How to Diagnose a Dishwasher Leak

What You'll Need
Replacement hoses
Replacement inlet valve

A dishwasher leak can cause many problems. If it is leaking where you can see it, the chances that there is also water where you can not see it are very high, and if you have an issue that you can't see, you may have a bigger problem then just a wet floor. When there is moisture and warmth left for any length of time, mold and mildew will soon follow. Household mold can be very detrimental to your health and has been linked to the death of very young infants. Therefore, diagnosing and repairing a dishwasher leak can be very important to your health and the health of your family.

Step 1 - Check the Gaskets

Like most appliances, dishwashers have a rubber gasket around the inside edge of the door which helps to keep the water and soap inside. If this gasket is torn or cracked due to age, this could be the source of your leak.

To check the gasket, start by visually inspecting it for any tears. If you do not see any, take a piece of notebook or newspaper and insert it at the top portion of the door along the side. Then close the door on the paper and try to gently pull the paper out of the door. Open the door and move the paper to the next space and do this all along both sides of the dishwasher. A dishwasher should have enough of a seal to make pulling the paper out difficult, so if it slides out easily, you need to replace the gasket.

Step 2 - Check the Hoses

A dishwasher leak can also be caused by one of the hoses attached to it. Start inspecting them by shutting off the power to the unit at the fuse panel or breaker box first. Then, access the hoses by removing the kick panel located below the door to the dishwasher. The kick panel usually is held in place by two screws. One will be above the panel and the other will be located below.

There are two hoses attached to most dishwashers: a fill hose and a drain hose. These are each 1 1/2 inches in diameter. When you have access to them, run your hand over the exterior to see if you can feel a wet spot. Look near the connection points and also on the floor directly under the connection points. If the hoses are leaking at a connection point, the clamp may have simply come loose. If this is the case, simply tighten the clamp. If there is moisture on the hose itself, see if you can feel for a crack or hole. Damage to either of these hoses will mean immediate replacement.

Step 3 - Check the Water Inlet Valve

While you have the kick panel off, you can also check the water inlet valve. This valve is the connection that the hoses are attached to. If you see or feel water around it that is not coming from the hoses, you will need to replace the valve immediately. A dishwasher leak from the water inlet valve can be dangerous due to the wires that are also attached to valve. Electricity and water obviously do not mix, so if the inlet valve is the source of the problem, do not use the dishwasher until it has been repaired.

Step 4 - Check the Water Level

If the tub on your dishwasher gets too full, it can also cause a dishwasher leak. To check the tub level, turn the dishwasher on and let it fill. Once you hear the water shut off, open the door. The water level should be just below the lower edge of the door. If it is any higher, check the dishwasher for clogs which may be preventing water from properly draining.

While these aren't the only malfunctions your dishwasher can have that may lead to leaks, these are some of the most common. If you've checked all of these places and still can't locate your leak, it may be time to call in professional help.