Avoiding Dishwasher Leaks (and the Resulting Water Damage!)

leaky dishwasherDishwasher leaks have a reputation for causing water damage that often goes unnoticed for long periods of time. While seepage around the dishwasher door is conspicuous, less obvious, chronic leaks may occur beneath the unit,  slowly rotting the wooden subfloor and forming a hidden focal point for the growth of toxic mold.  Learning to remove the kick plate at the bottom front of the dishwasher and check beneath the unit with a flashlight is good preventive maintenance to avoid long-term water damage.

Here are the primary causes of dishwasher leaks and how to spot them.

Leaky Door Seal

The seal around the dishwasher door may eventually fail due to wear and tear or accumulation of soap residue or food particles. The signs of this particular leak are hard to miss. Typically, you’ll notice water pooling on the kitchen floor in front of the unit after every dishwasher cycle. For a DIY approach, first try cleaning the door seal and corresponding surface on the unit with white vinegar. However, if excess wear or other physical damage is present, seal replacement will be necessary.

Defective Water Valve

Leakage from the solenoid-operated water inlet valve can be detected by removing the kick plate and looking underneath the unit where the water supply hose connects. Usually, it shows up as a slow drip that may persist whether the unit is operating or not. You will often be able to see rust or mineral residue encrusting the valve. Valve replacement is the only option.

Worn Pump Seals

The drain pump that removes water from the dishwasher incorporates rubber seals around a metal shaft. As these seals wear over time, water may begin to drip from the pump housing. Often times, leakage only occurs while the drain pump is running, so looking under the dishwasher when the unit is off or not running in drain cycle may fail to pinpoint the drain pump as the source of water leakage. Rebuilding or replacing the pump is required to stop leakage.

For more on avoiding dishwasher leaks and the long-term water damage that they cause, contact Rytech Inc.

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