If your dishwasher isn't rinsing dishes thoroughly, it could be that the heating element has malfunctioned. The heating element is a black or metallic tube-shaped device that heats the incoming water from an outside source during the rinse cycle. You should be able to replace the heating element yourself. Here are some tips to replace the dishwasher heating element.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- Philips screwdriver
- two adhesive labels or camera
- needle-nose pliers (optional)
- crescent wrench
- seal lubricant
- heating element
Turn off the power by unplugging the cord usually found beneath the sink or behind the unit. If you can't find the plug, shut off power at the breaker, or disconnect the fuse from the fuse box. Test to make certain the power is off by trying to turn on the control panel.
Look beneath the sink for a water shut off valve, and rotate it right. Locate the heating element, which is commonly a black or metallic tube installed between the tub and bottom dish rack. The heating element has two metal prongs running downward in the base of the dishwasher. If the heating element has a cover, remove it with the screwdriver.
Remove the Old Heating Element
Loosen the screws on the lower kick plate with the screwdriver to expose the wires. Place sticky labels on the wire connections, or take a picture so you will be able to recall how they connect. The wires are usually secured with slip-on connectors. Untwist the wire connector by hand, or use needle-nose pliers to avoid damaging connectors and wires, then remove the lower dish rack.
Disconnect the connectors of the terminal with a crescent wrench, then remove the old heating unit from the mounting clips, taking care not to cut your hands on the components. On some models, you may need to remove the arm with water jets to remove the heating element.
Install New Heating Element
Oil the seals on the new heat unit with a seal lubricant, and press the wires of the new heat element in the holes of the dishwasher. Connect the mounting clips in the dishwasher to the heating element, then reconnect the terminal. Using your picture or adhesive labels as a guide, reinsert the wires to the terminal.
This is a good time to check the tub for leaks. Pour water inside the tub, and watch for leaks. If it leaks, tighten the nuts with a wrench. Place the bottom rack back in the dishwasher, and reinstall the kick plate.
Turn the water and power back on to test the dishwasher. If the unit fails to work, or you don't trust your skill, call an appliance repair service, such as J & M Appliance.