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5 Signs You Have a Broken Dishwasher (and How to Fix it)

5 Signs You Have a Broken Dishwasher (and How to Fix it)

Jan 14th 2018

Signs You Have a Broken Dishwasher (and How to Fix it)

Do you think that your dishwasher isn't working properly anymore? Here are 5 signs you have a broken dishwasher (and how to fix it).

Keyword(s): broken dishwasher

A broken dishwasher forces you back to doing the dreadful task by hand. Fixing it seems the only solution considering the average $250 - $2000+ unit cost. Plus, don't forget the installation fees.

Perhaps your unit is starting to fail -- they last 6-10 years -- and you're willing to take a shot at DIY repairs.

Here's how to do the fixes if you're seeing the signs of a broken dishwasher.

From Broken Dishwasher to Cleaning Machine

Before you begin:

  • Turn off the dishwasher power and flip the breaker
  • Turn off the water supply and let it drain

This will prevent an unfortunate zap and make less mess when doing the repairs.

Check for these signs.

1. There's a Humming Sound

The motor/pump is failing if you hear a humming sound when the unit is turned on.

Replace it:

  1. Remove the dish racks and spray arm
  2. Remove the front access panel
  3. Disconnect the drain pump from the motor
  4. Disconnect wiring and pull the pump
  5. Remove the screws/bolts holding the motor

Use this time to clean the parts using a mild detergent solution. Then, work backward after having applied the new motor to reassemble the unit.

2. It Doesn't Fill

Begin with the inlet valve and check to see if it's receiving power.

  • If not: replace the valve
  • If so: check the float

Replacing the valve details disconnecting the hoses and power. Then, applying the new inlet valve in the same position and rehooking the hoses and wiring.

The float (a plastic dome-like piece, toward the front) regulates water levels.

Push the float up/down and listen for a clicking noise:

  • If not: clean the area and replace the float
  • If so: check the door switch

The float is a snap-on replacement. Check the door switch between the inner/outer door. Replace the part if it fails to read when using a multimeter.

3. The Water Isn't Hot

The heating element regulates the water temperature. It also heats the air during drying. This item is the usual problem when a homeowner discovers their dishwasher broken.

Check for a heating problem:

  • Feel for a warm unit after a full cycle
  • Examine if all soap was used
  • Look to see if dishes are still wet

Fix it:

  1. Remove the dish rack
  2. Remove the bottom covering
  3. Disconnect the wires and remove screws
  4. Swap the part

You may choose to replace the insulator while this area is exposed.

4. The Dishes aren't Clean

Two culprits are possibly at hand:

  • A dirty spray arm and filter
  • A failing drain hose, valve, or pump

Begin with the easiest by cleaning the spray arm after it's been removed from the dishwasher unit. Scrub thoroughly while including the nozzles. Then, clean the filter (underneath the spray arm) for debris.

Test the unit to see if this fixed the problem, otherwise...

  1. Disconnect and clean the drain pump
  2. Test and replace the drain valve if it fails to move
  3. Pull the hose and wiring from the pump, remove the pump

Add a new o-ring when replacing the drain pump for a leak-proof seal. Then, work backward to reapply the new drain bump part.

5. The Buttons Don't Do Anything

It's the touch panel if nothing happens when you press buttons.

  1. Disconnect the console
  2. Disconnect the wiring
  3. Unscrew or unclamp the touch panel
  4. Swap the part and repeat steps in reverse

Plug the unit in and wait a few moments for it to cycle. You should hear the drain pump and motor kick on. Then, attempt a wash.

We've Got the Parts You Need

DIY repair jobs for fixing a broken dishwasher aren't too troubling. A bit of patience and the right parts are all you need to get it working again.

Browse our selection of dishwasher parts. We offer an inexpensive solution to help avoid the dreadful task of washing by hand.