A dishwasher is one of the most important appliances we have at home. We don’t really enjoy using it, but it beats the alternative which is to hand washing the dishes. It’s safe to say that it’s hard to imagine living life without it.
Can you imagine having to deal with piles of plates and utensils after every family meal? Imagine having to wake up earlier than the usual just because you have to set aside time to wash the dishes before taking your kids to school and going to work. Imagine having to sleep later than usual just because of the piles of dishes that you wouldn’t want to leave unwashed for the night.
It takes a lot of precious time and effort. Instead of resting or spending quality time with the family, you’re stuck with hand washing the dishes. The repetitiveness of it all will really test your sanity. Let’s face it. No one wants to wash the dishes. Your trusty dishwasher somehow makes the task tolerable.
Things change when it starts to leak. It’s not supposed to leak. A leaking dishwasher is not an effective dishwasher and is potentially an unsafe one. Most homeowners are at a loss when this happens. They don’t know what to do. A lot of them end up buying a new one.
Doing so may help in the short term, but it can be a wasteful investment. You can still fix it. We’ve put together a step by step guide on how to fix a leaking dishwasher. It may just save you a lot of money from having to buy a new one.
More importantly, buying a new one doesn’t really take care of the bigger picture – the cause of the leaking. We’ve put together the most common causes in this article that can help you avoid a repeat of the issue. Think about it. If you don’t know about these causes, you won’t be able to prevent them from happening. This means that buying a new one wouldn’t help you because the leaking will eventually happen again sooner or later.
We’ll also talk about the different leaking issues. It could be leaking underneath the door onto the floor. It could be leaking when draining. It could be leaking when it’s not running. The dishwasher rinse aid dispenser could be leaking as well. Sometimes, water is sitting at the bottom of the dishwasher. These are just some of the most common issues that we’ll talk about.
In some cases, you won’t be able to fix it DIY. There’s no shame in having to call in a professional. In fact in most cases, it’s better to just hire a professional to make sure that the issue will be solved quickly and properly.
The cost of hiring a professional is the main reason why a lot of homeowners decide to do it DIY. We’ll talk about the dangers of doing it DIY. This way, you’ll be convinced that you’re better off hiring a professional.
We’ll also help you overcome the cost concern. We’ve put together a free service that you can take advantage of right now so you can get in touch with the best contractors in your area that specialize in fixing leaking dishwashers.
Why is My Dishwasher Leaking – the Causes
Do you see water under the sink or below and under the dishwasher? Here are the possible causes:
- It has no seal.
This is a common cause if the leaking is happening through the door at the front of the appliance. If there’s accumulated water underneath the door, then the door itself is the issue and the gasket is a likely culprit.
The gasket is made of rubber and is the go-to seal of virtually everything that requires sealing. Yes, including all dishwashers of all brands from Kenmore and LG to Whirlpool and Kitchenaid. In this case, it’s what’s stopping the water from leaking out through the door. Needless to say, it will start to leak if the seal has been broken because of a missing or damaged gasket.
Fortunately, this is an easy fix. An experienced DIYer can simply replace the gasket with a new one.
- The latch is loose or damaged.
This is another thing to look at if the leaking is happening through the door. It could be because the door is not latching close properly. In this case, the latch is either loose or damaged.
This is another easy fix. Tightening the screws could get the job done. If not, you can buy a new latch system that you can install if you have the right tools and skillset. You can contact the manufacturer directly to see if they have official parts. For example, contact Frigidaire if that’s the brand that you have. This is to make sure that you don’t void the warranty. But if this is not a concern, there are generic ones that you can use. Just make sure that they fit the brand that you have.
- The pump is damaged.
The pump plays the important role of circulating water in your appliance. The pump of some brands is also responsible for draining the water. If it’s damaged or if its seal has been broken, then it can create a leak.
- There’s a hole in the tub.
Is the leak happening during the wash cycle? You may want to check the tub to see if there are holes. These tubs are susceptible to holes especially if they’ve corroded already.
A specialist can check if it can still be repaired but in most cases, it’s more logical to just replace the appliance.
- A drain hose is loose.
There are several drain hoses in the appliance. They are interconnected so if one becomes loose, then it can start to leak. The specialist will check if this is the case. He’ll also check the valves (especially the water inlet) and the clamps.
- The appliance is not aligned.
You’ll be surprised at how common this issue is. An eye test may tell you that it’s aligned, but a level may tell you otherwise.
If it’s not level, you can simply place shims underneath the appliance. Check with a level again and apply less or more shims until it’s leveled.
- It’s overfilling.
This is one of the more serious causes of leaking and may require professional assistance. This is when the dishwasher is taking in more water that’s needed and it’s not draining.
This could be a drain or float valve issue. You may want to check the manual to see if there’s anything you can do before calling a professional. You can also check the website of GE, Samsung, Bosch or whatever brand you have to download the user’s manual if you don’t have it anymore.
- You’re using the wrong soap.
You may have, whether accidentally or not, used dish soap. This is not advisable because there’ll be too much suds for the appliance to handle.
My Dishwasher is Leaking from the Bottom of the Door
To summarize, it could either be because of a loose or damaged gasket or latch. These two play an important role in ensuring a proper seal at the door. Needless to say, a door that has lost its seal will leak water out.
Open the door and inspect the rubber gasket. It should be easy to spot if it has lost its seal. If it’s damaged or loose, it’s best to replace the gasket to bring back the seal.
You should also check the latch. It helps make sure that the door is closed properly and together with the gasket, ensures the seal. It could be loose or damaged. You can tighten it using a screwdriver or if necessary, replace the whole latch system. Maytag, Kenmore and virtually all brands have replacement latch systems.
Dishwasher Leaking When Not Running
There’s really no specific cause for this issue. It could be because of the listed issues above. It just so happened that there’s a delay in the leaking and it only happened when it’s not running anymore.
In most cases though, it could be an issue with the pump especially if the model that you have has a pump that’s responsible for draining the water as well. It could also be because of loose drain hoses.
Dishwasher Rinse Aid Dispenser Leaking
This issue has been reported with the Kenmore, GE and Bosch dishwashers, among others. This usually happens after a wash cycle. The rinse aid is a very important part for a lot of homeowners, especially those bothered with soap streaks, as it helps ensure that there’ll be no streaks after a wash.
If you suddenly find yourself refilling the rinse aid more often than the usual, then there’s a good chance that it’s leaking. It could be leaking from either the cap or the dispenser itself. You can check for sure by removing the cap, filling it up, then replacing the cap. Close the door, wait a few minutes, and then open the door again. You should be able to see where the leak is happening.
Sometimes, you just have to tighten the cap. If that doesn’t work, it’s also possible that there’s dirt blocking the dispenser valve. You can access this for inspection by removing the door. Take it out and clean it. The correct way of removing it is by removing the spring ring and the actuator arm first. There’s a good chance that you’ll find that it’s covered by solidified rinse aid.
There’s also the possibility that the rinse aid dispenser has to be replaced. This is if you see that there are cracks in the dispenser itself. The replacement part can be bought online although you’d need the expertise of a professional to replace it.
Water is Sitting at the Bottom of the Dishwasher
This is something that you probably noticed after a wash cycle. A dishwasher has to drain completely. This is why it’s confusing for homeowners to see if there’s water sitting at the bottom of the dishwasher.
Worse, it’s usually unclean water. It smells. You get some drops of it on the dishes that have been supposedly cleaned.
The most common cause is there’s food debris blocking the screen. You can solve the problem by removing the debris. Remove any standing water, take out the bottom sprayer arm, and check the screen for any food debris.
Please be careful when checking and cleaning the screen. In addition to food debris, it could also be clogged with broken glass, dishes and the likes.
Once you’ve cleaned it, it’s time to pop out the whole screen attachment. Check inside to see if there’s debris. You could probably smell it anyway especially if there’s slime buildup already. Once that’s done, there’s a good chance that you’ve fixed the problem.
Don’t stop there, though. Since you’re there already, you might as well run a thin snake through the drainage. This way, you can clear it of any clogs if there’s any.
Put the appliance back together and run the dishwasher empty. If there’s still standing water, you may need to contact a plumber because there’s a chance that the clog is deeper down the drainage pipe.
Here are some other possible causes:
- The air gap is not functioning.
- The drain hose siphons water back.
- The blade that chops the food is stuck.
- The float has been stuck.
- The appliance is not level.
How to Fix a Leaking Dishwasher
There’s no one answer on how to fix a leaking dishwasher because as you can see, it can be caused by several issues. Here are the most common issues. Included are steps on how to solve the issue:
- The pump is defective.
The pump is responsible for circulating the water in, around and out of the machine. Its responsibilities make it easy to see how a defect can cause leaking.
You can find it at the very bottom of the appliance. It mainly has 2 parts – one for washing and the other for draining. A defective part can cause issues. The pump itself may need to be replaced.
In most cases though, it’s usually caused by a broken seal. The pump attachment has rubber gaskets to seal water in. The gaskets will eventually get damaged so the seal will be broken. A simple replacement should solve the problem.
- The valve that feeds the water into the appliance could be leaking.
In some cases, it’s not the appliance itself that’s leaking. It could be the valve that feeds the water from your home’s main water line into the appliance. Look for the lower kick plate of the appliance and the inlet valve should be behind it.
Inspect the valve itself to see if you can spot tell-tale signs of a leak. Maybe there’s a crack along the plastic hose. The rubber hose could have a significant tear. Make sure to do the check while it’s supplying water to the dishwasher.
Fixing this issue could be as simple as securing the valve. Of course, damaged hoses will require a replacement.
- The gasket of the door doesn’t have a seal anymore.
This could be the case if you see that the water is leaking around the front door of the dishwasher. The gasket, usually made of vinyl or more commonly rubber, creates a seal to keep water from leaking out.
The gasket will eventually get brittle or damaged. All it takes is a small part of it to get damaged to compromise the whole seal. In this case, you need to replace the gasket.
- The door latch became loose.
While checking the gasket, make sure to check that the door is closing properly. If it’s not, then there’s something wrong with the latch of the door. Adjust as necessary or replace if needed.
You should also check the leveling legs. They should be supporting the dishwasher to level it. In some cases, the leveling legs are doing these for the mounting tabs that you can find at the top-most part of the dishwasher’s tub. This will lead to the door not closing properly.
- The spray arm is damaged.
The spray arm, as the name implies, sprays the water along with the detergent in and around the appliance. It’s located at the bottom part of the appliance although some models have more than one located at other areas.
The spray arm is usually made of plastic or metal. Either way, it can get damaged. Plastic is the more common material used. The plastic spray arm can warp just like any plastic. When this happens, the spray behavior will be altered. It can also crack and that will lead to the same effects.
On the other hand, the metal spray arm has seams and these can separate when damaged. This can also lead to alteration in the spray behavior.
The change in the spray behavior can be a problem when the water is sprayed towards the bottom of the front door. If you’ll check, you’ll see that it has no rubber gasket.
There’s also the possibility that the holes of the spray arm are blocked with debris. If some holes are blocked, you’ll see an erratic behavior of the water sprayed. This can also lead to the water being sprayed towards the bottom of the front door.
You can remove the arm itself so you can check if the holes have debris in them. Remove the blockage, if any.
The spray arm can be replaced if it’s damaged. You can buy the part online.
- The part that dispenses the detergent is damaged.
This is a common cause if you see that the leak is coming from the front of the dishwasher. The detergent dispenser and/or the rubber grommet that provides a seal may be damaged. Fixing this issue usually calls for the affected part to be replaced.
- The hoses and/or the clamps are damaged.
There are usually 2 hoses – the hose that circulates the water and the hose that drains it. They can leak if there are holes or damages. They need to be replaced if this is the case.
These hoses are secured in place by clamps. These clamps can get loose. If they are, then you need to refit them.
- The float is not working properly.
The float has a simple but important task – it prevents the appliance from being overfilled with water. Basically, it works by the water level raising the float up to the point where the rising water level should be stopped. This is where the switch is flipped to stop the water from flowing in.
As you can imagine, it can create a leak if they’re not working properly. Again, you can buy the replacement part.
Getting it Fixed by a Pro
As you can see, most causes of a leaking dishwasher can be solved by a part replacement. It seems that all you need to do is to order the part and then follow the instructions to replace it, right?
It sounds easy in theory but if you’ve tried to replace a part before, then you know that it can be complicated. There’s also the issue of accidentally buying the wrong part.
This is why we recommend that you get it fixed by a pro. You can just let a professional know that the dishwasher is leaking. He’ll inspect it, determine what the problem is, and then fix it for you. There’s even a good chance that you don’t need to order a replacement part. A professional’s expertise allows him to simply repair rather than replace.
Here’s another benefit. A professional can source the replacement part for you. This way, you can be sure that the proper part is ordered.
It can be hard to find the right professional to hire, though. You can fall victim to an incompetent contractor or you can get robbed in broad daylight with exorbitant rates. You can avoid these issues by using our free service.
All you need to do is to complete the form that you see on this page. Send the form with your complete details and the best contractors in your area that specialize in leaking dishwashers will receive your details. They’ll put together their best quote because they know that they’ll be competing with other contractors. This is why you’ll receive around 4 of the best quotes that you can choose from.