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7 Reasons Why You Might Have a Dishwasher Leak (+ Solutions)

Dec 18 2023
A homeowner loads a dishwasher’s top rack with white mugs

Everyone loves their dishwasher. They’re the reliable buddy that helps clean your dishes after a big meal or a long day. The convenience they provide is why, perhaps more than other appliances, a leaking dishwasher can feel extremely frustrating.

There can be several reasons why your dishwasher is leaking, ranging from a faulty gasket to clogged filters. The good news is that most of them are common and can be fixed either by you or with some professional help.

So, is your dishwasher leaking? Keep reading for the solution!

    1. Clogged Filters

Dishwashers have filters that catch food scraps and other materials. However, if not cleaned regularly, this organic debris can build up and leave your dishwasher leaking from the front. A good indicator that the issue is a clogged filter is that it’ll smell terrible, similar to a clogged sink drain.

How to Address This Issue

Consult your dishwasher’s user manual to locate the filter, then follow the outlined steps to remove it from the machine. Clear any food debris and rinse it under water to remove any particles from its strainer. Do this as often as you can!

    2. Broken or Loose Drain Hose

If you have a dishwasher that leaks from the bottom, check the drain hose. This part transfers or feeds water to the drain line, pump, and sink drain. If the drain hose is loose or damaged, water will flow out of the machine and onto the floor when you run a wash cycle.

How to Address This Issue

Remove the kickplate at the bottom of the unit to check for water leaks along the dishwasher drain hose. Check if it’s fastened properly, then tighten as necessary. If the dishwasher is still leaking, check the hose for cracks or splitting as you may need to replace it.

Read more: Top Ways to Identify Hidden Leaks

A technician unscrews a dishwasher door

    3. Faulty Door Gasket

A gasket is the rubber material attached to the perimeter of a dishwasher door that creates a watertight seal when shut. It can become loose over time due to overuse or as lodged food debris limits its ability to seal properly. Both can cause dishwasher leaking.

How to Address This Issue

Open the dishwasher door and clean the gasket first to remove buildup, then check if there are any holes or if it has shifted out of place. If so, you’ll need to replace it. Be sure to have the new gasket installed by a professional for the best results!

    4. Damaged Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve lets water flow in the dishwasher during wash and rinse cycles.

If this valve is damaged (i.e. has cracks or holes), water can escape and form leaks. Furthermore, an inlet valve that isn’t properly sealed or isn’t shutting off properly can cause a leaky dishwasher by pumping water into the appliance when it’s not in use.

How to Address This Issue

To check a broken water inlet valve, run the dishwasher and listen for clicking sounds during the filling portion of the cycle. That’s the sound of the valve opening, so if you don’t hear it yours is likely broken. You should also check for leaks around the valve.

Read more: ​​Types of Water Shut Off Valves

    5. Improper Alignment

When a dishwasher leaks from the bottom, it’s often a sign that the unit has alignment issues. An unlevelled unit causes the water to overflow and exit beneath the door.

How to Address This Issue

Some dishwashers have front legs that can easily be adjusted. You can also add shims as needed to help level it out. However, if you’re unsure, you can always call a professional and have them adjust it for you.

    6. Using the Wrong Detergent

Yes, the cause of your leaking dishwasher could be soap! Using one that isn’t compatible with your dishwasher can create excessive suds that put extra pressure on the door seal. This can cause an overflow, which can be a plumbing emergency.

How to Address This Issue

Consult your dishwasher’s user manual to ensure you’re using a dish soap or detergent that’s meant for your device. This is fortunately an easy fix!

A hand tilts a scooper filled with dishwasher detergent into the unit slot

    7. Damaged Float Switch

A faulty float switch is another common cause of a dishwasher leak.
The float switch regulates the water level inside the dishwasher; it turns the water off to prevent overfilling when it reaches a certain level. If this part is damaged, the water will continuously rise and create a pool of water under the unit.

How to Address This Issue

Unfortunately, there’s no DIY method to address this issue. It’s advisable to call a professional and have them check your float switch to see what needs to be done. Avoid using the dishwasher temporarily to prevent excessive leaks.

Read more: Why DIY Plumbing Is a Bad Idea

Is Your Dishwasher Leaking? Call 1st Rooter!

When it comes to a dishwasher leak, the best course of action is always to call a professional plumber to assess the situation. Even if the issue is just soap-related, knowing an experienced set of eyes looked at it will give you much-needed peace of mind.

1st Rooter is the team to call if you have a leaking dishwasher. Whether it’s a water valve issue or a problem with your dishwasher door gasket, rest assured we’ve handled it all in our 25+ years of providing top-notch plumbing solutions to the GTA.

Fix your dishwasher leak today!

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