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5 Things to Know About Dishwasher Water Damage

Thursday, July 9th, 2020
dishwasher water damage

Dishwasher water damage often isn’t dramatic but can be very damaging. The dishwasher’s among the most frequently utilized appliances in the house; typically, operated more often than the clothes washing machine. While the average unit only uses about six gallons of water per cycle (far less than hand-washing dishes), chronic dishwasher leakage can rot the floor structure underneath the unit and become a source of mold contamination.

Here are 5 things to know about dishwasher water damage and its various causes:

  1. Leaky water inlet valve. The inlet valve admits fresh water from your plumbing into the dishwasher. Leakage in the valve—or at the water hose connection—typically drips down under the dishwasher and may not be readily visible. Twice a year, remove the kick plate and look underneath the unit with a flashlight for signs of dishwasher water damage. 
  2. Deteriorated door gasket. The soft rubber or vinyl seal around the dishwasher door keeps water from leaking out. This seal may become leaky due to accumulated soap scum or simple deterioration from age. The source of the water is usually obvious as it seeps out around the door on the front of the machine. If wiping the seal clean doesn’t fix the leak, get professional service for a new seal.
  3. Drain hose leak. The drain hose under the unit may crack or otherwise deteriorate over time and begin leaking. This is another cause of dishwasher water damage occurring unseen beneath the unit. Remove the kick plate and inspect it twice a year.
  4. Defective float switch. The float controls the dishwasher’s internal water level. If the level rises excessively high because the float switch fails to shut off the water inlet valve, leakage may occur from the front of the machine. Replacement of the switch is usually required.
  5. Unattended operation. As with washing machines, it’s a good preventive measure to run the dishwasher only while you’re at home and awake. Starting the unit, then leaving the house or going to bed could make a dishwasher water damage incident more extensive and expensive.

4 Ways to Avoid Dishwasher Overflow and Flooding

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Like washing machines, dishwashers are often operated in a “set it and forget it” mode. Frequently, residents start a load of dishes, then go to bed. However, even when people are up and around, little attention is paid to proper functioning of the dishwasher. However, dishwashers can be the source of slow, long-term leakage as well as major overflow—both of which cause significant water damage. Cost of remediating damage after a dishwasher overflow, including preventing potential mold growth, averages around $5,000.

Overflow can result from four common issues:

  • Too much detergent. A consumer dishwasher isn’t a rigorously watertight device. Over-sudsing can fill the unit to a level where leakage of sudsy water out the front door is likely. Use only detergent specifically intended for dishwashers and purchase quality products: consumers often compensate for cheap detergent brands by adding an excess amount. This leads to high sudsing and overflow on your kitchen floor.  
  • Door gasket failing. The rubber gasket sealing your dishwasher door is subject to wear and tear. Over time, it may lose its elasticity to seal properly and/or develop cracks or splits that allow leakage. Occasionally, some food debris may become caught in the gasket and is allowing leakage. In this case, cleaning the gasket may resolve the problem. Otherwise, gasket replacement is usually required to stop leakage that is traced to the door.
  • Defective water inlet valve. The inlet valve starts and stops the flow of water into your dishwasher. A faulty valve—usually the result of defective solenoids—may not allow any water into the unit if it fails in the closed mode. Alternatively, it may stick open and allow too much water, resulting in overflow. Troubleshooting and repair of a dishwasher inlet valve requires expertise working with electrical valves and should be left to a qualified appliance service person.
  • Faulty float switch or sensor. The float switch or sensor detects the level of water in the unit and shuts off the flow to prevent overflow. If the switch/sensor fails, water level in the unit will continue to rise and eventually cause flooding. Replacement of the component is required.

Simple Tips To Prevent Water Damage From Home Appliances

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

leaky applianceWhen thinking about ways to prevent water damage, don’t overlook home appliances. While ruptured water supply lines are certainly a major cause of indoor flooding, appliances connected to those pipes also contribute to the risk of household water damage.

How to prevent water damage

To prevent water damage, be aware of the condition of these common appliances, follow manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance and keep the following tips in mind:

Washing Machine – Washers usually come standard with rubber water supply hoses. Over time, they become brittle, crack and may rupture without warning. Make it a habit to replace rubber washer supply hoses every five years. Even better, replace them with braided stainless steel supply lines, instead, that have longer service life. Another preventive measure: Don’t start a load in the washer and then leave the house. If you’re going to be away for an extended time, turn off the water supply to the washer at the valves on the wall behind it.

Dishwasher – Dishwasher water supply is under household pressure of 40 p.s.i. or higher—enough to cause water damage like any broken pipe elsewhere in the home. Early signs of dishwasher leaks often occur at plumbing connections that are out of sight beneath or behind the unit. It’s a good idea to remove the front kick plate two or thee times a year and look underneath the dishwasher with a flashlight for dripping or other signs of water. Check both while the unit is off and also while it’s filling.

Refrigerator – The 1/4-inch plastic or copper water tube that supplies the icemaker with fresh water connects to the rear of the refrigerator. If the unit is shoved too close to the wall, a plastic tube may be crushed or otherwise damaged and leak. If the refrigerator’s pulled too far away and over-stresses the supply tube, the connection may leak or totally detach and flood the kitchen. Be careful when moving the refrigerator and always check behind the unit for leakage when you do.


3 Tips To Prevent Your Dishwasher Backing Up

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

diswasher maintenanceHow will you discover you have a dishwasher backing up? Maybe you’ll open the dishwasher door and gallons of greasy, soapy water will slosh out across your clean kitchen floor. If you’re not around when the backup occurs, standing water may leak out the bottom of the dishwasher door gasket instead, spreading underneath the unit, saturating the subfloor and the wall behind. No matter how it happens, a dishwasher backing up is a source of kitchen water damage as well as longer-term effects like mold growth.

Tips to avoid water damage

Here are three tips to prevent the main causes of water damage:

  1. Keep the garbage disposal clear. Many dishwashers discharge drain water through the garbage disposal in the adjacent kitchen sink. If the disposal is clogged with food debris, dishwasher drain water may back up through the drain line. Fill the kitchen sink with very hot water, then remove the sink stopper and run the disposal to flush out debris. Pouring two cups of cracked ice plus a cup of salt down the disposal afterwards also helps clear clogs.
  2. Clean the drain basket. It’s the plastic mesh filter in the bottom of the dishwasher tub that strains out food debris that could clog the drain line. Most drain baskets can be taken out with a screwdriver and cleaned outside the unit. While it’s out, pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain opening. After 15 minutes, follow that with a pan or two of boiling hot water to flush the drain.
  3. Check the air gap. Dishwasher drain lines often incorporate an anti-siphon air gap—a cylindrical metal chamber mounted beside the kitchen sink. The air gap prevents waste water from the sink or disposal from siphoning backwards into the dishwasher. If the air gap becomes clogged with debris or soap residue, it may obstruct flow of dishwasher drain water. Most air gaps have screw-on caps that can be removed so the component can be cleaned out.

Ask the experts at Rytech, Inc. about more remedies for water damage from a dishwasher backing up.

3 Common Kitchen Flooding Issues Caused By Appliances

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

kitchen sink leak
A kitchen flood is an all-too-common occurrence, largely because there’s more than one potential cause. Kitchens typically incorporate multiple fixtures and appliances that connect to water supply lines under municipal water pressure. Note that kitchen flooding doesn’t necessarily stay in the kitchen: In one recent report, an overnight kitchen flood spread water damage throughout two-thirds of an entire residence. Keep up with the status of kitchen plumbing and appliances to reduce likelihood of these incidents. Here are three common causes of a kitchen flood:

Refrigerator Ice Maker

Most kitchen floods are caused by a broken refrigerator ice maker water supply line or connection.

  • Be careful when moving the refrigerator. The supply line may become kinked or break if the refrigerator is shoved too close to the wall. Conversely, if the refrigerator is pulled too far from the wall when cleaning behind it, the water line or connection could be over-stressed and may rupture.
  • The typical OEM plastic water supply line degrades and cracks. It’s a good idea to replace the inexpensive plastic with a copper or stainless steel line that offers better durability.


A dishwasher water line may slowly and silently degrade, leaking into the enclosed space underneath the appliance, then rupture entirely. Twice a year, remove the kick plate at the front of the dishwasher and inspect the space with a flashlight. Consider leaks or unexplained wetness a warning sign. Shut off the dishwasher water supply valve under the kitchen sink and call a plumber.

Under-Sink Systems

The cabinet beneath the kitchen sink may include water quality accessories such as canister filters or a reverse-osmosis filtration unit. A canister filter can leak around the seal or the canister itself may fail entirely, releasing water under pressure. A cracked plastic supply line from the sink cold water line to the reverse-osmosis filter unit and holding tank could also pose a risk of flooding. Inspect the system twice a year for signs of leakage or degradation of the plastic supply lines.

Ask the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc. for additional preventive measures to avert a damaging kitchen flood.

The Dishwasher Is Leaking! Do This First…

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

leaky dishwasherA dishwasher leak can be an intermittent event that happens only when the appliance is in use. Or, it can be ongoing even when the unit is turned off. If you feel immediate action is necessary due to the severity of the leak, turn off the unit then close the valve in the dishwasher water supply line. Typically, this shutoff valve is located under the adjacent kitchen sink where the water supply line branches off to the dishwasher.

There are several potential causes for a dishwasher leak and associated water damage. First, rule out the less serious suspects:

  • The wrong detergent. Dishwasher detergent is a specific low-suds formula. Using anything else can cause excessive sudsing that may overflow from the unit and appear to be a leak.
  • Door seal leak. This typically shows up as minor pooling on the floor directly in front of the unit. When the dishwasher is off, open the door and inspect the rubber seal around the perimeter. It may be obviously worn or damaged in some way. A very dirty seal may also leak water.

More complicated leakage can occur beneath the unit. Water may conspicuously run out into the kitchen or simply keep the area hidden beneath the dishwasher constantly wet. Unseen leakage can rot the wooden subfloor and/or spawn growth of toxic mold.

  • Remove the kick plate at the bottom front of the dishwasher then use a flashlight to check the dark area underneath for signs of wetness.
  • Dripping when the unit is off could indicate a loose or defective connection where the water supply line attaches to the dishwasher or a leaky supply line.
  • If no leakage is noted, run the dishwasher through a full cycle while observing the area underneath. If leakage happens only while the unit is running, suspect a defective internal hose, a leaking water circulation pump or solenoid valve, or a rusted out tub inside the unit.

DIY dishwasher repair for these issues is not recommended. Call a qualified plumber for full diagnosis and service.


Avoiding Dishwasher Leaks (and the Resulting Water Damage!)

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

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.

Dishwasher Leaks Can Turn into Water Damage Nightmares

Friday, December 12th, 2014

dishwasher leaksWhen you think of household water damage, dishwasher leaks may not be what first come to mind. Yet any appliance connected to a fresh water supply line and a drain pipe can be the source of leaks, ranging from annoying seepage to a severe inundation that pours hundreds of gallons into your home.

Even small water loss from dishwasher leaks shouldn’t be dismissed or put up with. Because it may be the precursor to a major flood, the source should be promptly identified and repaired.