Common Issues And Quick Fix Tips For Recurring Dishwasher Trouble: When To Call A Technician

My wife and I have an ongoing argument; who has washed more dishes? Her, in the entirety of our married life – or myself during my military service? We don’t know the answer yet, but I have no doubt that she would not like the tyranny of an angry kitchen sergeant.  

For me, washing dishes is one of the most annoying tasks. Regardless of military or civilian mess halls, you can tell me to sweep up, wash the floors, cook pasta bolognese for 20 people – just don’t tell me to wash the dishes afterwards. It would take the wind out of my sails.

The day we got our dishwasher, my life changed. I can still hear a distant choir’s call of ‘hallelujah’. It is one of the devices which I have the most appreciation for around the house. It saves time and effort, and the best part? No more standing over the sink, with an endless pile of dishes and an aching back.

However, a dishwasher is an electric appliance, and as such it is bound to come across issues, just like other household appliances. Even if we are talking about an expensive appliance from a reputable manufacturer, it will inevitably run into some trouble. In some cases, you can attempt to solve the problem on your own, and in other cases you need to call a certified technician.

Common Issues

Common issues

Here are some of the more common issues which occur with dishwashers.

Blockage – The device’s sprinklers can get jammed. Unlike a situation where the actual water pipes are backed up, this has to do only with the devices internal water system. This could cause the dishes to come out still dirty. The root cause is mostly due to loading it with dishes covered with food and grime. Larger pieces of food and dirt could potentially be sucked into the sprinkler’s mechanism, causing it to become blocked. You can clean the sprinkler openings by using a toothpick or pin. Once cleaned, return the sprinklers to their proper location inside of the dishwasher.

Timer – The timer is the component in charged with allotting specific times for all of the dishwasher’s various functions: flow of hot or cold water, cleaning, rinsing, etc. The timer is a highly sensitive component and trouble with it, is a common occurrence. If the dishwasher is not functioning according to the program you have it set to, this could indicate a need to repair or replace the timer. It is best to turn to a technician, who can isolate the source of the issue and, if necessary, replace the timer.

Filter – This is the part of the dishwasher tasked with keeping the device clean and filtering the water. Our dirty dishes have all kinds of dirt and grime on them, and it is the filter’s job to let the water flow and keep it clean by trapping the garbage. If there is a light leak, or if the dishes are coming out dirty, this could indicate a possible issue with the filter. The filter can – and should – be cleaned manually, and this alone should solve a lot of filter-related problems. If you are dealing with a more complex issue, a visit from the technician is in order.

Door – As with similar appliances, such as a washer or dryer, the dishwasher will operate only when the door is properly closed. If there is something physically wrong with the door – it’s bent, loose, or completely off it’s hinges – you will probably need to contact a professional. On the other hand, it could very well be that the door simply needs to be closed more forcefully. Use force, but not too much so as to damage the appliance. Remember that the dishwasher houses many delicate components, and it is best to use necessary force, and nothing more. You don’t want to experience more damage and inconvenience than you’re already having.

Furthermore, there could be a problem with the door gasket, which seals the door. When the gasket is malfunctioning, you should try to fix it on your own. If the gasket has only slipped a little, simply put it back in it’s proper place. However, if the gasket is torn or has been completely removed, you will probably require a professional.

Digital control panel – Also known as an electronic card. The card’s job is to manage the device’s operation, and give each component the proper instruction, according to the user’s chosen program. In the event that the card is malfunctioning, the entire dishwasher will be incapacitated. This is one of the more complex – and most expensive – issues which can go wrong with a dishwasher. In this case, a technician has to be called to pull out the card, examine it, and if necessary send it to a lab for repairs.

Mechanical control panel – Buttons and dials could become loose or dislodged. In this case, you can probably fix it on your own by playing around with the loose button or placing it back with pressure. Again, don’t use excessive force. Some electronic components are still usable even without their plastic covers, so be sure to take that into account.

Heating element – The dishwasher uses hot and cold water. To that end, there is a heating element charged with heating up the water to the desired temperature, before certain functions can take place. The dishwasher’s heating element is very similar to that of an electric pot or kettle. When should we suspect that there is an issue with the heating element? If we see dishes being physically damaged by the heat (too hot), or when we witness dishes coming out dirty (too cold). When the dishwasher’s heating element is broken, a dishwasher technician should be called. The technician will be able to decide whether the component requires repairs, or if it should be replaced with a new one.

These are some of the most common dishwasher issues. Many of them can be solved by performing some preventive maintenance which is at the level of the user and not a technician. Keeping the dishwasher relatively clean, and following the manufacturer’s instructions for use – found in the manual – can improve and lengthen the lifespan of your dishwasher significantly. While it is true that some companies are better than others, none are impervious to issues, big or small.

Before Calling The Technician

Don’t be pressured into anything

When an electric appliance stops working, especially one which we use on a daily basis, it can be accompanied with frustration and annoyance. But, before you call a technician, certain things need to be ascertained. First, you should have the make, model, and general description of the issue ready. The more specific you are, the easier it’ll be for the technician to know which parts and tools to bring.

Secondly, be sure that the technician you are calling is licensed to repair your kind of appliance. Not every technician who know how to handle Bosch products can also work with Samsung or Siemens devices. Even if someone comes highly recommended, he is not always the tech for you. Because of that, it is best to avoid using a random technician, without prior consultation. He could very well show up, see that he’s not certified to repair your dishwasher, charge you for a visit, all just to go back the way he came. Hey, it’s happened before.

Thirdly, get some kind of an estimate from the guy, based on the details you have shared. While it’s true that the technician will not be able to give a proper estimate before showing up and examining the appliance, he could provide you with a ballpark figure. Either way, remember that even though an accurate estimate is not possible, it is important to compare prices. Professionals charge different rates for different issues. Obviously, you want your dishwasher to function properly, but not at any cost. Don’t be fooled or pressured into anything.


A dishwasher is a wonderful device. It really upgrades the quality of your life. For the longest time, I thought there was no need for a dishwasher in our home. But, when my mother-in-law offered to buy us one, I couldn’t say no. I’m very happy with the device we got, and I have no doubt that it’s worth the extra investment. Practicing smart maintenance and proper usage can help any electrical appliance to function in the best possible way.

Read up on Home Refrigerator Maintenance and AC Issues to be better prepared for keeping your Home Appliances in check!

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