The Dishwasher Is Leaking! Do This First…

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.


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