Dishwasher Leaks and Common Causes
TROUBLESHOOTING DISHWASHER LEAKS
The most common reason for a dishwasher leak is that the kitchen sink drain pipes are clogged. When this problem occurs, you might think your house is in big trouble since water is unstoppable.
The leak may be coming from either the front of the dishwasher or from a component or part from the bottom. Calling for help from a professional plumber is the best answer.
However, if you are inclined to try to fix things yourself – here is a checklist to help you troubleshoot the problem.
The function of the pump is to circulate water in the dishwasher and in some models, to drain the water as well. The pump sits at the bottom of the dishwasher and typically consists of two separate compartments; one for wash or circulation and the other for drain.
The circulation part of the pump will typically consist of the wash impeller and the filter components while the drain portion will consist of a drain impeller and a chopper blade or in some cases, a solenoid operated diverter.
A defective pump and/or pump seal may be the cause of a dishwasher leak.
The pump housing will have some type of rubber gasket that seals it to the bottom of the tub. Age and detergents can dry out the gasket and create a leak.
The wash and drain compartments of the pump also will have seals to prevent water leakage and they can fail as well. Leaks from these areas will often not be as noticeable until you remove the access panel at the bottom front of the dishwasher.
If water appears to be leaking around the front of the dishwasher, the problem may be with the door gasket. The dishwasher door gasket or seal is normally made of soft rubber or vinyl and goes around the door or the tub opening of the dishwasher creating a watertight seal.
Some dishwasher models have rubber baffles located at the bottom corners of the tub opening that prevent water leaking in that area. When vinyl or rubber ages, it can become less flexible or even brittle and may damage easily or not seal properly.
Inspect the gasket (and baffles if applicable) and if they appear to be damaged then they should be replaced. You should also check for proper alignment of the door into the tub opening and that the gap is the same on both sides.
Make sure that the leveling legs are supporting and leveling the dishwasher and not the mounting tabs at the top of the tub as this can cause the door to not fit properly. Make sure that the latch is in good working order and is also properly adjusted.
- Water Inlet Valve
The water inlet valve feeds the water from the home’s main water line into the dishwasher and could be the source of a leak. The inlet valve can be found behind the lower kick plate. The hot water inlet supply to the valve may be copper tubing, rubber hose or braided hose.
Inspect the supply connection to the inlet of the valve to make sure that it is secure and not the source of the leak. The outlet of the valve will have a rubber or plastic hose that will typically connect to the side of the tub.
Check for cracks or tears in this hose and the injector on the tub, as well as the plastic body of the valve itself. These checks are most accurate when done while the dishwasher is filling.
The hose clamps secure the drain hose and the circulating hose to the dishwasher pump. These hoses and clamps can be found by removing the kickplate at the bottom of the dishwasher.
If the clamps have come loose or the hoses have cracks in them, it could be the cause of a leak. Be sure to check the clamps on both the drain hose and the circulating hose and refit the clamps or replace them if need be.
5. Dispensers and Grommets
The detergent dispenser and the rinse aid dispenser are normally located on the inner door panel of the dishwasher. Some models use a dispenser assembly that is attached to the panel with screws and a gasket to seal against water leaks.
Other models may use a dispenser that is molded into the door panel but uses a dispenser latch assembly that is attached to the back of the inner panel and use a rubber grommet to seal around the dispenser latch where it protrudes through the door panel.
If you have a water leak that appears to come from the front of your dishwasher, the dispenser gasket or the dispenser latch grommet may be the cause.
- Spray Arm
Water is forced through the dishwasher spray arms to spray water (and detergent) around the dishwasher. All dishwashers have a lower spray arm located at the bottom of the dishwasher, and some dishwashers also have middle or upper spray arms located below the top dish rack or at the top of the dishwasher tub.
Most spray arms are made of plastic which can crack or warp enough to change the spray pattern significantly. Metal spray arms can become damaged or separate at the seams which can also alter the spray pattern. These conditions can cause water to be directed at the bottom of the door where there is no gasket and therefore creating a water leak.
Blocked holes in the spray arms that misdirect the spray pattern can also cause this symptom. Remove the spray arms to clear any blockage in the holes and to inspect them for damage or wear.
- Float and Float Switch
The float and float switch are used as a safety device to prevent the dishwasher from overflowing with water. The float is located inside of the tub at the bottom of the dishwasher and the float switch is located beneath the tub directly below the float.
The float lifts as the water level in the dishwasher rises, and when the proper water level is reached, the stem of the float activates the float switch to turn off the water inlet valve. A malfunctioning float or float switch could cause the water level to be too high and create a leak.
The proper water level is normally just to the heating element on the bottom of the tub. If the water level in your dishwasher is too high, then you should suspect that the float or float switch may be the cause of the problem.
If you’re having issues with your dishwasher, So Cal Services is just one call away! And click here if you’d like to read about how to avoid costly plumbing repairs. We have the best plumbers in town. Reach us at 951-926-1978 or email us at [email protected]
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