Appliance Repair: How To Fix Your Dishwasher When It Stops Drying

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Jackie in Florida is on the line with an appliance repair question. Tell us what’s going on.

    JACKIE: Here’s my thing. It’s a Whirlpool dishwasher. It’s only four years old. And all of a sudden, just one day a few weeks ago, it just – I noticed all the dishes just stopped drying. And so I did some looking up and just sort of troubleshooting. It could be this, it could be that. And now, they seem to be washing but just not drying. But now there’s mold building up in it, as well.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

    JACKIE: And I’ve even noticed – like it’s still hot if I pull it right after the cycle’s done (inaudible). You could still feel the warmness of it but …

    TOM: But you’ve got to – but you have to hand-dry them, in other words.

    JACKIE: Right.

    TOM: Well, usually, if the dishwasher is not drying, the problem is in the heating element. The fact that they’re warm is probably just the hot water that you’re using to wash it with, because dishwashers are hooked up to the hot-water side. But the heating element is that electric coil that’s in the bottom of the dishwasher and it may have failed. But you’ve got a decision to make because you just mentioned you have a four-year-old dishwasher. And having somebody come out and diagnose it and repair it is probably going to cost you 200 or 250 bucks for the appliance repair.

    JACKIE: Right.

    TOM: So, what you’ve got to figure out is whether or not you want to risk that or just go ahead and scrap it and go – and order yourself a new one.

    JACKIE: Right.

    TOM: When it gets to be middle-aged like that, it doesn’t always make sense to repair it.

    JACKIE: Right. And here’s the thing. I’ve tried to even look up online to see if I could buy the heating element myself and then replace it myself but …

    TOM: Yep. Well, you certainly could do that.

    JACKIE: But the part number doesn’t come up. I can’t find a matching part to it. And so then I talked to Whirlpool and of course, they want to send someone out and …

    TOM: Did you try Sears? Because I think Sears has Whirlpool parts. And they’re really good about stocking a lot of parts and also taking them back if they don’t fit.

    JACKIE: Do I have to pull it out of the cabinet to get to the screw to unhook it? Or does it pull right …?

    TOM: I wouldn’t know without looking at it. And that’s the other thing: you’re going to be diving into something that you’re unfamiliar with and it might just be that, again, it just doesn’t work.

    JACKIE: Right.

    TOM: So I’m sure that somebody out here has had that problem before and has a YouTube video waiting for you to look at, to kind of figure out.

    JACKIE: Yeah.

    LESLIE: There’s a YouTube video for everything.

    TOM: Yep, exactly.

    JACKIE: Right. You can do everything on YouTube.

    No. And that’s actually – what I’ve looked into is YouTube, as well. That’s how I figure out how to fix anything and everything these days is YouTube.

    TOM: Well, good for you. That’s great.

    JACKIE: But I didn’t know if there was a simple way. I cleaned it well. I scrubbed everything down thinking maybe that was the problem, because you know how dirty they get and clogged up.

    TOM: Yeah.

    JACKIE: So, I don’t know.

    TOM: But like I said, I don’t think it’s a clog situation. Because if you told me your dishes weren’t coming out clean, then we’d be having a different conversation. But it sounds like they’re just not drying and that’s most likely going to be that coil.

    JACKIE: OK. Alright. Well, thank you. I think you just made the – my final decision.

    TOM: Alright. Well, we’re glad we could help you out. That’s what we do. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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