Prevent a Flood: Check Your Dishwasher

Dishwasher Leak

Dishwashers are among the top appliances that can cause home flooding, and according to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a few inches of water flooding your home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Sometimes, the leak occurs where you can see it. Other times the leak is hidden, causing unseen damage that can be detrimental to the structure of your home. That’s why it’s so important to check your dishwasher for leaks, whether you suspect a problem or not.

How to Check Your Dishwasher for Leaks

Check the Gasket

The dishwasher has a rubber gasket running along the inside of the door to keep soap and water contained. Age can cause the gasket to crack or tear. Start by visually inspecting the gasket. If you don’t see any signs of wear, test it further by closing the door on a piece of paper. If the paper slides out easily at any point around the gasket, it isn’t creating a tight seal and needs to be replaced.

Check the Water Level

Your dishwasher may also leak if the water level gets too high during operation. To test this, turn on the dishwasher and let it fill with water. When you hear the water shut off and the wash cycle begin, open the door and check that the water goes no higher than the lower edge of the door.

If water spills out when you open the door, there could be something wrong with the float switch or the strainer could be clogged with food and other debris. First remove the strainer and wash it in the kitchen sink to remove clogs. If that doesn’t work, have the float switch replaced.

Check the Hoses

Dishwashers typically have two hoses – a fill hose and a drain hose. To check them, first shut off power to the dishwasher at the breaker box. Then unscrew the access panel at the bottom of the dishwasher and shine a flashlight inside. You’re looking for two 1.5-inch rubber hoses. Run your hand along the hoses and the floor directly beneath them, feeling for wet spots.

Just to be sure, place newspaper under the hoses and fill the bottom of the appliance with water. After a few minutes, check the newspaper for wetness. Even a tiny leak can amount to substantial water damage over time. If you find a leak, first try tightening the clamps on the hose connection points. If this doesn’t work, have the hoses replaced.

Check the Water Inlet Valve

While the access panel is removed and power to the dishwasher is turned off, check the water inlet valve as well. This is the connection point that the rubber hoses attach to. If you feel water around the inlet valve, you need to have it replaced before you run the dishwasher again due to the dangerous mix of water and wires attached to the valve.

How to Locate the Waterline into the Dishwasher

If you come home or wake up to a leaking dishwasher, act fast to stop the water flow and reduce damage. All you need to do is locate the waterline into the dishwasher, which is most likely under the kitchen sink.

A single valve may control the water flow to both the dishwasher and the hot water side of the kitchen sink. Turn the knob clockwise as far as it will go to shut off the water. This gives you a chance to figure out what’s wrong while preventing further water damage to your home.

No one wants to face a home flooding situation, but if your dishwasher has sprung a leak, Rainbow Restoration ® is here to help clean up the damage. Contact us for a free home flooding mitigation estimate or for immediate assistance if you need help in the aftermath of a flood.


For Further Reading:

Prevent a Flood: Check Your Water Heater 

The 5 Leaky Time Bombs Waiting to Flood Your Home

5 Ways Flood Damage Can Affect Your Home or Business

Flooding Response: When Every Second Counts