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Appliance Repair Guide

Dishwasher Repair Guide

Dishwashers are more than a convenience – particularly in a busy family household. They’re proven to save you a lot of time, particularly if you work or look after the kids during the day. According to environmentalists, they actually save energy in comparison to hand washing dishes in the sink – and we all know that saving energy means saving money for your household.

Many homeowners dislike the feeling on their skin when they do manual washing up. They’re worried that manual washing up is just not as complete and sanitising as using a dishwasher.

As with all technology though, dishwashers do go wrong. In this article, MoneyPod looks at the most common problems that dishwashers suffer and we consider whether it’s better to repair or replace your current machine.

Things to consider when having problems with your dishwasher

When most homeowners purchase a dishwasher, they expect around ten years of use from their machine without having any significant repairs or overhauls to it carried out by repair professionals.

However, it’s important to remember that, depending on the level of usage, that lifespan can be shortened considerably, according to Consumer Reports. Other factors that have an effect include the humidity of the rooms in which your dishwasher is located and whether you live in an area with hard water.

To get the longest life out of your machine and to preserve energy efficiency, experts recommend that you:

  • clean your plates of all debris prior to loading them into your dishwasher,
  • always use full loads,
  • try to refrain from using water booster heaters, and
  • let your plates air dry rather than using any inbuilt electrical fan.


Detecting and identifying faults with your dishwasher

Dishwasher owners report the following types of fault with their appliance more than most. What are they?


The dishwasher isn’t not cleaning my dishes well enough

This may have something to do with the actual detergent you’re using. You may be using less detergent dosage than required. Another solution to poor quality washing may be to space out the dishes across the drawers as much as possible to give the water a chance to circulate. Try where you can to remove grease and limescale as much as possible from your machine – every three months, for example.


My dishes are still wet when I take them out of the dishwasher

In most cases, all you’ll need to do is to load your dishes as directed in the instruction manual and add a drying solution to the rinse aid dispenser. Failing that, try to put up the setting of the rinse aid dosage. If these don’t work, you may need a technician as your dishwasher may have a faulty heating element.


The glass containers I put in my dishwasher are cloudy

This is more often to do with limescale than anything else. Water hardness in your area may also be a problem. If you’re seeing white streaks across your glass containers, this may be caused by corrosion on the inner surface of your machine. Try not to use low temperature settings or settings specifically designed for china or crystal.


My cutlery seems rusty

This may be down to the food you’re eating (especially food with a high salt content or food that is particularly acidic) and not down to your dishwasher. It may be time to replace your cutlery with stainless steel equivalents.


There’s food around the filters

It’s always better to try to scrape off any residue food items (including sauces and gravy) into your sink or into your bin prior to loading into the dishwasher. Once you’ve done this, using either the auto or normal cycle should get rid of any food residue around the filters.


How can I get rid of that detergent residue?

Is your dosing chamber being obstructed or blocked by dishes or cutlery during a cycle? If so, try to make sure that what you load near to the chamber will not get in the way of the release and the flow of detergent around your machine.


My dishwasher is not draining

Almost always, this is caused by the condition of the drain hose. Cleaning regularly will make a difference in most cases. On other occasions, it may be caused by clogging in the kitchen sink which will need a plumber to unclog.


There’s a nasty smell coming out of my dishwasher

An unpleasant odour coming from your machine is nearly always caused by the build up of food on the side of your machine or a dirty filter. To prevent, clean your dishwasher regularly and make sure that the filter is unblocked.


There’s strange orange straining on my plastics

In the way that some Bolognese-type sauces and tomato ketch-up sauces can be impossible to remove from clothing, most dishwashers suffer from the same problem. Scrape your plates as much as you can to make sure there’s very little or no red sauce left on the plate – you might want to think about thoroughly rinsing them under the tap before loading them into your machine.


My dishwasher isn’t powering up

Is your plug OK? Has the fuse blown? Is the door closed properly? Is the water coming through properly to the dishwasher? If everything seems OK but your dishwasher just isn’t powering into life, this may be time to call out a mechanic.


Why is my dishwasher leaking?

It may be that your dishwasher has too much detergent in it causing foam to escape through the seals. There may also be an issue with the pipes connected to your machine or to your waste pipe. If you have checked everything but can’t fix the problem, it’s a good idea to call out a professional to have look.


My dishwasher isn’t filling with water

This is either a valve or a hose problem. If you think it might be a hose problem, turn your water off, remove the hose from the dishwasher, and switch the water on gently with the hose over a bucket to see if there is a blockage. If it’s not that, it may be an inlet valve problem which will require the assistance of a professional.


Potential repairs and costs for your dishwasher

The parts of your washing machine that are most likely to need replacing the most are the pump, the heating element, and the motor. You’re likely looking at between £80 and £160 to call a tradesman out to fix any issues with these parts including the cost of labour, parts, and VAT.


Should I repair or replace my dishwasher?

Even though most manufacturers state that their machines will last ten years, it’s probably worth replacing your dishwasher after seven or eight years’ worth of use. If there is a warranty on your machine still which you can use to get a free repair however, this would be the cheaper option to consider for now if money is tight.

A quick look on Google Shopping shows that you can pick up replacement dishwashers from around £200 so if you’ve called someone out to repair your machine in the last 12 months and it’s going wrong again, buying new may be the better and cheaper option.

Unlike with your boiler where you can get it serviced each year for around £50-£80, tradesmen don’t offer a similar product for dishwashers because of the cost of servicing when compared to getting a new machine is too high.


What to look out for in a replacement dishwasher?

If you’ve decided that now is the right time to buy a new dishwasher, what do you need to look for? You can choose to go for full-sized units which take up to 150 items a load or more slimline models which are better able to be installed nearly to any fitted kitchen units you have. Where space is at a premium, compact (table-top) dishwashers are also available. Remember that the smaller your dishwasher, the more it will cost to clean the dishes, cutlery, and glasses you load into it because there is less being washed per load for pretty much the same amount of electricity.

Each household (and each meal) is different so it’s best to look for dishwashers which have the maximum number of programs and features included for the price you can afford to pay.

When is the best time to buy? Look out for sales at either your favourite High Street or online retailer – Black Friday and Cyber Mondays normally offer some impressive bargains. Stores are generally supplied on a monthly basis and are subject to targets by manufacturers so visiting towards the end of the month might land you a bargain that would be impossible to achieve at the start of the month.