Having a dishwasher certainly comes in handy, especially after a big family meal. But when this appliance suddenly gives up the ghost, you can be left in a lurch with a counter full of dishes to wash by hand. You can prevent a lot of dishwasher problems by taking better care of this appliance. Here are four specific ways to do so.
Install a water softener.
If you have hard water in your area, arrange for your plumber to install a whole-home water softener in your basement. This will remove dissolved minerals from your water before it reaches your dishwasher. As a result, you won't get mineral deposits in the dishwasher itself, so you don't have to worry so much about clogged jets. Your dishwasher should last a lot longer.
It's pretty easy to tell if you have hard water. Are you noticing limescale deposits on your faucets? Do you need to use a lot of soap to generate a lather? If so, your water is probably hard.
Clean the jets.
Look in the top of your dishwasher, and you'll see a long, metal arm. Along this arm, you'll see lots of little holes. This is where the water emerges from. These jets can become clogged with mold or food particles, impeding the dishwasher's ability to function. About once a month, take a scrubby sponge to them and scrub them clean. You can even wipe the arm and jets off with vinegar to help dissolve and dislodge any buildup.
Check the gaskets.
There should be a soft rubber gasket running along the edge of your dishwasher's door. Sometimes this gasket can start to break down, and then the door won't seal properly. Your dishwasher may then stop turning on (it may be programmed not to run if the door is not sealed), or if it does run, it may leak.
You can protect this gasket by wiping it down with vinegar and water once a week or so. If it starts to look worn or moldy, have it replaced before matters get worse.
Make sure it's level.
Running your dishwasher when it's not level can put a lot of strain on the motor. So every now and then, place a level on top of your dishwasher to make sure it's not sitting on a slant. If the dishwasher is not level, shimmy a thin piece of wood or cardboard under one side to bring it level.
For more advanced repairs, contact a company like Cleary Plumbing.