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By: Nick

CEO Nick's Appliance Repair

Dishwasher Leaking

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14 Steps to Take if Your Dishwasher is Leaking

Are you worried about that sneaky leaking dishwasher across the kitchen floor? Don’t worry, and it’s not just a figment of your imagination. Dishwashers leak – lots. Depending on where and how much they leak, you can incur hundreds of dollars in damages each month. However, the good news is that even if you’re not the greatest DIYer, you can still fix a dishwasher all by yourself.

We’ve put together a simple and uncomplicated step-by-step guide you can follow to diagnose the cause of the leak accurately and repair it. As such, let’s dive right in!

Why is My Dishwasher Leaking?

There could be a lot of reasons behind why your dishwasher is leaking. These appliances generally take in water from the connected bathroom and kitchen plumbing so that the problem could originate from either end. It might also be due to a malfunctioning dishwasher component or a faulty connection between the appliance and your plumbing system. Following is a detailed list of the most common causes of dishwasher leaks:

Faulty Water Inlet Valve

This is the most common cause of a dishwasher leak. The water inlet valve is responsible for allowing the proper amount of water into the tub. When not functioning properly, it can lead to too much or too little water inside the tub. If there’s too much water, it can leak out through the door and onto your floor.

Cracked Dishwasher Door Gasket

The door gasket may be cracked or worn out, allowing water to leak from the bottom edge of the door. The gasket is usually made of rubber fused to a metal strip and can be replaced without too much trouble.

Defective Solenoid

Depending on the dishwasher model, your appliance may have one or two solenoids. These are responsible for pumping out the dirty water at the end of a cycle and replacing it with clean water. If this part fails, the pump continues to run but cannot pump any more water out of the tub, resulting in the dishwasher leaking and overflowing the floor.

Spray Arm

A loose or damaged spray arm can cause a leak as it rotates during the wash cycle, spraying water in all directions. Spray arms are usually easy to remove so you can check for damage or if it’s loose. If there’s any damage, replace it.

Damaged Pump Seal

The pump seal connects the outer tub of the dishwasher to the pump assembly and motor shaft, which spins during operation. Over time, the surface of this seal may become worn out or cracked with age, and water will begin to leak out when the machine is running. You may need to replace this seal if you see a slow leak coming from under when your dishwasher runs.

Drain Hose Clamps

Damaged hose clamps can cause water to leak from underneath your dishwasher while it’s running as well. These are often made of plastic and may break down over time.

Float Switch Problems

The float switch fills with water as the dishwasher operates. When the water reaches a certain level, the float switch activates and shuts off the water inlet valve to stop more water from coming in. If your dishwasher’s float switch is stuck, it may not shut off the valve, allowing water to continue filling into the tub. You might also see this type of dishwasher leaking if the float arm is bent or has something wedged under it, so it can’t rise with the added weight of water.

Clogged Filter

If your filter system is clogged with debris, this can cause water to overflow into and around the tub resulting in a leak onto your floor or countertop.

Faulty Components

The control panel consists of several electrical components that ensure the proper functioning of your dishwasher’s many cycles and options.

Steps for Fixing A Leaky Dishwasher

Leakage is a fairly common appliance problem, and the solution can be as simple as tightening a hose clamp or cleaning out a drain. Here are some steps to fix the dishwasher leaking yourself, so you don’t have to call in an expensive repair technician.

1) Empty your dishwasher

You might be surprised by what you find in there! Even after the dishwasher cycle is done, some food particles tend to get stuck inside the filter. It can block the drainage hole, which means that water won’t be able to drain properly during the next wash cycle. We recommend cleaning out your filter once every two months to avoid this problem. Using warm soapy water or a dishwasher detergent and a soft-bristled brush, like an old toothbrush or a bottle brush, you can clean it by hand.

You should also check for any food scraps around the drainage hole at the bottom of your dishwasher. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck them up if needed.

2) Reset the Circuit Breaker

If the circuit breaker has tripped, then you need to reset it. Most circuit breakers are located in the panel in your basement or garage. Once you find the breaker panel, flip the switch on the affected breaker and see if that solves the problem with your dishwasher.

3) Check the Access Panel

All dishwashers have an access panel at the bottom. You will need to remove the kick plate to see the access panel held on by a few screws. This will give you a view of all of the components that need repair and a few things that might not be causing the issue.

4) Get a new water inlet valve.

The most common reason for replacing the water inlet valve is if your dishwasher isn’t filling with water or it’s leaking water. You will need to disconnect the power and water supply to the dishwasher. After that, you can access the water inlet valve by accessing the bottom panel and removing it.

Once you have access to the valve, remove any connected hoses and remove mounting screws holding it in place. Replace it with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

5) Check for trouble spots.

Start by taking a look at your dishwasher’s base. If you notice any wetness or water on the floor, there’s a leak somewhere in the unit. You’ll want to use a flashlight to inspect the dishwasher’s hoses, drain pipes, and connections.

Likewise, pay close attention to where the drain hose meets the garbage disposal or sink drain because this is one of the most common areas for dishwasher leaking.

6) Check for loose clamps.

If you’re handy with tools, sometimes all you need to do is tighten a few loose screws or clamps on your leaking dishwasher. This can be as easy as using your hands to tighten them up slightly if they feel loose when you wiggle them around with your fingers. If they’re stuck on tight and won’t budge after this maneuver, use a pair of pliers or locking pliers to turn them clockwise until they’re nice and snug.

7) Check the connections

If you notice water pooling or dripping on the floor when your dishwasher is running, first check to ensure all connections are tightened securely. This includes both where the leaking dishwasher connects to your sink and where it connects to your garbage disposal unit, if applicable. In some cases, the water may be leaking from behind the unit because it hasn’t been screwed into place tightly enough.

Last but not least, check all electrical connections and tighten any loose screws you find.

8) Look for cracks or leaks in hoses.

Another potential cause of leaks is a crack or hole in one of your hoses. Two hoses connect to your dishwasher: one that supplies water and one that helps drain water away once your d dishes have been cleaned. You’ll need to examine both of these hoses closely for signs of damage and replace them if needed.

9) Reattach spray arms and gaskets

A loose spray arm can cause a leak by allowing water to escape from its intended route in your dishwasher tub. Ensure the spray arm is secured tightly in place and check gaskets for signs of damage that could cause water to leak. If the problem remains, you most likely require a new spray arm. If you are unsure of this step, this process can also be found in your dishwasher’s user manual.

10) Check the door gasket.

Sometimes a damaged gasket is the only problem, and all you need to do is get a new door gasket. To set it up and replace the old one, you’ll need to pull out the dishwasher. Shut off its power at your home’s main electrical panel and close the hot-water valve under the sink first.

Afterward, remove all racks, access panels, and screws that hold the dishwasher in place. Pull out the unit and disconnect any electrical wires and water lines. Check behind it for any remaining water before removing it completely from its space.

11) Check the door seal.

Checking the door seal of your dishwasher can be an easy way to identify and fix a leak. To do this, close the dishwasher door and put a piece of paper on the floor in front of it. Close the door on the edge of the paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, it can cause water to leak when the dishwasher is running. Replace the rubber seal around the dishwasher door and ensure proper sealing to resolve this issue. It would be best if you also made sure that the hinges of the dishwasher door were not loose.

12) Change the filter

A clogged filter will prevent water from flowing down the drain as it should. If you don’t know how to change your filter — or even where it is — then refer to your user manual to find out how to do so.

13) Replace the pump seal

Remove all of the screws along with your dishwasher door and around its tub ring to gain access to this part. You’ll have to remove the entire dishwasher rack assembly by disconnecting all of its components.

Once you lift out both pieces, look for a rubber seal between them that may be worn down or missing entirely. Replace it, then reassemble your dishwasher rack and tub ring again, making sure all of your electrical connections are secure, with a tight seal, before putting everything back together.

14) Replace the float switch

For safety, start by disconnecting the power from the outlet. Next, find out if the dishwasher leaking from bottom of door. If you find water underneath, use a towel to absorb it. Then, check to see if there is water in the float switch cup and overflow tube. The float should be sitting up on top of the water in the float cup and not touching it. If it is touching it or completely submerged in it, it needs to be replaced.

Find out where your model’s float switch is located and how you can access it within your dishwasher so you can fix this problem. You may also need to replace an inlet valve if it has been damaged due to the dishwasher leaking water and excessive accumulation.

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