There's water in your kitchen, and it's definitely coming from the dishwasher. Use this troubleshooting guide to determine where the water is overflowing and get the machine running again.
It's important to perform regular fridge maintenance before trying these fixes. Your appliance should last for at least 10-15 years before needing replacement, so keep it running well with these dishwasher maintenance tips.
Incorrect Washing Fluid
Make sure your detergent is intended for dishwashers. Do not use liquid dish soap. Also, using too much detergent can cause flooding of the wash chamber.
A clogged filter will not allow water to drain, and the water will need to find another way to spill out. This usually results in water leaving through the door seals and accumulating under the appliance. I
- Inspect and clean your filter regularly.
Dishwasher Not Level
If your dishwasher wasn't installed on a level surface, then water can attempt to escape through any number of screws or rivets.
- Verify the level on newly installed machines.
Cracked or Loose Wash Arm Assemblies
If the wash arm is cracked, a stream of water can spray the door seal and cause a leak. Inspect and replace the wash arm if there is a crack. Do not fix the crack with glue as the glue will break down inside the machine. Epoxy will work as long as it can handle the internal run temperatures (120°F - 180°F).
- If the wash arm is intact, check that the support screws are tight. Looseness may allow water spray between the wash arm support and the pump housing, and thus another leak.
Faulty Water Inlet Valve
The inlet valves allow water to enter the dishwasher. When clogged or failing, either not enough water will enter the machine for a proper cleaning cycle to run, or the machine will continue filling with water until a leak or overflow occurs. If you're experiencing these issues, the water inlet valve may be at fault.
- Since the valve can fail both electrically and mechanically, test its continuity. Continuity confirms that an electrical path is present, and what its resistance value is. If the water inlet valve continuity tests at around 500-1500Ω, then it's likely fine. If it tests Overload (OL) or off the charts, it needs replacing.
- After verifying electrical continuity, turn off hot and cold water supplies to the dishwasher. Then, disconnect the water supplies to the inlet valve and hold the hoses over a sink or water basin, or bucket. Turn the water supplies on and see that water is flowing strongly at a reasonable pressure between 20-120 psi and not dribbling out. A low pressure and weak flow suggests issues with the water supply lines or valves. If the flow is strong, remove the valve and fill hose, and replace it with a new water inlet valve.
Note: Do not attempt simply cleaning and replacing a clogged valve as this part is likely to fail after disassembly.
Clogged Float Assembly or Defective Fill Switch
The float valve is located near the front of the machine, and signals when it's time for the dishwasher to stop filling. Food can accumulate under this valve and is worth inspecting and cleaning. On Bosch machines, this looks like an E15 code.
- Remove the valve. Most valves can be removed by pulling straight up.
- Unclog any food in or around the valve.
Underneath the machine is a lever that the valve moves which triggers a switch. This switch stops filling the machine with water. If this switch is faulty, the machine may either not fill with water or will not stop filling with water.
Additionally, the switch's lever may fall out of place and need replacing.
- Test the continuity of the switch with a multimeter. It should read close to 0Ω in the closed position and OL in the open position. If it doesn't read these values, replace the switch.
This is not to be confused with a tripped safety switch, where water is dripping beneath the appliance.
Worn Seals and Lines
There are many seals on a dishwasher. You can narrow the source of the leak and check the corresponding seals, and replace as necessary.
- If water leaks from the door, check the door seal. If the seal looks fine, check the door hinges. Bent hinges will prevent the door from closing and allow water to leak.
- Door seals will dry up or have excessive buildup where they meet the device. Clean seals and mating surfaces with a diluted vinegar wash.
- If water leaks from the motor area, check the motor shaft seal. On some machines, the entire pump and motor assembly must be replaced.
- If water leaks from pump area, inspect the seals for the main tub, float, heating element and blower diffuser.
- If water leaks from the drain hoses, check hose clamps and cracks in the hose. Replace hoses as necessary.
- If water leaks from the supply line, tape again with teflon (PTFE) tape, or replace old lines.
Faulty Diverter Motor or Diverter Seal
The diverter motor aligns the diverter disc so the disc can direct water through the upper spray arms. If the diverter motor fails, the dishwasher will stop and throw an error code. The seal is the gasket around the diverter motor shaft where it meets the bottom of the sump. A leak will damage the motor and leak beneath the machine.
- Safely uninstall the dishwasher and tilt it on its back.
- Remove the diverter motor and seal. The shaft may be worn which caused the seal failure and leakage. Inspect the switch printed circuit board (PCB) inside for corrosion, and replace if necessary to prevent future seal failure.
- Consider applying clear nail polish, conformal coating spray, silicone, or RTV to waterproof the board during installation.
- Install a new diverter motor and seal. Lubricate the seal and diverter shaft with plumber's silicone faucet lube.
- Replace the red wire diverter connector. If it's corroded and not replaced, the diverter will spin continuously and result in early seal failure.
Defective Drain or Circulation Pump
A new drain pump should only take a few minutes to remove all water from your dishwasher. Taking longer to remove the water or leaving standing water in the machine is a sign of a bad pump. Low humming, grinding, or squealing noises also point to a pump problem. Pumps can fail both electrically and mechanically. Some models of dishwashers may have separate pumps to drain and circulate the water, so check both pumps. These pumps are normally on the bottom of your dishwasher.
If your the dishwasher adds water, heats, and empties water but the dishes are not clean, then the circulation pump is likely the issue.
Let's listen to our dishwasher.
A loud buzzing noise indicates a blocked or dirty drain pump or wash pump. If the pump is jammed, remove the blockage. You may have to replace the drain pump if there are no blockages.
A squealing or droning suggests a failing wash pump. Search for blockages to the pump, and replace the wash pump.
A scraping sound suggests a damaged impeller or impeller fin scraping against the pump housing. The impeller is inside of the pump and is what moves the water through the system. Replacing the impeller instead of the whole pump may be possible. Inspect the impeller. If it's broken, replace it.
A worn drain pump may also have a hole, crack, or worn bearings causing a leak. Replace the drain pump in this case.
If none of the above tones are evident, then disconnect the drain pump from the system, and test its continuity. If the measured impedance in Ohm (Ω) between terminals is 15-40Ω, your drain pump is likely fine.
If the pump just hums when it should be running, the entire pump assembly might need to be replaced.
- Dishwasher Won't Drain
- Dishwasher Smells Bad
- Dishwasher Not Cleaning
- Dishwasher Not Drying
- Dishwasher Won't Turn On
- Dishwasher Stops Mid Cycle
- Dishwasher Leaking