Why Your Dishwasher is Leaking From the Bottom
My dishwasher is one of my favorite time-saving appliances. The fact that I can load up dirty dishes, walk away, and come back to clean ones makes meal prep and cleanup so much easier. This benefit is lost, however, when it malfunctions and leaks everywhere, so I looked into why this happens.
So why is your dishwasher leaking from the bottom? Usually, this is due to a drain hose or door gasket malfunction. Both of these are designed to keep the water your dishwasher uses in place, so if they aren’t working properly, gravity causes water to pool out onto your floor.
This can quickly damage your floors, cabinets, and walls as well as your dishwasher itself. Because of this, it’s important to quickly take action to stop the leak and identify its source.
What To Do if Your Dishwasher Starts Leaking From the Bottom
If you notice that your dishwasher is actively leaking, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent further damage and limit the amount that it costs to fix your leak.
- Stop the dishwasher’s cycle to prevent it from pumping any more water out onto your floors.
- Unload your dishes to make sure they are safe and out of the way so that you can easily access the inside of the dishwasher.
- Unplug your dishwasher and turn off its water supply. You can do this by turning off the shutoff valve that is usually located behind your dishwasher. You’ll have to pull the dishwasher out from the wall to do this, which may require someone else’s help.
- Check the filters for any leftover food debris that could be clogging your appliance, and wipe down the interior with a warm, soapy cloth.
- Look under any removable parts like the spray arm or filter cover for signs of damage and corrosion.
- Dry your floors, including the floor under the dishwasher and the walls and cabinets surrounding it. Set up fans to thoroughly air out the area, since if you don’t dry everything, you run the risk of damaged floors, walls, and cabinets as well as mold growth, which can take a significant amount of effort to remove.
Once you’ve completed all of these steps, it’s time to inspect the hoses and gasket to see if you can identify the problem. If you can’t find the issue, or if you’re not confident in your ability to fix it, call a professional.
Troubleshooting Your Dishwasher When It’s Leaking From the Bottom
Once you’ve stopped any more damage from occurring, it’s time to try to find the cause of the leak.
First, check the drain hose, located at the back of your dishwasher, to make sure it is securely attached and not kinked or clogged. A dishwasher pump has very strong suction, and if the hose becomes restricted, water that was supposed to go through the hose can leak from the bottom of your dishwasher during operation.
Next, check that your drain hose is the correct length and that it is not resting in standing water when your dishwasher runs. This could also restrict water flow, causing it to leak from the bottom.
If those searches don’t yield anything, inspect the door gasket for damage or debris buildup. Because of the strong suction, this appliance creates, cracked or stiff rubber can lead to significant leaks.
Finally, check the dishwasher’s air gap, located near the sink and the dishwasher’s drain line. This is a small device that prevents wastewater from flowing back into your home’s drain system. If this hose becomes loose or disconnected, it can cause leaks as well.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down the cause of the leak, note where the water is coming from. Is it wet behind the dishwasher? Or just on the floor in front of it? What about under the sink? The answer to these questions might at least help you identify whether it’s coming from the dishwasher door or a hose in the back.
If you aren’t comfortable with or aren’t capable of inspecting your leaking dishwasher yourself, you can always call a professional to help identify the source of the leak and make the necessary repairs. By taking a little time to inspect these parts and troubleshoot potential causes yourself, however, you can hopefully quickly stop your dishwasher from leaking further and save yourself a serious mess in the process.
How To Prevent Your Dishwasher From Leaking
While you can’t guarantee that your dishwasher will never leak, there are some things you can do to lessen the chances.
- Clean the door gasket by hand or with an old toothbrush periodically to prevent mold buildup and increase its longevity. In addition, if your dishwasher is more than a few years old, start inspecting the gasket for wear. The rubber can crack with age, so a replacement might be necessary after a few years of use.
- Inspect the drain hose for wear and tear and watch to make sure water doesn’t flow back into it during operation. If this occurs, you should clear any debris or hard water deposits in the hose or replace it entirely if the deterioration is severe.
- Clean your dishwasher with a cleaner specifically designed for this purpose once a month. This can help to keep mold at bay and break down hard water deposits to help ensure everything stays in working order.
- Check that you have sufficient water pressure to efficiently operate your dishwasher. If water isn’t flowing through it properly, this could cause significant problems with its performance and lead to leaks.
Who To Call When Your Dishwasher is Leaking From the Bottom
If you’re not comfortable inspecting and repairing your dishwasher yourself, or if you can’t find the source of the leak, it’s time to call in a professional.
A plumber can help identify where the water is coming from and make the necessary repairs.
Because leaking water can cause a significant amount of damage very quickly, it’s always a good idea to have the phone number of a trusted plumber on hand in case of emergencies like this. That way, you won’t have to search for one when something goes wrong.
You can also call the dishwasher manufacturer’s service department. They can often dispatch a repair person to your home that day or the next, which can be extremely helpful when you have a dishwasher leak and need it repaired as soon as possible.
If you go down this route, you’ll also be able to find out if the repairs are covered by your warranty, which could mean you won’t have to pay for any out-of-pocket costs.
This isn’t a guarantee though, so whether you call a plumber or a manufacturer repairperson, be prepared to pay for the new parts and the professional’s labor. This usually costs about $100-200, but it can vary depending on the severity of the damage and where you live.
When To Replace Your Dishwasher
Just because your dishwasher is leaking doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to buy a new one.
However, if the damage has become so severe that it’s no longer feasible to repair, or if your dishwasher is more than 10 years old, it might be time for a replacement.
Keep in mind that dishwashers usually last between 8 and 10 years, so if your dishwasher is nearing the end of its lifespan, investing in a new one, whether it’s leaking or not, could be the best course of action.
If you’re not sure whether or not it’s worth your while to repair your dishwasher, ask yourself these questions:
- How old is my dishwasher?
- How much would I have to pay to repair it?
- How much does a new dishwasher cost?
It might be painful to pay for an entirely new dishwasher, but if you’re already going to have to pay for an expensive repair that may only help it last another year, it’s often a better investment to just replace the whole thing.
Plus, new dishwashers are more energy and water efficient and come with a bevy of features that can make your dishwashing life a lot easier and less expensive in the long run.
What are some good dishwasher brands? Some well-known dishwasher brands include Bosch, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool. Just because your dishwasher is from a well-known brand, though, doesn’t mean it is necessarily reliable – even the best appliances sometimes malfunction. When it comes down to it, the best dishwasher brands are the ones that offer the strongest warranties and longest coverage periods, so do your research on these. You can even ask your plumber for recommendations.
Can I repair my dishwasher hoses myself? It’s possible to repair dishwasher hoses yourself, but this is a job that should only be attempted by those who are comfortable with doing household repairs. If you’re not sure how to do it or you’re worried about making the situation worse, it’s best to call in a professional. However, leaks from dishwashers can often be caused by clogged hoses, so if you think this might be the issue, try clearing any debris or food particles from the hoses before attempting any repairs.