Although there are several factors that could be affecting your dishwasher heating, the most common part associated with dishwasher temperature problems is the heating element. Even in high quality parts it is common for the wires to burn out. You can use a multimeter to assess whether or not a part needs to be replaced – this measures element resistance, which should be between 15 and 30 ohms. A reading above 30 means the element needs to be replaced.
Luckily this situation is a fairly simple and relatively inexpensive fix (compared to the cost of hiring a handyman). Here is a step-by-step guide for this doable DIY dishwasher fix. You will need a new heating element, a multimeter and a basic toolset.
You can find a heating element on our site.
How To Change a Dishwasher Heating Element
Before starting, it may be helpful to locate your dishwasher manual if you have it handy.
To begin, you must disconnect the dishwasher from the power source and water supply. To shut off the power supply, you can unplug the dishwasher or flip the appropriate circuit breaker switch. To turn off the water, locate the water supply valve located under the sink or basement and close the valve.
- Remove the bottom front access panel and insulation behind it. Using the appropriate screwdriver, remove all of the screws holding it in place. Take off the panel and set it aside.
- Next, access the heating element. Do this by first opening the dishwasher door, then slide the lower dishrack all the way off the track and set it aside. Once you have done this, reach into the center of the dishwasher and remove the lower arm spray and also set this aside for later.
- Now, you’ll need to dismount the dishwasher from the countertop. Locate brackets holding the dishwasher to the countertop and remove the 2 mounting screws using a screwdriver. Put these screws in a designated place – you will use them again in the final steps. Be careful when removing the dishwasher from the counter so you do not tear the insulation. Set the piece of insulation aside to place back before reinstalling.
- Access the junction box located behind the front access panel. Remove the cover to the junction box using a screwdriver if necessary to remove the screws, and disconnect all wires by pulling on the plastic ends. Set junction box cover aside.
- Next, find the water inlet valve. This should be located near the bottom left side of the dishwasher behind the access panel. Then disconnect the drain hose (water supply line) from the water inlet valve using pliers. Leave this on the ground nearby.
- With these steps completed, access the bottom of the dishwasher to finish disconnecting the heating element. Pull out the dishwasher and lay it on its back. Find the wiring connections on the bottom of the washer. Disconnect the element wires from their connection on each side of the dishwasher by pulling on the plastic connectors. Do not pull on the wire directly, so as not to damage any components.
- Next, use a wrench to unscrew each of the terminal nuts that hold the heating element to the washer. Set the terminal nuts in a designated safe place. Then stand the dishwasher back up as before.
- The old element is now free to be removed. Open the dishwasher door and remove the old element. Place it inside of a safely closed container and set it aside for safe disposal later.
- Replace old element with new element by placing it in the internal support brackets. Align the cord to fit snugly within the brackets so it is held in place.
- Then, carefully feed the terminal ends of the heating element through the holes in the bottom of the dishwasher. The ends of the element should extend through the bottom of the dishwasher. Now you can close the door and lay the dishwasher on its back again to access the connection wires.
- Tighten the terminal nuts around the ends of the heating element using a wrench. Securely reconnect the ends of the heating element to their connections on each side of the dishwasher. Stand the dishwasher back up. The new heating element is installed and you can reinstall the dishwasher.
- Start by reconnecting the drain hose (water supply line) to the water inlet valve that is located on the bottom left of the dishwasher. Use channel lock pliers to tighten the metal connector and tighten until it is firmly secured in place. Place the piece of insulation around the top and sides of the dishwasher.
- Carefully place the dishwasher back in the wall. Take care not to strain yourself while moving the dishwasher back in place and ask another person for assistance if necessary. Be mindful not to rip or get the insulation stuck or more on one side than the other.
- Reconnect junction box wires and replace screws that hold the junction box cover in place. Replace the bottom access panel and reinstate screws using a screwdriver.
- Reinstall the 2 mounting screws to the countertop bracket and tighten until they are secure. Locate the 2 mounting screws you removed from the countertop bracket and reinstall using a screwdriver. The DIY procedure is almost complete.
- Lastly, restore electrical power and water supply to the dishwasher. Open the water supply valve and restore power to the dishwasher by plugging it in or flipping the circuit breaker switch.
Congratulations! Your DIY home repair is now complete. To test your new heating element, run the dishwasher with the heated drying option selected. During the heated drying phase, open the dishwasher. If the element is working properly, you should be able to feel steam escape from inside the dishwasher. If it does not seem to be heating, go back and check your steps to make sure the wiring is properly connected.
Do not get discouraged! Learning DIY repair may take a little time but your efforts will pay off in the end.
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