10 Minute Assessment


Dishwashers are usually connected to the plumbing. Water is pumped into the spray arms, which spin during the wash cycle. These arms can clog or break.

Most dishwashers use 4-6 gallons of water and 1,800 watts of electricity per cycle. Good maintenance can help with efficiency and save money. Watch for leaks. Even a slow leak can damage your home.


Every 3 months

Repair and replacement costs

Typical Costs

Repair: $160 – $300
Replace: $400 – $900


Life span


5 – 9 years

Steps to Assess Your Dishwasher

Step 1: Before turning on your dishwasher, look under your kitchen sink. You can usually see the water lines, shutoff valve, and drain hose. Make sure the shutoff valve is open. Then run your hands along the lines to check for leaks.


Step 2: Open the dishwasher door and check the gasket along the door’s edge. It shouldn’t be damaged or loose. Make sure the detergent compartment on the door opens and closes. The racks should move in and out of the machine smoothly.


Step 3: Do a load of dishes. Excessive noise such as banging, grinding, or squeaking may indicate a problem. See the troubleshooting section of your manual for more.


Step 4: When the cycle is done, make sure the detergent compartment opened. If the dishes are still dirty, you may have a water-delivery problem. Check the basin below the lower rack to make sure the water drained completely. If it’s smelly, the drain might be clogged.


Step 5: Every few months, check the water ports to make sure they’re not clogged. Clean small bits of food out of the spray arm with a toothpick or a toothbrush.


Step 6: Check the machine periodically during the cycle to make sure the door and water lines are not leaking.