Home Repair: How To Repair A Dishwasher Leak

Dishwasher leaks may stem from a faulty gasket, an ill-fitting door latch, or loose or worn fittings or hoses underneath the dishwasher.

Before beginning any appliance repair, it's a good idea to consult the owner's manual for your particular model. If you've lost the manual, try to find the website for the manufacturer and contact their customer service. Most manufacturers are happy to replace the owner's manual at no cost.

If your dishwasher is leaking, you'll first need to identify the source of the leak--it is probably leaking either around the door, or from underneath the dishwasher. These two kinds of leaks indicate different sets of potential problems. In this article, possible repairs will be discussed in order of increasing complexity. Whatever the source of the leak, your first check should be for human error. If someone has loaded the dishwasher with a detergent not meant for use with automatic dishwashers, or if you use a rinse aid and have spilled some, the dishwasher might overflow.

Leaks around the Door

Assuming neither of these two is the case, if the dishwasher leaks around the door, suspect a problem with the gasket. This is the rubber strip on the door that allows it to seal the water in. If the gasket appears worn, cracked, or damaged, you've found your problem, and the solution is to replace the gasket. Contact your dealer or the manufacturer to buy a new one. Soak the new gasket in a tub of warm, soapy water; this will make it easier to handle and install. While that's soaking, it's time to remove the old gasket. Before you get started, disconnect power to the dishwasher and remove the bottom rack. Just pry the gasket up with a screwdriver, undoing any screws or clips that might be holding it on. Then install the new one, starting with the top and moving to the sides and bottom, using any screws or clips that were holding the old one in place.



If the gasket appears sound, the problem may be with the latch. To adjust the catch, loosen the screws holding it in place, reposition it to allow for a better latch, and then tighten the screws again.

Leaks under the Door

Leaks under the door can stem from a variety of causes. If your dishwasher is very old, the tub itself may have become corroded and may have holes. Inspect your tub; if you see such damage, use an epoxy patch kit to repair it, following the kit's directions. Another possibility is that your dishwasher is not level; this can cause leakage. Open your dishwasher and place a carpenter's level on the floor of the dishwasher or on its door. If you find that the dishwasher is not level, you may be able to fix the problem by adjusting the feet, found along the front of the dishwasher, perhaps behind a toeplate.

If you have not yet found the problem, the next step is looking inside the dishwasher. Again, disconnect power to the dishwasher before getting started. Remove the front panel located below the door; this may be held on with screws or with hooks. Your goal down here is to find what is leaking so that you can either adjust or replace it. You will see a drain hose, about an inch and a half across, which connects from the dishwasher pump to the drain of your kitchen sink. At either end, it is held in place with a clamp. Check these clamps; if they are loose, use a screwdriver to tighten them. Check the hose itself for any signs of leakage; if the hose appears to be damaged and leaking, replace it. There is a second hose, the recirculation hose, also attached to the pump. Inspect the fitting and tighten if necessary, and inspect the hose itself.

Check the hoses on either side of the water inlet valve to make sure that they are securely connected, and that they are not damaged. Tighten any loose clamps.

The next and last items to check are the gaskets for the heating element, and the seal for the pump. If the gaskets are loose, tighten them; if they are obviously worn or damaged, replace them. If you have checked everything else, the pump seal may have deteriorated. If this is the case, contact a repair professional for replacement.

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