How to Troubleshoot Common Dishwasher Problems

how to troubleshoot common dishwasher problemsDishwashers are great time-saving appliances that can give you back a lot of your life. Unfortunately, something is bound to go wrong at some point, especially without regular maintenance. Instead of giving up on your dishwasher, follow these steps to troubleshoot common dishwasher problems.

Dishes Aren’t Coming Out Clean

When clean dishes are coming out with spots, it’s time to troubleshoot.

Check the drain hose before running a cycle (especially if there are no leaks or drips). If it’s clogged with food particles, they will be washed back into the tub during operation and can cause damage to the pump and other parts. The hose should be cleaned with a soft brush, then flushed thoroughly with hot water.

Check the filter screen under the filter rack at the bottom of your dishwasher for any debris blocking water flow. This screen is designed to catch food particles as they pass through the

spray arms, so they don’t get deposited back on dishes after being washed off. If this screen is clogged up with food particles over time, it could impede water flow and prevent proper cleaning.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Run

If your dishwasher isn’t running, it could be for several reasons. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • woman with her broken dishwasherThe door is cracked open. Dishwashers are smart appliances. If they sense that the door is open, they won’t run. The same goes for if you have a child lock on the door.
  • There’s no power. Check that the machine hasn’t been unplugged. There may be faulty wiring or a blown fuse.
  • There’s no water in the machine. Without water, there won’t be any energy flowing through your dishwasher. It won’t run until there’s water inside of it again (or at least enough for the sensors to think there is).
  • The timer is off. If the countdown dial on your dishwasher looks like it’s moving, but nothing is happening, check that the timer is set correctly.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Fill

The first thing to check is your water supply line. If this is kinked or broken, it will affect how much water your dishwasher uses when running cycles. Use pliers to straighten out any kinks in the line and ensure there aren’t any leaks along its length.

woman frustrated with her dishwasher

If there’s still no water flowing into your dishwasher, check that the float valve isn’t stuck in the open position. This can happen if you’ve accidentally bumped it while loading or unloading your dishes, which can lead to flooding when you try to start a load of dishes.

You may want to check your pressure regulator if you’ve had problems with pressure before. Call a professional plumber if you need help carrying out these checks. Better to be safe than sorry!

Dishwasher Doesn’t Drain

If your dishwasher isn’t draining, it could be caused by a problem with the check valve in the drain sump. The check valve is a small plastic or rubber component that prevents water from backing up into the tub.

The check valve is located at the bottom of the tub, just above where it meets the drain hose. It sits in a metal screen and has a spring that keeps it closed until pressure is applied to open it. With regular operation, as water flows into the tub, it pushes against this spring and opens the valve so water can leave through the hose. If something goes wrong with this mechanism, water won’t drain out of your dishwasher as quickly as it should.

dishwasher leaking water
If there’s something stuck in your drain line or if there’s an obstruction in your garbage disposal unit, then this could be causing problems with drainage. You may need to use a plunger or auger to clear these obstructions before they cause any serious damage to your appliance.

Dishwasher Smells Bad

The main reason for bad smells is a build-up of food particles in the dishwasher filter or drain line. As a result, the food starts to rot, causing bacteria growth. To clean out the strainer:

  1. woman with her smelly dishes
    Use a bottle brush or long stick with a sponge attached to the end to scrub out any debris.
  2. Unscrew the strainer and remove it from the bottom rack, then clean off all food particles using hot water and soap or detergent.
  3. Clean any debris that may have built up in the drain hose by running hot water through until it’s clear again.

Check you aren’t overloading your dishwasher. Water can’t circulate properly around the dishes when it’s too full. This causes them to dry out and smell bad.

Furthermore, if the water isn’t hot enough, the soap won’t dissolve properly, leaving residue behind on your dishes. This can leave behind a funny smell.

Struggling to get your dishwasher to work correctly? Call the plumbing experts at Bell Bros.