Dishwasher Not Heating Water: A Comprehensive DIY Guide

Encountering a dishwasher not heating water can be quite a hassle, but this common issue is typically solvable with a bit of DIY prowess. This step-by-step guide aims to equip you with everything you need to resolve the problem yourself. We’ll approach this issue in a systematic manner, breaking down each solution into easily digestible parts.

Dishwasher Not Heating Water
From by Aleksandr Slobodianyk

Understanding Why Your Dishwasher Is Not Heating Water

The primary reason why your dishwasher is not heating water might be due to faulty heating elements or a problematic thermostat. Furthermore, if your dishwasher is not getting hot, the issue may be related to the control board or timer.

Testing and Replacing the Heating Element

Firstly, you need to test your dishwasher’s heating element. Disconnect the power to your dishwasher before attempting any checks. Remove the lower panel to access the heating element and use a multimeter to check for continuity. A lack of continuity indicates a faulty heating element which needs replacement.

Materials Needed:


  1. Safety First: Disconnect the dishwasher from its power source. This might involve unplugging it or switching off the circuit breaker that powers the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the Lower Rack: Take out the lower rack of your dishwasher to access the heating element more easily.
  3. Identify the Heating Element: The heating element is typically a thin, circular tube located at the bottom of the dishwasher.
  4. Test the Current Heating Element (optional): Using a multimeter, you can test the current heating element to confirm it’s the source of the problem. Set your multimeter to read resistance (measured in ohms). If the multimeter reads “1” or “infinity,” the heating element is faulty.
  5. Remove the Heating Element: Typically, you’ll find nuts securing the element to the base of the dishwasher, accessible from below the dishwasher. These are usually found underneath the dishwasher, so you’ll need to access the base. This might involve tilting or laying the dishwasher on its back.
  6. Unscrew the Nuts: Once you can access the nuts, use your screwdriver to unscrew them. Remember to keep these in a safe place as you might need them to install the new heating element.
  7. Disconnect the Wires: With the nuts removed, you should be able to see the wires that connect to the heating element. Carefully disconnect these.
  8. Remove the Old Heating Element: You can now remove the old heating element from the dishwasher. You should be able to lift it out easily.
  9. Install the New Heating Element: Place the new heating element in the dishwasher, making sure it’s in the same position as the old one. Feed the ends of the element through the holes at the base of the dishwasher.
  10. Reconnect the Wires: Connect the wires to the new heating element. Be sure to connect them in the same way they were connected to the old element.
  11. Secure the New Heating Element: Using the nuts you kept from the old element, secure the new heating element to the base of the dishwasher.
  12. Reassemble Your Dishwasher: Once the new heating element is installed, put your dishwasher back upright (if you had to tilt or lay it down), and replace the lower rack.
  13. Test the Dishwasher: Finally, reconnect the dishwasher to the power source and run a cycle to test if the new heating element is working properly.
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Always be mindful when performing these tasks as mishandling electrical appliances can lead to serious injuries. If you’re in doubt, consider seeking the help of a professional.

Checking and Adjusting the Thermostat

Another possible reason why your dishwasher is not getting hot could be due to an improperly set or malfunctioning thermostat. Ensure that it’s set to the appropriate temperature (usually around 120-150°F). If the temperature is correct and the dishwasher is still not heating the water, the thermostat might need replacement.

Materials Needed:

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Disconnect Power: As with any appliance repair, safety is paramount. Make sure the dishwasher is unplugged or the circuit breaker is off before you begin.
  2. Remove the Lower Access Panel: The access panel is typically located at the bottom of the dishwasher’s front side. You’ll likely need a screwdriver to remove this panel.
  3. Locate the Thermostat: This will usually be found attached to the bottom of the dishwasher tub or near the heating element. It’s generally a small device connected to two wires.
  4. Test the Current Thermostat (optional): Using a multimeter, you can check the resistance of the thermostat. It should read close to zero if it’s working properly. If it’s significantly higher, it may need replacement.
  5. Remove the Wires: Carefully remove the wires attached to the thermostat. It may be helpful to take a photo beforehand so you remember how to reattach them later.
  6. Remove the Old Thermostat: This is usually held in place with clips or screws. Once those are removed, you should be able to pull out the old thermostat.
  7. Install the New Thermostat: Place the new thermostat in the same position as the old one, and secure it with the existing screws or clips.
  8. Reconnect the Wires: Refer to the photo you took earlier to reconnect the wires to the new thermostat.
  9. Reassemble Your Dishwasher: Put the lower access panel back in place and secure it with screws.
  10. Test Your Dishwasher: Reconnect the power and run a dishwasher cycle to make sure it’s working properly.
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Remember to be careful when handling electrical appliances, and if you’re unsure about any step in the process, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. Also, keep in mind that some manufacturers may void the warranty if you attempt to repair the dishwasher yourself, so do check your warranty conditions before proceeding.

For more articles on dishwashers, click here: Dishwasher Problems and Solutions: Your Ultimate Guide to Hassle-free Dishwashing

Inspecting the Control Board and Timer

The control board and timer are crucial for the functioning of the heating cycle. If your dishwasher is not heating water, these parts could be malfunctioning. They are more complicated to diagnose and replace, and it might be advisable to consult a professional if you suspect these are the cause of your issue.

Dishwasher Not Heating Water: Conclusion

Facing a dishwasher not heating water can be frustrating, but remember, it’s a common issue with multiple possible fixes. By systematically checking the heating element, thermostat, and potentially the control board and timer, you should be able to find and resolve the problem. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to call in professional help to ensure your dishwasher returns to perfect working order.