The point of having a dishwasher is to lessen kitchen chores, thus giving you time to do other things or relax. After months or years of smooth operation, the thought of anything going wrong never occurs. Hence, seeing a puddle of water appear on the floor is more than enough to sour the mood. For one, there is the prospect of washing dirty dishes by hand if the leaking does not stop.
A leaking dishwasher is not uncommon, and it is one of the top issues encountered by repair technicians. Before calling for service, though, see if you can determine the cause and fix the leak yourself. Who knows, you might be loading the rack instead of wasting time waiting for help and spending money.
The door seal, made usually of either soft rubber or vinyl, creates a watertight seal. At the bottom corners of the door, your dishwasher may also have rubber baffles that stop water from leaking. Over time, these materials deteriorate, becoming less flexible or brittle, and prone to damage.
If you notice water leaking from the sides of the dishwasher, open the dishwasher door to visually inspect the door seal for signs of damage. You can also run your finger along the door gasket to feel for cracks or missing pieces. Make sure there is no dried food material sticking to the rubber seal, too.
Fixing a leaky dishwasher caused by a damaged gasket or baffles is easy. Consult the user manual for reference on replacement parts, which you can order from a local dealer or the manufacturer.
How to replace the door seal:
Dishwashers have two kinds of dispensers located on the inner door panel. One is the rinse dispenser. The other is the detergent dispenser, which may be attached screw and gasket or molded into the door panel. The latter would also have a dispenser latch assembly attached to the back of the inner panel. In this case, it would also have a rubber grommet for a watertight seal.
If you notice water leaking from the front of the dishwasher, the cause could be the gasket or grommet – depending on which model you have.
How to inspect and replace the dispenser gasket or grommet:
Dishwashers have a spray arm at the bottom of the interior. Some models may even have one more – a middle or an upper spray arm – beneath the top dish rack or on top of the tub. A pump forces water and dishwasher detergent to come off the spray arms, directed around the washing chamber.
Most brands use plastic parts, which can warp or crack. Some others use metal, which may separate at the seams. At any rate, any damage sustained causes an alteration in the spray pattern. Besides lowering the washing and cleaning efficiency, a faulty arm may spray water directed at the bottom of the door. Because the dishwasher door does not have a gasket, it may be why the dishwasher leaks.
How to inspect the dishwasher spray arm:
Note: You can remove the spray arm by turning it counter-clockwise. This way, you can better inspect for any signs of damage or obstruction.
If there are signs of damage, order a replacement part from the manufacturer or one of their dealers.
How to replace the spray arm:
Another cause of dishwasher leaking water is a loose or cracked drain hose or recirculation hose. You cannot see both types of water hose unless you remove the access panel (kick plate panel) at the bottom.
How to check the dishwasher hoses:
Consult the user manual for reference on replacement hoses, which you can order from a local dealer or the manufacturer.
How to replace the drain hose:
Dishwashers have a float assembly located at the bottom of the tub, near the heating element. As the water level rises, the float also rises. Upon reaching the proper level, a stem activates the switch, which then turns off the inlet valve. If any of these components fail, the water may rise too high, making the dishwasher leak water.
One way to determine if something is wrong with the float switch is to open the door during mid-cycle. At this point, the water level should be below the heating element. If it is over, then you will want to test the switch.
How to test the float switch using a multimeter:
If the float switch is faulty, consult the manual to see if there is a part number for the replacement. A local dealer should be able to help you or order a new one from the manufacturer.
How to replace the float switch:
The water from the supply line passes through an inlet valve to the dishwasher. If it fails to open and close properly, then you may have found the cause of why your dishwasher is leaking.
To determine if the water inlet valve is defective, open the door when the dishwasher is in the middle of a wash cycle. If the water continues to fill, the water inlet valve is likely damaged.
Since you already suspect that it is the cause, you might as well locate and inspect it for signs of damage.
After removing the access panel, you should see the water inlet valve. It is referred to as a solenoid valve because of the electrical components that open and close the valve. Moreover, it can have one or two solenoids, each having two wires.
A damaged solenoid valve, unfortunately, is beyond fixing. You would need to check the manual for part number and order a replacement from a dealer or the manufacturer.
How to replace the water inlet valve:
A failing water pump may be the reason why your dishwasher is leaking. All dishwashers have a pump that circulates water. Some models also use a pump to drain water.
Found inside the pump housing are two compartments. One is the circulation part that consists of a wash impeller and filter components. Another is the drain part, which has a drain impeller and chopper blade.
How to test the dishwasher pump using a multimeter: