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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.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Dishwasher

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

dishwasherIs a dishwasher backing up a sign that the end is near? The average service life of dishwashers is about 9 years. Severe backups can leak water out the dishwasher front door seal and cause kitchen water damage. Usually, however, they are a symptom of some repairable issue versus a sign that your dishwasher is on the verge of total failure. In fact, the problem may actually originate outside the dishwasher itself, in the the sink or garbage disposal. Before you assume that a dishwasher backing up needs to be replaced with a new unit, try these tips to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Remove the bottom rack from the unit. Locate the drain openings in the back of the dishwasher pan and feel for scraps of food or other debris that may be impeding proper drainage. Clear any blockage, replace the rack and test the dishwasher.
  • If backup recurs, look under the kitchen sink for the dishwasher drain hose connected to the garbage disposal. Straighten the hose if it if it appears to have become kinked or twisted, blocking free flow of drain water from the dishwasher.
  • If the hose appears functional, fill the sink with hot water, then remove the stopper and turn on the disposal. Allow hot water to flush the disposal for several minutes. If drainage through the disposal appears very slow or totally obstructed, you now know that the backup problem is a clogged disposal, not a dishwasher issue.
  • Locate the air gap, a cylindrical metal unit typically on top of the sink beside the faucet. It’s actually a backflow prevention device in the dishwasher drain path to keep dirty sink or disposal water from flowing back into the dishwasher. If the air gap becomes clogged with debris, however, it will also inhibit proper dishwasher drainage flow into the disposal and backup will occur. Most air gaps have a top cover that can be unscrewed to check for clogging debris and clean out the unit.

Ask the Rytech professionals for more solutions to potential water damage issues like a dishwasher backing up.


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.