We may not agree on the best way to load a dishwasher, but few of us would live without one. Especially if you do a lot of cooking, have a large family, or do a lot of entertaining, a dishwasher can save lots of time over doing dishes by hand. It’s also far more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. But if you find it’s not working the same as it used to, you may be wondering whether you’re better off calling Ace Plumbing to repair your dishwasher or just replace it. The decision isn’t quite as complicated as it seems at first blush.
Dishwasher Issues You Can Fix
Not every dishwasher fix means a call to the plumber. Loading a dishwasher the right way can make a big difference. So can using the right detergent and rinse aid for your machine. If the machine comes to a sudden stop, check to be sure the water supply hasn’t been interrupted, or that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Also be sure to check the temperature on your water heater, and take the time to run the self-clean feature (if your dishwasher has one) or to clean out the grease trap.
Something else to keep in mind is that some dishwashers need your dishes to be dirty to work properly. They’ll sense the levels of grease and gunk in the water and clean accordingly. So if you’re wondering, “Should I pre-rinse my dishes?” you should know that doing a pre-scrub may mean your dishwasher decides it can clock out early. Reading the manual solves more problems than you might think!
Dishwasher Issues You Can Have Fixed
Let’s say you’ve run down the list above, tried everything, and your dishes still aren’t clean. Or you have another issue — a leak, a latch that isn’t doing its job, or just a persistent odd noise. You should also call for dishwasher repairs if your dishwasher doesn’t leak but isn’t draining properly, or if you’ve checked your water temperature and notice the dishwasher still isn’t running as hot as it should.
When You Should Replace Your Dishwasher
Now we come to a third category of problems. They’re things that can be repaired, but their cost is such that you’re probably better off just buying a new dishwasher. If the motor, pump, or electronic controls break, most homeowners decide the expense isn’t worth it. Structural problems like rust inside the unit, cracks, or significant scratches, are also a definite sign that you need to replace. After all, a leaking dishwasher doesn’t always leave puddles on the floor; it can be rotting your floor and cabinets, leading to much more extensive — and expensive — repairs in addition to a new dishwasher installation.
There’s one more consideration: age. Your dishwasher may not show its age in ways that are readily apparent. You may be scanning all the little issues we’ve noted here and decided your decade-old dishwasher has another five to ten years in it. But it’s not as efficient as it once was, and at some point the cost of repairs and maintenance will catch up to you. The exception is when your machine’s still under warranty; if it is, take full advantage.
Even though nothing lasts forever, proper use and maintenance of your dishwasher can ensure that yours has a long and productive life. That said, even the best and most modern machines aren’t designed to last forever. Just like us, they’ll wear out sooner or later. If you’re facing the decision whether to repair or replace your dishwasher — or many other common home plumbing repair issues — call Ace Plumbing for advice, help, and emergency plumbing repairs!