5 Common Dishwasher Problems and What to Do About Them

In most modern homes, a broken dishwasher is a nightmare. Dirty dishes start piling up, arguments ensue over whose responsibility it is to hand-wash them, and repair bills can easily reach into the hundreds of dollars.

Your home warranty should cover these damages but if you’re unsure as to what most home warranties cover then you might want to research a bit about what you have and haven’t got covered. While you might need to call your home warranty provider to get some dishwasher repairs performed, some common problems are easy to troubleshoot and fix at home. Of course, before you start making calls, you need to know whether the problem is one you can easily tackle yourself or if it requires a call to your home warranty company to send out a repairman. Here are some of the most common problems you can have with your dishwasher, along with what to do about fixing them.

1) The Door Leaks

leaky dishwasher

Leaking around the door is usually a sign of a poorly-sealing gasket. Sometimes, this occurs when large pieces of food, debris or build-up stick to the gasket and prevent it from creating a seal. Your first step when faced with a leaky dishwasher is to clean and disinfect the gasket.

While cleaning the gasket, you should be able to see if there are any cracks or other damage to the gasket itself. A damaged gasket will not be able to create a proper seal around your dishwasher’s door, causing leakage.

However, problems with the gasket aren’t the only reason your dishwasher might be leaking. The culprit could be a stuck float switch. A properly-functioning float switch signals to your dishwasher that it is full of water during the wash cycle, causing the water to stop flowing into the machine. If it’s stuck in the down position, water can keep flowing in and will eventually leak out. Clean debris from the float switch and ensure it can move freely. If debris isn’t the problem, the float switch itself may need to be replaced.

2) The Dishes Don’t Get Clean

Dishes Don’t Get Clean
If your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher still covered in bits of food and residue, the problem could be with the machine itself or with the way you’re using it. The most common reason for dishes to stay dirty post-wash is that you’re loading the machine wrong, not scraping the dishes first or even using poor-quality soap.

Check your manual to make sure you’re loading the machine properly — and not overloading it. Make sure nothing is restricting the motion of the sprayer arms. If the way you’re loading the dishwasher isn’t the issue, check the sprayer arm to make sure it can move freely and clean your dishwasher to remove debris. Add a rinse aid to remove spots from your dishes or a water softener to remove white residue.

3) Water Doesn’t Drain Completely From the Dishwasher

Water Doesn’t Drain Completely From the Dishwasher
While it’s normal for there to be a small amount of clean water left in the bottom of a dishwasher following a wash cycle, a dishwasher that doesn’t drain completely is either clogged or has a malfunctioning pump. If you’re wondering how to unclog a dishwasher, you’ll usually first need to check the air gap to find out whether the blockage is in the line or in the drain.

The air gap is a small chrome device that is usually located on your countertop near your sink. If you remove the air gap and dirty water spurts out, the blockage is located in your dishwasher’s hose and could be as simple as a kink in the line. If the air gap is clear, lift the strainer out of the bottom of the dishwasher and clean it, the sprayer arm and the drain. If this doesn’t work, call your home warranty company to send a repairman.

4) The Dishes Don’t Dry

Dishes Don’t Dry
If your dishwasher isn’t drying your dishes, the problem is most likely the heating element or the thermostat. A malfunctioning rinse aid dispenser could also cause dishes not to dry as easily. You may need to call a repairman to evaluate the dishwasher and repair it.

5) The Dishwasher Smells

Funky aromas in the dishwasher are usually the result of old, rotting, wet food. Clean your dishwasher regularly to eliminate and prevent food smells. If the dishwasher has a chemical smell, however, it could be because a plastic dish has fallen onto the heating element and melted. This may require replacement of the heating element, so you should call for service.

If your dishwasher isn’t working properly, you probably want to get it fixed right away. Your home warranty company can help you with the cost of dishwasher repairs, so you can stop hand-washing dishes and get on with your life.

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