoses connect to another exit or are routed directly outdoors. No matter the circumstance, drain hoses can become clogged due to the disposal of certain foods or substances. For example, dry rice can expand inside a drain hose and block it completely.

To check for a drain-hose clog, you may need to disconnect the end attached to the sink drain and gently explore the interior of the tube with a flexible object. For example, you can push an opened wire coat hanger into the hose and carefully push inside the tube for signs of blockage. In other situations, the entire hose may need to be disconnected and replaced or flushed out.

Failed Drain Pump
If the hose doesn't seem to be clogged, then the drain pump may have failed and need replacing. The drain pump is subject to intense conditions and can be damaged if its impeller is jammed and causes the pump to burn out.

You may be able to tell whether a broken drain pump is the cause of the non-emptying tub if you hear a buzzing sound at the end of the wash or rinse cycle. Otherwise, the pump will need to be removed and tested by an appliance professional to make a firm determination.

Call HomeSmart From Xcel Energy (1-866-837-9762) to get started with a professional repair. 

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