Is Your Dishwasher Leaking?

In this time of heightened germ awareness, many homeowners have stopped washing their dishes by hand and started using their dishwashers more and more. As dishwasher water temperatures often reach above 145 degrees fahrenheit, a dishwasher is considered to do a better job of eliminating germs. Because of this increased usage, more water damage is happening in homes from leaking dishwashers.

The average dishwasher should last between seven and twelve years. But according to statistics, one in four will develop a problem that could lead to water leaks.

Most Common Cause of Dishwasher Leaking

The problem that causes the most dishwasher leaks is also the easiest to fix. The kitchen drainpipe becomes clogged. The dishwasher discharge hose is connected to the sink drain. When the sink drain becomes clogged the drain water flows backward into the dishwasher and then out onto your floor. Clearing the clog from the sink drain should rectify the problem.

Other Reasons for Dishwasher Leaks

dishwasher leaking

A similar problem concerning drainage issues is the dishwasher’s discharge hose may become clogged. You should always rinse as much leftover food as possible from your dishes before you load them into your dishwasher. This may sound silly and a waste of time but the less leftover food that has to be pumped through the discharge hose the better. The discharge hose is smaller in diameter than your sink drain line and much easier to clog with debris.

Sometimes the door seal on your dishwasher goes bad. This allows the dishwasher to leak, especially as it enters its final rinsing cycles. As dishwashers enter their rinsing cycles, they use hotter water temperatures and these higher temperatures have more effect on the machine’s door seal, which could then allow the seal to leak.

You may be able to correct this problem by making sure there is no debris around the door or the door seal. Another thing to look for is any type of crack on the plastic around the door itself.

The float switch sometimes gets stuck. The float switch tells your dishwasher how much water it needs. If the switch gets stuck in the down position, it will allow your dishwasher to overfill and then leak on your floor. The float switch is usually located on the inside floor of the dishwasher. If you reach into the dishwasher and grasp the float switch, you can gently raise it a small amount and you should be able to hear the relay switch click. No click means the float switch needs cleaning or is not working properly.

Sometimes dishwashers leak due to a problem with their water supply lines. Just as icemakers have water supply lines, so do dishwashers. The supply line usually is connected to the cold water supply line under your kitchen sink and there will be a shut-off valve on it. If no leaks can be seen under the sink, you need to check under the dishwasher itself. Remove the dishwasher’s lower cover, the one nearest the floor, so that you can look under the dishwasher. Use a flashlight to locate the supply line and check for any slow leaks or drips. The dishwasher does not have to be operating to see this leak. If there is a leak, by turning the supply line off with the valve under the kitchen sink, you can stop the leak until a repair can be made.

Problems Caused by Dishwasher Leaks

Obviously, if the dishwasher leaks there will be some form of water damage. This damage could be one of the following:

Hardwood flooring – if enough water leaks and is unnoticed, hardwood floors may become saturated. If you notice any waviness or warping in your hardwood floor, it is because of moisture absorption. As hardwood absorbs water it expands. The expansion is often seen as waviness, officially called cupping, across several different floorboards. The edges of the individual boards expand upward because any water is absorbed along the edges first. If this begins to happen, a quick response is required to stop and/or limit any further damage.

Vinyl flooring – most vinyl flooring has a paper backing. If water from a dishwasher leak gets under vinyl flooring the paper backing may support mold growth. If vinyl flooring is damaged by water the first thing you may notice is a musty odor. Another sign of water damage to vinyl flooring is discoloration. If you see staining or color change it may be because of water damage.

Ceramic flooring – many people wrongly assume that water will not harm a ceramic tiled floor. They are correct in that the water will not damage the tile but they are wrong to think that the water will not affect the floor in general. The damage occurs under the ceramic. Subflooring, adhesives and grout can be affected if allowed to become saturated and not dried thoroughly. Over time, the ceramic tiles could begin to shift and crack because the water has damaged the products securing them. Wet ceramic floors should be dried in a similar manner to hardwood floors.

Cabinetry – many of today’s cabinets are constructed with particleboard (engineered wood products) sides, backs, and floors. Because of this, kitchen cabinets are very susceptible to water and/or mold damage. You usually keep your cabinets closed so they remain dark spaces. Mold likes warm (most kitchens are warmer than the rest of your home), dark and moist conditions. You seldom inspect the inside of kitchen base cabinets so if there is or has been a dishwasher water leak there could be mold lurking inside your base cabinets, especially those on either side of your dishwasher.

Where to Find Local Experts

If you experience water damage in your home that is caused by your dishwasher, you can get immediate 24/7 information and help by calling 877-960-0491. You will be connected to a local water and mold damage expert that will answer any questions you may have concerning your water damage, and who will be able to dispatch help to you and your home immediately. Their initial inspection and estimate of the any needed repairs is free and without any obligation.

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