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Dishwasher Leaks

Step-by-step techniques for fixing a dishwasher that leaks.

If you have nuisance water leaks around the base of your dishwasher, you may be using a detergent that is sudsing too much. Cut back on the amount of detergent you use and see if that makes a difference.

Water that spills through the door vent is usually caused by improperly loaded dishes. Leaks from the door itself may be caused by a faulty door gasket or faulty door tightness adjustment.

Also make sure the dishwasher is sitting level (you can adjust the front feet up or down, and many units have some type of levelers at the rear).

Water under the dishwasher may be originating from a leaky hose or loose hose connection. Remove the lower front panel and check the hoses. The pump seal may be defective, too; replacing this is a job for a repair person.

An older dishwasher may have become corroded at the bottom, but this is fairly uncommon. However, if this is the case with your dishwasher, it’s definitely time to invest in a new one.

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

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Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

Following a cycle, a small pool of clean water inside the tub is normal. An excessive amount of water means the pump isn’t pumping water out properly, the drain hose isn’t carrying it to the drainpipe, or the house’s drain lines are backed up.[GARD align=”left”]

If dirty water spews from the air gap, the drain line is kinked or clogged. (If you’ve recently installed a garbage disposer, be sure the knockout plug for the dishwasher was removed when the connection was made; see your disposer instructions.)

1Remove the cover from the air gap at the top of the sink (usually a short chrome domed cylinder that sits at the back of the sink), and, using a stiff wire, clean it out. Also check the entire length of the drain hose for kinks or blockages, especially at the drain connection to the disposer or drain line.

Lift out the strainer at the base of the dishwasher.

2Once the dishwasher is cool, shut off the power to it, and—if your dishwasher is made to allow this—remove the strainer (shown at right), located under the bottom spray arm at the base of the cabinet. Unscrew the hubcap, lift the spray arm off, and remove any clips that hold the strainer to get it out. Scrub it clean with a brush and then replace it.

3Determine whether the sink trap or house drain line is clogged. If the sink is backing up, the drain is clogged. If this is the problem, see Sink & Drain Repairs.

4If the dishwasher still doesn’t drain properly, the drain hose may be clogged or the drain valve may need replacement. You can check the drain hose for obstructions, but this usually involves pulling the dishwasher out from under your counter to access the hose, disconnecting the hose at both ends, and flushing it out with a faucet or garden hose, or replacing it with a new hose (see dishwasher hose repair kits).

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

Dishwasher Doesn't Drain

Following a cycle, a small pool of clean water inside the tub is normal. An excessive amount of water means the pump isn’t pumping water out properly, the drain hose isn’t carrying it to the drainpipe, or the house’s drain lines are backed up.[GARD align=”left”]

If dirty water spews from the air gap, the drain line is kinked or clogged. (If you’ve recently installed a garbage disposer, be sure the knockout plug for the dishwasher was removed when the connection was made; see your disposer instructions.)

1Remove the cover from the air gap at the top of the sink (usually a short chrome domed cylinder that sits at the back of the sink), and, using a stiff wire, clean it out. Also check the entire length of the drain hose for kinks or blockages, especially at the drain connection to the disposer or drain line.

Lift out the strainer at the base of the dishwasher.

2Once the dishwasher is cool, shut off the power to it, and—if your dishwasher is made to allow this—remove the strainer (shown at right), located under the bottom spray arm at the base of the cabinet. Unscrew the hubcap, lift the spray arm off, and remove any clips that hold the strainer to get it out. Scrub it clean with a brush and then replace it.

3Determine whether the sink trap or house drain line is clogged. If the sink is backing up, the drain is clogged. If this is the problem, see Sink & Drain Repairs.

4If the dishwasher still doesn’t drain properly, the drain hose may be clogged or the drain valve may need replacement. You can check the drain hose for obstructions, but this usually involves pulling the dishwasher out from under your counter to access the hose, disconnecting the hose at both ends, and flushing it out with a faucet or garden hose, or replacing it with a new hose (see dishwasher hose repair kits).

Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

How a Dishwasher Works

Dishwasher Parts Diagram  ©HomeTips

A description of how dishwashers work with a diagram of their inner workings

Despite the magic it performs in the kitchen, a dishwasher is actually quite simple—it is essentially a watertight box that sprays dishes with hot water and soap, drains out the dirty water, and then dries the dishes.

All of this is operated by controls that may be very simple or quite complex. The controls tell the system when to spray, when to release detergent from a dispenser, when to extract water from the tub and pump it back through the system, when to rinse and remove the rinse water, and when to turn on the heating element.

Hot water is delivered to the interior of a dishwasher through a supply hose that connects to a water supply valve, typically mounted under the sink. To shut off the water to the dishwasher, you close this valve. The other end of the supply hose connects to a water inlet valve inside the dishwasher. The inlet valve, electronically connected to the controls, opens and closes to supply water to spinning spray arms. These spray arms, usually at both the top and bottom of the tub, are like a high-pressure sprinkler system that sprays the dishes clean.[GARD align=”left”]

Dirty water collects at the base of the interior chamber, moves through a filter, and is pumped back through the system during the early wash cycles. When all of the cleaning and rinsing cycles are finished, the pump sends the dirty water out through a drainpipe. Then an electric heating element heats up to dry the dishes.

Problems with proper cleaning usually arise if the water is not hot enough (140 degrees F. is optimal) or if your water is too hard. How hard is your water? See How to Test for Hard Water. Also, when operating your dishwasher, use the right amount of soap for your water type—1 teaspoon per grain of water hardness.
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Call for free estimates from local appliance pros now:
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How to Install or Replace a Dishwasher

The Inner Workings of a Dishwasher   ©HomeTips

Expert step-by-step instructions on replacing or installing a dishwasher 

For the average do-it-yourselfer, putting in a dishwasher is an uncomplicated process that takes just a few hours and some basic tools.

If you are replacing an existing dishwasher, there won’t be any mystery about the best place to put the new one. If you’re installing a dishwasher where there wasn’t one before, the only consideration for placement is that the appliance’s door be able to open fully without knocking into anything.

Before starting any work, turn off the power and place a 3-by-3-foot piece of plywood on the floor to protect it.

Dishwashers come with complete instructions for installation; make sure you follow them precisely. The guidelines provided here will give you an idea of the basic parameters of the job.

Hookups for a Dishwasher

You will need a GFCI-protected, 120-volt electrical receptacle to plug the machine into. The most convenient location is against the back wall of the cabinet below the sink.[GARD align=”left”]

The dishwasher must connect to the hot water supply of the sink. The hookup is generally a copper tube with an outside diameter of 3/8 inch. A flexible hose also goes from the waste outlet of the dishwasher to a tee above the drain trap of the sink or to the dishwasher inlet of the garbage disposal. You simply knock out the plug inside the dishwasher nipple.

If you are connecting to the drain trap of the sink, simply exchange part of the drain’s tailpiece for a dishwasher tailpiece, using a hacksaw or tubing cutter, and make the connection with slip nuts and washers. The dishwasher tailpiece will have a T-shaped nipple that connects to the drain hose of the dishwasher.

Dishwasher Air Gap

Many local building codes require a dishwasher to connect to an air gap before the connection to a garbage disposer. This keeps wastewater from backing up into the appliance. You must purchase the air gap separately. Mount it on top of or next to the sink. Connect one flexible hose to the drain of the dishwasher, and connect the other flexible hose to the trap of the sink or to the disposer’s dishwasher inlet. If your local codes do not require an air gap, you can shape the drain hose of the dishwasher into a high arc instead.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The instructions given here are for installing a new dishwasher where there wasn’t one before. Obviously, if you are replacing an old one, you will need to take it out first. To do that job, just reverse these installation directions.

Unplug the dishwasher or turn off the circuit breaker to disconnect the power before you do anything else. Next, shut off the water supply valve, which is typically located under the sink. If you can’t find a shutoff valve, you will have to turn off the main house water shutoff and then open a faucet to drain the pipes.

HomeTips Pro Tip: If the dishwasher does not have a dedicated shutoff valve, this would be a good time to install a special dual-outlet shutoff like the one shown in Step 1.[GARD align=”right”]

Use a power drill to bore holes for the drain hose, water supply tube, and power cord at the back lower corner of the sink base cabinet.

After installation, it is important to adjust the appliance’s front feet to level and align it with the cabinets and countertop. Screw the unit to the underside of the counter. Turn the water supply back on and look for leaks.

Plug in the dishwasher. If installation requires any hard-wiring, refer to the HomeTips section on Electrical Wiring.

1To install a shutoff valve for the dishwasher, first shut off the house’s main valve. Disconnect the sink water supply tube from the valve, drain it into a bucket, and then unscrew the shutoff valve from the supply nipple with a wrench. Wind pipe-wrap tape around the nipple’s threads, and screw a new dual-outlet valve onto it.


2Install the dishwasher’s air gap through a properly sized unused hole in the sink top (punch out the hole plug with a hammer). Insert the air gap, and then, using slip-joint pliers, secure it from above with a locknut and push its cover into place.

 

3Position the dishwasher near its opening, and then push the hose, supply tube, and power cord through holes drilled in the back corner of the sink base cabinet. As you walk the dishwasher into place, be careful not to pinch or tangle these connectors.

 

4Reconnect the sink’s supply tube to the dual-outlet valve, and connect the flexible supply tube to the valve’s second outlet and the dishwasher’s inlet. Then tighten with an adjustable wrench until snug.

 

5Slip one hose clamp over each end of the short drain hose that will run from the garbage disposer to the large outlet on the air gap, and cinch the clamps until tight. Then do the same with the longer drain hose, running it from the smaller outlet on the air gap to the drain fitting at the base of the dishwasher.

 
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