|How to Repair a Dishwasher
Simple maintenance will wipe out 90 percent of dishwasher problems. This article provides solutions for three common problems: the dishes don't come out clean, the dishwasher leaks water, and the dishwasher won't start. We'll show you how to make the fixes yourself and save the money you would have paid a repairman.
Save money doing the repairs yourself
Do your dishes come out spotted and stained? Have you noticed a puddle of water on the floor? Does your dishwasher simply fail to start up? If so, you're not alone. These three complaints make up the vast majority of dishwasher problems. But now the good news: You can solve these problems about 90 percent of the time without calling for professional help. Instead of paying $70 for a service call, do the work yourself in less than 30 minutes. Most repairs involve only routine maintenance and require no special tools or skills and little or no expense.
In this article, we'll tell you how to pinpoint the causes of most problems, then walk you through simple maintenance steps to correct them. In most cases, even a time-pressed novice can get the dishwasher working again within a half-hour.
We're using a GE dishwasher for our demonstration, but most brands and models have a similar design. Pull out the owner's manual and compare it with our illustrations to help identify and locate key parts. It will also help you identify part numbers when you need them. If you can't find the manual, you can order one from the appliance manufacturer. Appliance dealers can supply the customer service number for your brand.
How a Dishwasher Works
A dishwasher doesn't fill like a clothes washer. Instead, 2 to 3 gallons of water flood the lower portion of the tub, where it mixes with the detergent and is pumped through the rotating spray arms onto the dishes. The wash water drains and is replaced by fresh water to rinse the dishes.
The cycle often repeats several times. A timer regulates the water volume. A heating element near the bottom raises the water temperature to 140 to 160 degrees F. The element also helps dry the dishes after the wash and rinse cycles are completed.