You wake up in the morning and put the dishes from that dinner party last night into the dishwasher and start the cycle. You think to yourself, “I’ll head to work and have clean dishes when I get home.” You go about your day but when you walk in the door, there is water all over the floor in your kitchen. You think your hardwood floors are going to warp and the baseboards to your cupboards are probably shot. That water has been just sitting there all day. That’s when you realize your dishwasher has sprung a leak. Yes, you’ve got a mess on your hands, but it might not be as bad as it appears. Understanding why your dishwasher is leaking and how to fix the problem just might be easier than you think.
The pumps in dishwashers are designed to circulate and drain water. The housing the pump sits in has a rubber gasket that seals it firmly to the bottom of the tub. Through extensive use and constant exposure to detergents, the gasket can dry out, crack and spring a leak. Leaks from the circulation and drain compartments can also spring leaks but these won’t be detectable unless you remove the front bottom panel from the dishwasher.
Inlet and Outlet Valves
The water inlet valve connects the dishwasher to the main water line and is found behind the lowest kickplate. Made of braided hose, rubber or copper, the tube connecting the valve to the main water line may come loose after repeated use causing a leak. Inspect this part to make sure it is firmly secured.
If your inlet valve doesn’t appear to be the cause of the problem, it’s time to check the outlet valve. Connected to the side of the tub, this piece also has a propensity to crack and maybe be the source of the leak.
When you check both these components, it’s best to do so when the dishwasher is filling.
If you notice water leaking around the front of the dishwasher, the culprit is likely a compromised door gasket. Made of soft rubber or vinyl, this piece creates a watertight seal when you open and close the door to the tub. As this material ages, it has a tendency to harden and therefore crack causing leaks. If this is the case, the fix should be pretty simple and something you can do yourself.
If water is still leaking out the front of the dishwasher and the gasket appears to be in good shape, it’s a good idea to check the alignment of the door as it sits in the tub. The gaps on the sides should be the same, the leveling legs should support the dishwasher and not the mounting tabs, and the latch should function properly not letting any water out during the wash cycle.
The spray arms in dishwashers function to move water throughout the tub ensuring that the surfaces of all dishes are cleaned. Spray arms are made of plastic (which can crack) or metal (which can separate at the seams). A cracked or separated spray arm can significantly alter the spray pattern causing water to be directed to the bottom of the door where there is no gasket and leak out onto the floor. The holes in spray arms can also become clogged causing water to be misdirected. If you suspect your spray arm isn’t functioning as it should, remove it and inspect it for damage.
Detergent and rinse aid dispensers are usually located on the inside of the door. After a lot of use the latches that hold the detergent in place can come loose causing leaks. If your dispenser or its latch are damaged you best replace them right away.
Hoses and Hose Clamps
Hose clamps secure the drain hose and circulating hose to the pump. To locate them, remove the bottom kickplate and check if they have cracks in them that could be the source of the leak. There’s a good chance the clamps may have just come loose and need to be refitted.
There’s no denying that leaky dishwashers can cause and huge mess. If water leaks onto the floor you could be looking at water damage if it’s not cleaned up right away. The good news however, is that while you might be dealing with a crisis in the moment, leaky dishwashers are a common problem that in many cases you can resolve on your own if you know what to look for. If you exhaust all your options and the problem persists, call your local Einstein Pro to handle the job.