Any appliance that uses water can occasionally malfunction, and water damage to the surrounding area of the home can result. Dishwashers are no exception. We tend to take it for granted that we can simply load up our plates and bowls, press a button, and come back in two hours to a load of sparkling clean dishes. But if something goes wrong, all that water in the dishwasher can end up all over your floors.  If you don’t catch it right away, the leak will seek a lower level and damage sub-flooring, cabinets, or baseboards.

In some cases you might need to perform a repair, but many dishwasher problems can be prevented so that you never sustain water damage.  Review this list of the most common issues that impact these appliances:

  • A broken drain hose – Over time, the drain hose will show signs of wear and tear. Check it regularly and replace it before a leak occurs. Many experts recommend replacing hoses every five years.
  • Clogs – this extremely common cause of leaks occurs because grease and food particles build up and prevent water from leaving the dishwasher. When that happens, water backs up and can leak out the front and sides of the appliance. Make sure you’re rinsing grease and large food particles off of dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, and clean out the food trap in the bottom regularly.
  • The dishwasher isn’t level – if the appliance doesn’t sit level with the floor, water will pool in the bottom. This can destroy the seals over time and result in leaks.
  • Loose door seal – if water escapes the front of the dishwasher, it’s probably because the door seal is loose and needs to be replaced.
  • A faulty water inlet valve – if you’ve checked other sources for the dishwasher leak and can’t find it, the inlet valve might be to blame.
  • A faulty drain pump – over time, the drain pump can wear out. It won’t be able to flush wastewater out of the appliance, causing it to pool in the bottom and leak during cleaning cycles.

These are the most common problems homeowners experience with dishwashers, but it’s not an exhaustive list. If you can’t find the source of your dishwasher leak easily, call a professional to diagnose it. And in the meantime, hand wash your dishes. It’s a bit of trouble, but much easier than cleaning up and repairing water damage to your kitchen.