How to Replace a Dishwasher Heating Element

What You'll Need
Screw drivers (Phillips and Flathead)
Needle nose pliers
New heating element
Crescent wrenches
2 Sticky labels

Frequent use of your dishwasher will cause some component parts to wear out. Just because your dishwasher isn't heating correctly doesn't mean it is the end of the road for it. Instead of spending a considerable amount of money purchasing a new dishwasher, consider replacing your heating element for a fraction of the cost of getting a new one.

You can do this job on your own with the proper tools and instruction. Be sure that before you begin work on your dishwasher you disconnect the power from the unit to avoid a dangerous electrical shock.

Step 1 - Locate Heating Element

Your heating element is going to be located in the tub of your dishwasher beneath the lower dish rack. You will recognize it by its thin circular shape. If there is a cover directly beneath the lower dish rack, you will need to use the appropriate screwdriver to remove the cover to expose the heating element. After uncovering the heating element, you will see the two metal terminals at each end of the unit which will extend down into the lower cavity of the dishwasher.

Step 2 - Access the Wiring

After locating the heating element, you will need to gain access to the unit's wiring. To do this, remove the kick plate at the rear of the dishwasher by removing the retaining screws. Once inside, look for the area in which the wires are connected to the two terminals you recognized at the ends of the heating element. Using your sticky labels, mark the wires before you attempt to remove them to ensure you place them correctly onto the new heating element.

Step 3 - Remove Wires from Terminals

man repairing a dishwasher

The wires are connected to the terminals with a plastic coated or metal slip-on connector. To ensure you don't damage the wires or the connectors, use your needle-nose pliers to grasp the slip-on connectors to remove the wires from each terminal. If you should pull on the wires themselves, you will separate them from the slip-on connectors.

Step 4 - Disconnect Terminals

You will now need to disconnect the terminals from the heating element. The terminals are secured by a lock nut. Use your crescent wrenches to remove the lock nuts and take terminals away from heating element.

Step 5 - Remove Heating Element

When the heating element wires are free from the terminals, you can now remove the heating element. Be careful as you lift the heating element out of the dishwasher so as not to cut your hands on other components inside the dishwasher. When the heating element is out, dispose of it properly.

Step 6 - Install New Heating Element

Repairman checking dishwasher

Push the wires of the new heating element through the holes of the dishwasher and then secure heating element into its position. Once the heating element is seated, attach the terminals to the heating element using the same lock nuts. Once the nuts are tightened, place the wires on to the terminals in the same order by which you marked them.

Step 7 - Replace Kick Plate and Cover

The heating element and wiring is now complete. Secure the kick plate to the back of the dishwasher. Open the door of your dishwasher and place the cover over the heating element. Once this is done, you can place the lower dishwasher rack back in position. Restore the power to your unit and conduct a test run.