The Ultimate How-To Guide To Common Dishwasher Problems
In the modern home, the dishwasher is nothing short of a hero. This trusty appliance swoops in after every meal, taking on the arduous task of ensuring that our kitchens remain clean and our lives more convenient.
But, like any hero, even the mightiest of dishwashers can face their share of challenges, requiring a helping hand through maintenance and repair. These problems range from poor cleaning results and leaks to drainage problems.
As we discuss the common issues that dishwashers encounter, it’s important to recognize that taking good care of your dishwasher is vital. As per the survey of CR, Americans spend an average of $150 to $300 annually on dishwasher maintenance, and replacement rates have climbed to 15% in recent years.
Hence, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to tackle common issues and present straightforward solutions, ensuring your dishwasher operates seamlessly.
Common Dishwashers’ Problems and Their Root Causes
A recent 2021 survey conducted by Consumer Reports (CR) found that approximately 68% of users with malfunctioning dishwashers attempted to repair them. Hiring a professional technician proved successful for many, but not always.
Of those who sought professional help:
- 73% found a solution with their first attempt
- 18% succeeded after subsequent tries
- Regrettably, 9% remained unable to resolve the issue
These findings highlight the prevalence of dishwasher problems and their varying degrees of success in resolving them. It highlights the need to understand the common issues and their root causes.
A leaking dishwasher
Dishwasher that is not cleaning dishes properly
Dishwasher not draining properly
The dishwasher has become louder
Now that we’ve explored the common issues that can plague dishwashers, it’s time to turn our attention to a problem that often arises in their wake – the uninviting smell that spreads through your kitchen. So let’s delve into the reasons behind lousy dishwasher odor and how to combat it effectively.
Reasons & Solutions for Bad Dishwasher Odor
There could be several reasons behind a funky smell from your dishwasher. Identifying the smell is important to identify the cause of your dishwasher odor. A fishy or rotten food odor might indicate a clogged drain or dirty filter. A sewage or wet dog smell could signal a drainage issue requiring professional inspection.
The most common causes of dishwasher smell are as follows:
1. Dirty drain filter
The primary cause of dishwasher odor is often a dirty filter. Food particles trapped in the filter can produce unpleasant smells and hinder proper cleaning. Here are the steps to clean your dishwasher’s filter:
- Refer to your product manual for model-specific instructions on filter removal.
- Take out the bottom rack for easy access to the filter.
- Unscrew and remove the filter.
- Rinse the filter with hot water.
- Place the filter back into the dishwasher.
2. Drain is clogged
A pungent odor from a clogged drain should be addressed promptly to prevent potential leaks. Many newer dishwasher models have an alarm to signal a clogged drain line. If your dishwasher drain is blocked, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.
3. Food particles trapped in soap scum or other residue buildup.
Similar to your shower, your dishwasher accumulates soap scum over time. This scum acts like a sticky trap for food particles. Without regular cleaning, this buildup leads to a bad odor as the particles stick to the scum instead of rinsing away, causing an unpleasant smell in your appliance.
To clean your dishwasher with white vinegar, follow the steps below:
- Place a dishwasher-safe bowl containing two cups of white vinegar on the bottom rack. Avoid adding detergent.
- Run an empty dishwasher on a normal cycle.
- Choose air dry instead of heat dry.
4. Burnt plastic smell
Dishwashers commonly use heating to warm water and remove moisture from dishes and the appliance interior. Detecting a burning plastic smell during operation may indicate plastic contact with the heating element.
This often occurs when loose lids or plastic utensils fall onto the heater during drying. Stop the cycle when the smell arises, allow the heating element to cool, and remove the plastic item immediately.
Repair or Replace Dishwasher: A Homeowner’s Dilemma
As a homeowner, you’ve likely faced the problem of whether to repair your dishwasher or invest in a replacement. In this decision-making process, several factors come into play, each impacting your wallet and overall peace of mind.
1. Cost Considerations
Dishwasher Repair Costs
Data from Thumbtack reveals that Americans spend an average of $150 to $300 on professional dishwasher repairs. These costs can vary based on factors such as the type of repair needed, your location, and your chosen service provider.
Dishwasher Replacement Costs
On the other hand, a new dishwasher costs around $500 to $1,200, including installation. The upfront cost may seem higher, but it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits.
2. Lifespan of Your Current Dishwasher
According to Consumer Reports, most manufacturers suggest an approximate lifespan of around ten years. However, this doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free decade.
CR’s survey data of more than 140,000 dishwasher owners shows that approximately 24.5% of all dishwashers either break or stop working correctly within five years of ownership.
Following our guide to common dishwasher problems and solutions, regular maintenance can help you extend your appliance’s lifespan and enjoy years of trouble-free dishwashing.
3. Home Warranty Benefits
Ensure your home warranty covers dishwasher repair or replacement, as these issues are costly and often arise post-extended warranty.
Unlike homeowners insurance, which protects against disasters, home warranties cover regular wear and tear on appliances and systems, including your dishwasher.
Normal wear and tear, such as deterioration from daily use, is inevitable. Parts exposed to high-pressure hot water daily may rust, corrode, or break down.
A warranty plan is designed to address these issues, offering protection from the expenses of repairs and replacements for your home’s appliances and systems.
Your dishwasher is more than just a convenience; it's a vital part of your kitchen arsenal. By taking the time to understand its maintenance needs and addressing issues promptly, you can enjoy clean dishes, a healthy home, and long-lasting performance from this essential appliance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Often Should Dishwashers Be Serviced?
Compared to other appliances, dishwashers require more frequent cleaning and maintenance. So, you can DIY cleaning once a month and go for professional servicing every six months.
Should I Run Vinegar Through My Dishwasher?
Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your dishwasher. Add one cup of white vinegar to a dishwasher-safe bowl and place it inside your dishwasher. Activate a hot water cycle on the dishwasher.
How To Unclog A Dishwasher Drain?
To unclog the drain, use a homemade solution of vinegar and baking soda in equal parts. Fill the bottom basket with the solution and give it 15-20 minutes to rest. Finish by running the rinse cycle after adding hot water to the basket.
Should You Leave the Dishwasher Door Open When Not Using?
After a cycle, leaving the dishwasher door open for a while is recommended because keeping it closed creates a warm, moist environment ideal for mold and other microbes.
Do Dishwashers Use A Lot Of Electricity?
Modern dishwashers use approximately 0.8kWh to 1.5kWh per load, depending on the washing program, to heat, pump, and recycle the water inside the appliance.
How Long Can Dirty Dishes Sit In The Dishwasher?
Clean or dirty dishes can stay in the dishwasher for up to four days. Longer than that permits bacterial survival, reproduction, and spread.
Is It Cheaper To Wash Dishes Or Use The Dishwasher?
This solely depends on your habits when washing dishes. It should be less expensive than hand-washing if you only run your dishwasher when completely loaded. Also, according to research, turning the hot water tap on for up to nine minutes and one dishwasher cycle both use the same amount of energy and water.
Is It Better To Air-Dry Or Heat The Dishwasher?
Avoid using the heat-dry cycle on your dishwasher whenever possible. Alternatively, choose the air-dry cycle. This setting dries your dishes using air that is at room temperature. It’s simpler on your appliance and more effective.
Is It Worth Servicing A Dishwasher?
It may be worthwhile to repair occasionally, but servicing is not advised if several components fail at once.