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Signs, Symptoms, Causes & Fixes 

We’re all thankful for dishwashers. They save us from the chore of wading through piles of dirty crockery and cutlery; make everything sparkling and hygienically clean; and save us from suffering dishpan hands. 
 
It’s easy to take your hardworking dishwasher for granted, but like any appliance these home helpers need a bit of TLC and may occasionally succumb to wear and tear. 
 
If you’ve ever been left high and dry with a faulty dishwasher you’ll know how inconvenient and frustrating it is to be without it, even for just a meal or two, until it is repaired. 
Service 87 is an experienced appliance repair company in East Hampshire who fix hundreds of dishwashers along the A31 corridor every year.  
 
They’ve come up with a list of common problems they find their clients have with dishwashers, and have shared their insight on how to identify the symptoms and causes of these dishwasher ailments.  
 
Most importantly they share tips on how to troubleshoot your dishwasher and get it working again, either yourself or with professional help. 

1 - Powerless Dishwasher – no lights, no action 

Your dishwasher is all loaded up. You close the door, set the cycle and press the button, but nothing happens! No lights and no reassuring hum of the motor or welcome sound of water spraying into the cabinet. 
 
CAUSE: 
There could be several reasons for your dishwasher being dead, most notably: 
No power supply 
Broken door latch 
Defective timer switch 
Blown thermal fuse 
 
DIY CHECK & FIX 
Usually, it’s the simplest explanation that’s the culprit – there is a no-power issue. You can check this for yourself by first checking to see whether the mains switch has tripped. If not, then check that the plug point where the dishwasher is plugged in is working (unplug it and try another device in the socket). If it’s still okay, check the plug on the dishwasher, and the condition of the cord itself. 
 
It's also a good idea to ensure you haven’t inadvertently activated the child safety lock on your dishwasher, which could have prevented it from starting. Check the manufacturer’s handbook. 
 
If the door isn’t closing properly, preventing the machine from starting, make sure the latch is not obstructed or clogged with residue. If it’s all clear, then you’ll need a dishwasher engineer to investigate. 
 
When you’ve safely done all the checks you can as suggested here without success, then its time to call in the professionals. 

2 - Dishwasher won’t Drain 

If you open your dishwasher after completing a cycle to find a pool of water laying in the bottom, this means there is a drainage problem. This will get worse unless attended to straight away. 
 
CAUSE: 
The drainage problem could be caused by clogged filters, a blocked or kinked drain hose, or a faulty drain pump. 
 
DIY CHECK & FIX: 
The first step is to check the traps and filters in your dishwasher and make sure they are thoroughly cleaned out and free of built-up grease and food deposits (you should clean the filters regularly in any case to ensure your dishwasher performs optimally). Next examine the drain hose and make sure that it is not blocked or clogged up, and doesn’t have any kinks in it, so water is running freely into the exit drain. 
 
If these measures don’t do the trick then you probably have a more serious problem involving the drain pump in the dishwasher. This will need a skilled repair technician to remove the base plate and check the functioning of the pump, replacing it if necessary. 

3 - Dirty Dishes After Washing 

If your dishwasher is performing under par, finishing up with crockery and cutlery that emerge after a cycle coated with grease, containing food residue particles, or glass that is filmy rather than crystal clear – in other words far from sparkling clean – action is required. 
 
CAUSE: 
This is generally down to an obstruction that is resulting in food residue not being cleared from the machine during the rinse cycle. It could also be down to the type or level of detergent used, hard water deposits, or improper loading of the machine. 
 
DIY CHECK & FIX: 
Before you resort to calling in a professional dishwasher repair engineer, there are some things you can try yourself to improve the situation. 
Ensure the jets on the spray arms are not clogged up. Your user manual may show you how to remove the spray arms with a spanner or screwdriver, so you can check them and clear any jets that are blocked. 
Make sure you pack the dishwasher evenly and do not overload it, so each item can be accessed and cleaned during operation. Take particular care that nothing is impeding the movement of the spray arms as they spin during a wash cycle. 
Clean out the dishwasher filters regularly – getting rid of not only bulky debris but also scrubbing off any limescale and grease build up. 
Check that you are using the correct cycle for the job at hand. A low-temperature or quick wash might not be enough to clean greasy pots and pans and the machine may just be spreading the grease around. 
Make sure you are using an appropriate good quality detergent – preferably as recommended by the manufacturer – and in the right quantity. In hard water areas make sure you use a rinse aid to avoid white residue on dishes. 
 
If despite taking all these precautions your dishwasher is still not cleaning efficiently, then you will need some expert help to check on the internal components of the dishwasher. It may be the result of a damaged drive belt, or a faulty motor. 

4 - Dishwasher Leaks 

When your dishwasher springs a leak, it can be difficult to identify where it comes from. The puddle that forms on the floor can be a bit of a mystery at first, so some investigation is needed to establish just how serious the situation is. 
 
CAUSE: 
A leak from a dishwasher could be originating from a defective door seal, loose hose connections, or a faulty pump. It could even be down to a damaged spray arm which is directing water towards the dishwasher door seal, weakening it and causing a leak. 
 
Very often leaks are the result of using too much detergent, which causes foaming. 
If there is an internal leak in your dishwasher the water will collect in the base tray, which usually has an anti-flood warning device. If the base tray floods you will be warned by an error code displaying on the machine. 
 
DIY CHECK & FIX: 
To prevent leaking, make sure your dishwasher is level and that you use the correct type and quantity of detergent. If the dishwasher does leak check the condition of the door seal (which can be replaced if necessary) and ensure the inlet hose and the drain hose have no rips, tears or perished areas which could leak. If a hose is damaged, replace it. Likewise, have a look at the spray arms to make sure they have not become bent or are out of alignment. 
 
If your leaking dishwasher is not cured by your efforts, you’ll need to call in a professional dishwasher repair technician to investigate further – there could be several reasons – probably connected with the drainage system and pump – that could be responsible. 

5 - Alarming Noises from your Dishwasher 

Of course, all dishwashers make a noise when they operate – usually a re-assuring hum of the motor, the occasional swishing sound of water being sprayed over the dirty dishes, and the intermittent sound of dirty water being drained away by the pump. If you hear sounds you would not expect – or even noises that alarm you – coming from your dishwasher, then it is no doubt indicative of a problem. 
 
CAUSE: 
Banging and clanging – probably due to utensils inside the machine colliding with each other or the spray arms as the dishwasher operates. 
Grinding – foreign objects (glass, a piece of hard food, or a small object) that has become wedged in the pump. 
High-pitched whine – a failing pump or worn seal. 
Loud buzzing – a damaged or blocked pump impeller. 
 
DIY CHECK & FIX 
To prevent your dishwasher sounding off make sure you load the machine properly – for advice consult your user manual. Improper loading can not only cause your dishes to vibrate, shake, rattle and roll, colliding with each other and the spray arms, but also cause them to be damaged or even broken – leading to stray pieces getting lodged in components of the dishwasher. 
 
If you do hear unusual sounds even when the machine is correctly loaded, check for small, hard loose objects that may be caught in the pump area. 
 
If you can’t figure out what the noise is, call in a professional because it is no doubt a sign of a failing pump, a worn seal or some other faulty component. 
If you have a dishwasher doing the dirty on you anywhere in the GU or RG postcode districts of the Hampshire/Surrey border, call in the prompt, professional team of dishwasher repair engineers from Service 87. Book a repair online or call 01420 481120. 
 

BOOK A REPAIR 

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