Figuring Out Your Dishwasher Leak
A dishwasher leak is never fun. Finding out that there’s water dripping all over the floor at the end of a wash cycle makes your life harder instead of easier. Much like a kitchen sink drain, the only good leak is a fixed leak. Last August we looked at some of the common leaks for dishwashers – this August we’re here to look at some more common components that leak in your dishwasher. Plus, we’re also covering some quick ways to fix a leaking dishwasher on your own. Learning a little bit more about your dishwasher can be the key to fixing your issue yourself, which will save you time and money. Once you’ve figured out the problem causing your leaking water, you can decide whether or not you should hire a professional like Anchor Plumbing to help you. So, let’s get down to business – why is a dishwasher leak so important to fix?
Why Fix Your Dishwasher Leak Fast
There are plenty of reasons make sure that you fix your dishwasher problems, even beyond the fact that it’s no fun to clean water up from the floor. A leaking dishwasher can cause long-term and short-term issues. All the excess water can and will lead to mold and mildew problems. Whenever water sits or soaks into wood, carpet, paneling, or other parts of the house, mold and mildew grow in those extra damp places. A leaking dishwasher is a prime suspect for spontaneous mold growth in that part of the house. Even small leaks will end up creating big mold colonies. These leaks can also bring structural problems, since water and mold will both damage the house. Mold and structural damage are expensive to fix but easy to prevent, and that’s why we’re helping you prevent issues with your dishwasher!
Before You Start
There are a few things to do before you start going to work on your household appliance. Run your dishwasher through a normal cycle so that you can inspect it freshly after the cycle is done. Then, unplug your dishwasher and turn off the water to avoid any unfortunate mishaps. Safety is very important when dealing with anything that plugs in! Turning off the dishwasher also ensures that your won’t spill even more water when unscrewing this or that. In addition, you’ll want to gather tools for the diagnosis. A screwdriver and a flashlight should be good to get into most of the parts that will give you problems. Once you’ve discovered the problem, you can go in search of the replacement parts, like gaskets, hoses, pump parts, or a float.
Common, Easy Problems
Also, you should double check two things before you start unscrewing panels and parts from your dishwasher. One, is there anything keeping the door open? And two, are you using the right detergent? Over-sized items can keep the door from sealing, which can lead to leaks. This is an easy thing to work around since you can just make sure that it doesn’t happen again. The same goes for the detergent problem. Using the wrong detergent can lead to the suds overflowing and spilling out, which leaves soapy water all over the floor in front of the dishwasher. Just make sure that you’re following the manual and not using too much or the wrong detergent for your machine. These “leaks” are nice because they aren’t anything wrong with your appliance.
Check & Replace the Door Gasket
Water leaking from the side of the door? The first thing to check is the state of the door gasket. These an degrade over time so that they get cracks or damage, even from the user. A gouge in the gasket will break the watertight seal and lead to a leak. Carefully inspect the whole seal around the door. If the gasket is the problem, it’s easy to fix. Look up the gasket for the make and model of your dishwasher and purchase a replacement. They are very easy to install, and you’ll save money by not hiring someone to do it for you.
Inside the Machine
Gasket isn’t the issue? When the water leaks around the door or from beneath the door, it can be an issue with the internal components, especially the spray arms. These small plastic pieces at the bottom of the dishwasher move and use water (since they spray the dishes with water during the cycle), and over time they can become damaged, warped, cracked, or blocked. When this happens, the water hits or pools at the bottom of the door, where there isn’t a gasket to seal the dishwasher. If these are damaged, you can replace them – although it isn’t as easy as the door gasket.
Access Panel on Front of the Dishwasher
Is the dishwasher leaking from the bottom? There may be an issue with the pump housing or one of its parts. Usually a dishwasher has a panel that you can open up on the bottom of the dishwasher, underneath the dishwasher door. This allows you to access many of the components that commonly leak. This panel covers the water inlet valve, motor, pump, and hoses (including the drain hose). For these, you should feel around the parts and see if there are any wet places or dripping parts. None of these should be leaking, so you’ll be able to tell which parts are bad. Another thing to look for is cracks, warping, or damage on any of the parts. These will need to be replaced. Many of the parts, like the drain hose or valves, can be replaced by you, but if you have to replace the pump we recommend calling someone unless you’re familiar with it.
Check Your Float Switch
The float switch, which is at the bottom of the dishwasher where the dishwasher tub is, prevents the dishwasher from overfilling. Sometimes the float or float switch malfunctions and lets the water level get too high and leak. Check your float to see if it is stuck on something. The float switch may also be bad and need to be replaced. To check if there is a problem with your float or float switch, run the dishwasher until about the middle of the cycle. Then, shut it off and open the door. Check the tub at the bottom of the dishwasher. The water should be right beneath the heating element. Any higher and it may lead to a dishwasher leak. You can replace the float switch with a little elbow grease and know-how. Just make sure you double check the make and model of your dishwasher before getting replacement parts.
A dishwasher that isn’t draining is a huge pain. This can lead to a flooded kitchen, which is many people’s worst nightmare. There are a few things you can do to help prevent a clogged drain or pipe that could cause your dishwasher to flood. One thing is to run hot water through your garbage disposal, since the gross debris and grease can build up and block the pipes. This will lead to issues with the dishwasher if you do your garbage disposing close to your dish washing. Another thing is to occasionally use a drain cleaner for the same reason, especially if you don’t use a garbage disposal and tend to have chunks of food and junk go down the pipes. You can also help your dishwasher run more smoothly by using vinegar to clean the dishwasher every once in a while (once a month or so).
Still Having Trouble?
Don’t worry, these are just a few of the problems that can be plaguing your beloved dishwasher. If you still have a leak, you don’t have to throw out your dishwasher and buy a new one. Just reach out to a local plumber or professional who specializes in household appliances. Additional issues commonly associated with dishwasher leaks are abundant. We wrote a blog post last year covering many of the problems with dishwashers that can lead to leaks. Many problems are just a result of wear and tear over long periods of use. Eventually, you will need to replace parts for your dishwasher, even with the best care and attention. And the best news is that most of the repairs can be done with a screwdriver, a guide, and a trip to Home Depot. We always encourage you to try to fix things that you are comfortable with in order to save time and money!
Looking up your particular model of dishwasher may lead to more specific help than what we can offer here. Every appliance is quirky, and every brand has its own common issues. While not everyone can solve their dishwasher leak problems on their own, any capable professional should be able to help you diagnose and solve your issue and get that dishwasher back up and running soon.