Dishwashers are an integral part of modern life. Sure, we could wash all our dishes by hand, dry them, and put them away without the washer. But our daily lives are still built around the idea that you can load and set the dishwasher, then come back later and the dishes will be conveniently clean. When your dishwasher goes out, it can throw your whole routine.
That’s why having a few quick ways to check on your dishwasher is a good way to go. Even if you are not an expertly handy-person or prepared to fix an electrical dishwasher, a little troubleshooting can go a long way. Here are six ways to investigate a misbehaving dishwasher and possibly solve the problem for yourself before looking into more serious dishwasher repairs.
1) Clear the Screen and Drain
First, check the bottom of the dishwasher. Inside on what functions as the floor, there should be a drain and a catch screen. This is designed to protect the dishwasher’s drain from fallen chunks of food and debris. When the dishes are washed, that debris is dropped toward the drain but over time it can clog your drain and reduce dishwasher functionality. You should be clearing it between every load, like the lint trap, but most of us don’t and it can occasionally become clogged. Clear the drain and try again.
2) Wipe Down the Seal and Check for Flaws
Your dishwasher may be leaking or refusing to run because it cannot achieve a proper seal. The seal of a dishwasher is a large rubber gasket, much like your refrigerator, that keeps the water inside the machine. However, the seal can become damaged or dirty to the point of failing to create a watertight connection. Inspect the seal closely and wipe it down with diluted dish detergent to wash away any built-up oils or grime. If the seal is damaged, you may need to replace it. If it is just dirty, a quick wipe-down of both sides can restore your dishwasher to functionality.
3) Make Sure the Door Can Latch Shut
Modern dishwashers are designed not to start running unless all systems are go. If there is something wrong, the machine doesn’t start so that the kitchen doesn’t flood. But it’s not always obvious why your dishwasher is refusing to start, and if it’s a repair issue or an intended safety feature.
A common culprit is the door latch. If the door does not latch shut, then the dishwasher’s machine won’t come on or won’t start a cycle. Listen for the click when closing the dishwasher door. If you don’t hear, it that’s a problem. Examine the latching mechanism to determine if it is broken, weak, or being blocked by something else.
4) Clean the Sprayer Nozzles
Your dishes get clean because they are sprayed many times with hot water and soap from the spinning nozzles inside your dishwasher. These nozzles can get clogged up, especially if your home runs hard water. Hard water is notorious for its chalky buildup which can block the small sprayer nozzles or holes in a dishwasher quite easily.
Wiping down the sprayers with a vinegar and water mix will help break down the buildup and give washing power back to your dishwasher.
5) Check for Mechanical Obstructions
Next, check to make sure nothing is blocking any of the dishwasher’s moving parts. Tall plates or pans blocking the spinning sprayer arms is a common enough problem. Sometimes the cause is harder to spot or more long-term in effect. Check for fallen silverware in the mechanisms below and for anything stuck in the trap or drawers that might cause a mechanical problem during the washing cycle.
6) Test the Power Source
Finally, you can also test your dishwasher’s power source without accessing the hidden plug. In many homes, there is a lightswitch dedicated to turning the dishwasher off and on. You may also find a breaker in the box labeled dishwasher that can be flipped off and on again to see if your dishwasher is getting the power it needs to function, or if it resets after a toggling the power.
—Going through these steps will help you determine if your dishwasher just needs a little care or a call for repairs. For more info on how to fix your dishwasher or to consult on your repair needs, contact us today!