For most homeowners, their dishwasher is definitely one of their most favorite kitchen appliances. The dishwasher serves many purposes from keeping the kitchen counter tops free and clear of a ton of dishes, pots and those ugly dish drying racks that just get in the way, as well as it helps to keep your kitchen sink empty instead of it being full of dirty kitchenware.
However, no one likes a dishwasher when it is not working properly, when it is not working it goes from being the most liked appliance to the most annoying appliance. The most common problem that homeowners experience with their dishwashers is issues relating to a bad heating element. So let us now discuss what some of the signs are if you have a broken heating element and how to diagnose it to see if you want to hire a dishwasher repairman to fix it for you, or if you want to try and do it yourself.
The primary functions of the heating element are that it is responsible for maintaining the temperature of the water that is coming into the unit, so it doesn’t actually make the water hot it just keeps the water hot. The other function that it is used for is to heat the air inside of the unit during the drying cycle to make the evaporation process faster.
Now if you have a broken heating element you will notice this either in the wash cycle if you use hot or warm water and in the drying cycle assuming you use the heat option to dry your dishes. So you will notice that your dishes do not come out as clean as they normally do, as the water is not staying hot throughout the entire cycle. The first thing to check though before diagnosing the heating element is to check the type of detergent that you are using, if you are trying a new brand then that could be the reason why your dishes are not as clean as they use to be and then the next thing would be for you to check the detergent cup to make sure that it is working properly, what you are looking for here is the cup full of detergent when you open it up after the unit has completed the dry cycle, then you know it is not working properly. If both of these check out ok, then you should look to diagnosing the heating element.
If you did a heat drying cycle and you notice that your dishes are still wet once the cycle has completed, as well as if you feel them and they do not feel warm, then there is no question you have a broken element. So the next step from here is for you to decide if you would want to diagnose the element yourself or to hire a dishwasher technician to do it for you. To test the heat element, you can do it yourself without question, however the advantage of hiring a dishwasher repair service company is that they will have multiple year of experience with some or all of the top brand appliances such as GE, Miele, Maytag, Frigidaire, Whirlpool and Bosch dishwasher repair and they will be the best bet at fixing your appliance problems with ease.
If you are not familiar with doing home improvement projects on your own, especially when it has to do with electrical work, then getting a dishwasher service company to diagnose the problem for you is the best option. But let us now talk about how to diagnose the problem if you decide to go at it on your own. The first thing you will want to do is to disconnect the power going to your machine, you will probably have to do this by using the electrical breaker panel as most dishwashers are hardwired into the wall, but if you are lucky your machine will be plugged into an outlet inside your cabinets.
Open the machine so that you can find where the element is located, which is towards the floor of the machine, it may be exposed or covered but it is a thin circular tube. If yours is covered, then you will have to take out the dish rack that is on the bottom, then you can take off the covering. The element will have some metal terminals on each end; you can take a picture of this or just make sure you remember where exactly these terminals are positioned into the base of the unit. Next, you will need to take off the kick plate so that you can access the wiring for the element, depending on your brand; you may need to close the door to perform this step.
Once you find the wiring, you need to see where they connect to the element, this is why I recommended that you take a picture earlier, now go ahead and somehow label those wires so that you can connect them later to the new element, once they are labeled then go ahead and disconnect them by pulling on the slip-on connector, try not to pull on the wires, if preferred you can use a pair of needle nose pliers. Once the wires are disconnected then test for continuity with your multi-meter or multi-tester. If it is working correctly, you should get a reading between zero and infinity. If you have a broken element, then the reading will either go right to zero or you will not see any movement at all.
From here on out, you should review your owner’s manual for the specific instructions on how to do the repair or you can check online to see if you can find a tutorial video, also your local appliance parts store may be able to give you some guidance as they see these types of dishwasher service repairs on a regular basis. Or if you prefer, you can call a local dishwasher technician. In most cases, if you are having a problem with your dishes being cleaned or dried, then it probably has to do with the heating element.
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