Dishwasher Repair Tips
Dishwasher Won’t Turn On
- First determine that the appropriate voltage is being supplied. For electronic controls there should be indicator LEDS that light up when buttons are pressed, which indicates a power supply is present.
- On mechanical timer machines, rotate the timer slowly through a complete rotation. If any noises are heard, other than the timer itself clicking, there is an adequate power supply. If it is found that there is no power to the dishwasher check the breaker.
- It is NOT sufficient to visually check a breaker; you must turn it completely off, count to five, and then turn it all the way on. Try the dishwasher again. If there is still no indication of power being supplied, remove the kick plate and locate the metal box where the house wiring comes into the dishwasher.
- Turn the breaker off; remove the box cover on the dishwasher if one is present. You should see three wires coming in, a black, a white, and a green. The black and the white should be connected by wire nuts to the matching colored wires from the machine. The green may be likewise connected, or may be directly connected to the machine frame. This is a ground wire and is designed to prevent electrical a shock. Remove the wire nuts from the black wire and the white wire. Separate the black and white house wiring wires so that they do not touch each other or any metal.
- Turn the breaker back on and, using a multi meter, check that 110-125 VAC is being supplied. If no power is present, you have a house wiring or breaker problem, and should call a licensed electrician. If power is present, the problem is in the dishwasher.
- The next step would be to turn the breaker back off and remove the door liner. The door latching mechanism operates a switch or switches that trip when the door is closed, and allow(s) power to flow to the timer or control board. Check the latch mechanism to make sure it is operating the switch(es), and check the switch(es) for proper opening and closing.
- The next thing to check is the timer or control board; check for the appropriate voltage at the timer or control board. Many control boards have a fuse that will also need to be checked for continuity across the connections.
Dishwasher Wont Drain
Determine if the pump motor runs during the drain portion of the cycle. If it is not running, check for the appropriate voltage (105 – 125 VAC) at the pump motor. If voltage is present, replace the pump, if no voltage, replace the control/timer. If the motor runs, but no, or very little water flows, check the connection point of the drain hose to the disposer or drain bib. If the disposer is new, check that the factory installed drain plug has been removed, Also check for a clog of grease or other residue. Check the sump area inside the dishwasher for any foreign material that may be blocking the intake. Finally remove the drain hose from the dishwasher end. It would be wise to have a large, low profile container to catch the drain water, and some old towels to mop up the mess. A wet/dry vacuum is helpful to empty the dishwasher tub. When the drain hose is disconnected from the dishwasher, the remaining water in the tub should run out freely. If it does, the drain hose is clogged; if it does not, the check valve may be stuck, or there may be a clog or restriction at the connection.
Dishwasher Has Burning Odor
- This is caused primarily by some foreign object touching the heat element during it operation, or a mineral build up on the element.
- In some cases the dishwasher motor may have a bad bearing causing it to overheat, or a drain solenoid is being supplied constant power, causing it to burn up.
- The greatest cause of dishwasher leaks is using too much or the wrong type of detergent which results in over-sudsing. Dishwasher doors only seal around the top and sides. The bottom of the tub has an elevated lip at the front to contain the water. When over sudsing occurs, the suds exceed the height of the lip allowing the sudsy water to spill over.
- The quickest cure is to add a cup of cooking oil to the water in the tub, and let the cycle complete. Rewash the dishes to remove any oil residue.
- It should also be noted that prewashing with a liquid dish detergent and then placing the dishes in the dishwasher without thoroughly rinsing, can also cause the over sudsing condition.
Dishwasher Won’t Stop
- This problem is primarily confined to dishwashers with mechanical timers; the timer will have to be replaced. Electronically controlled dishwashers have a turgidity sensor which determines how often the water is drained and refilled.
- A bad sensor or control board, in rare instances, can cause the dishwasher to drain and fill repeatedly.
Dishwasher Won’t Complete The Cycle
- Possible causes are a bad timer or control board, bad motor, or some other failure which has been noted by the electronic control which then stops the dishwasher.
- Look for an “E” or “F” followed by a number, a letter abbreviation, or a flashing light sequence, which is indicating the error or fault. When these occur, it is important to determine if the fault actually occurred, the sensor is bad, or the control itself is bad.
Dishwasher Won’t Fill
- Make sure that the supply valve under the sink is turned on. Remove the kick plate, turn off the breaker, locate the inlet valve where the water line connects to the dishwasher and disconnect the electrical connector.
- Turn the breaker back on, set the timer to fill, shut the door (making sure it is latched), then, with a multi meter, check for power at the valve connector. If the appropriate power(105 – 125 VAC) is present, replace the valve.
- If power is not present, check the float to the flood switch for free movement, and check the switch for continuity when float is down. Finally, check the appropriate output portion of the timer or control and replace defective parts found.
Dishwasher Won’t Get Dishes Clean
- Clean dishes are a result of a properly operating dishwasher, water temperature (120-140 deg F), and the proper amount and type of detergent. With detergent, the least amount to do the job, or a premeasured package or tablet is recommended. I have found that Finish brand hard tablets with the red Powerball do very well in our water. I also recommend a water softener, if practical.
- Dishes should be pre-rinsed and all food particles, paper and plastic debris, and difficult residue, like egg yolk, should be removed from dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.
- Check the spray arm(s) for ease of rotation, clogged holes and for anything that could prevent proper rotation. To check for proper rotation, line up the spray arm(s) front to back or side to side, run the dishwasher for a short while, then check the arms to see that they have moved.
- Finally check that the water temperature is remaining hot from the heater working properly. Florida water has a high lime content, when the water evaporates the lime remains as a white, powdery substance, which overtime hardens almost like concrete. There are a number of chemicals available to combat this and if a water softener is not in place or operating correctly, a chemical agent should be used periodically to combat the mineral build up.
Dishwasher Won’t Dry Dishes
- For dishes to dry properly during the dry portion of the cycle, the heater must be working and the steam vent open. Turn the timer to dry, close and latch the door, wait a few minutes, open the door and carefully touch the heat element momentarily to see if is hot. If not, check the element for continuity (it should read approximately 25-50 ohms) and check the safety thermostat for continuity.
- If the heat is working, check the vent. Vents get clogged with lime also. Some vents open and close by the action of a small motor. If present check the motor for proper operation.