Dishwashers tend to be some of the most used household appliances. When working properly, dishwashers save us time and ensure our dishes are properly washed and sanitized. However, wear and tear, and possible misuse, will eventually mean your dishwasher will need to be replaced.
So, when should you replace your dishwasher?
Dishwashers have an average lifespan of nine to ten years. Therefore, if your dishwasher is approaching its 10th birthday, you will likely find it is not performing as well as it used to – with rust, cracks, and broken components may become more prevalent.
Here are the top 9 signs it’s time to replace your dishwasher.
1. You can see cracks
If the dishwasher has any cracks, which are usually found in the dishwasher tub, it could be just a matter of time before the dishwasher begins to leak and potentially cause serious damage to your home.
Cracks can be caused by typical wear and tear or by items inside the dishwasher during a wash cycle.
If your dishwasher has cracks, contact a dishwasher technician and consider replacing the dishwasher.
2. The dishwasher is starting to rust
If you see rust inside the dishwasher, it indicates that the dishwasher interior is breaking down and that rust fragments are ending up on the dishes that you think are clean.
While ingesting small amounts of rust is not overly detrimental to one’s health (unless you suffer from hemochromatosis), rust inside the dishwasher is a strong indication that it may be time to replace your unit.
If you discover rust inside the dishwasher, try running an empty cycle with a spoonful of citric acid in the soap container. If rust is still present after the cycle, a dishwasher technician should be consulted to determine if the rust problem can be fixed.
Rust on the outside of the dishwasher indicates a water leak, which should be investigated. You may be able to keep using the dishwasher for now, but you will probably want to consider a replacement soon.
3. The dishwasher is making strange noises
If the dishwasher is making strange noises, the most likely culprit is a failing motor, which is usually not cost-effective to repair or replace. Strange dishwasher noise can also mean your unit’s pump is failing. If you are sure the noise is not being caused by dishes in the dishwasher, contact a dishwasher technician and be prepared to replace the dishwasher.
4. The dishwasher door won’t lock
If the dishwasher door is not closing properly, it is unlikely that the dishwasher can run a cycle. If you can run a cycle with a faulty door lock, you are risking a kitchen flood.
A defective door lock can be caused by hot dishwasher temperatures, which can warp the door latch over time – water pressure can have a similar effect, too. The dishwasher door lock can also fail due to an electrical fault.
Depending on the age and type of dishwasher, you may be able to replace the door lock rather than replacing the entire dishwasher. However, you should address this problem as soon as possible.
5. The dishwasher is not heating
If the dishes are not hot after a dishwasher cycle, your dishes are not being effectively sanitized. If the dishwasher interior fails to reach temperatures between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it will also mean the detergent will not fully dissolve and activate, and the dishwasher will not clean as effectively.
Typically, when the dishwasher does not sufficiently heat, it means its heating element is defective. It is possible to replace the heating element, but you will need to decide if it is more cost-effective to buy a new dishwasher.
6. The dishwasher is leaking
A leaking dishwasher is another tell-tale sign that the dishwasher needs to be replaced. However, whether or not you need to replace your dishwasher will depend on how much water is leaking and what is causing the leak.
Often, a leaking dishwasher is caused by a worn door gasket or a clogged spray arm that is directing water towards the door instead of at the dishes. Both the door gasket and spray arm issues can be resolved, but if the leak is caused by cracks or damage to the interior, replacing the dishwasher may be your only option.
7. The dishwasher does not drain
If you discover that your dishwasher is not draining – e.g., you find water is left over in the tub after a cycle is done – then your dishwasher may have a defective motor, control board, or drain pump. A clogged drain hose will also cause drainage issues.
Depending on the cause of the problem, the dishwasher may need to be replaced. Again, you may need to decide if it is worth replacing a faulty part or buying a new dishwasher.
8. The dishes are still dirty
If the dishwasher is failing to do its primary job – washing the dishes – it may be time to replace it. Dirty dishes at the end of a wash cycle can mean the motor or other important components are failing, and it might be more cost-effective to replace the dishwasher than to replace these parts.
However, dishes that are not being cleaned sufficiently can also be the result of your using the wrong detergent, a lack of a rinse-aid, a hard-water, overloading, or a dishwasher not being cleaned regularly enough.
Before running out to buy a new dishwasher, read your dishwasher’s manual to make sure you are using the dishwasher correctly, and if hard water is supplied to your home, consider installing a water softener.
9. The dishwasher is not Energy Star-certified
If your dishwasher is not Energy Star-certified, it does not necessarily mean you should replace the dishwasher immediately. But a replacement is something to consider, especially if the dishwasher is approaching the end of its likely ten-year lifespan. Energy Star-certified dishwashers will reduce your water usage and help you save on energy costs in the long run.
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