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My Dishwasher Flooded – Now What do I do?

Your dishwasher: it’s supposed to make your life easier. So when you open the unit and discover water pooling in the bottom, it comes as an unpleasant surprise. 

Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be the first homeowner to find that the dishwasher flooded. In fact, dishwasher-related flooding is one of the most common reasons people file home insurance claims. Now, the question is what to do about it. 

Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we know a thing or two about flooded dishwashers. As one of the leading residential water damage restoration companies in the Chicagoland area, our team has helped hundreds of households recover from (and prevent) dishwasher flooding. 

In this post, we’re sharing our top tips. Let’s get started.   

What Causes a Dishwasher to Flood?

dishwasher flood causes

Before you can learn how to prevent the dishwasher flooding the floor, you have to know what causes flooding in the first place. 

Dishwasher flooding is common, and the cause is usually something preventable. Here are some of the biggest culprits:

1) Improper Alignment

Your dishwasher uses a series of hoses and tubes to run water from the unit into your home’s plumbing system. If the dishwasher is aligned improperly, though, there may be gaps in the hoses, making flooding more likely. To prevent this, make sure your new unit is level upon installation (placing a level in the bottom of the dishwasher is the best method). If the alignment is off, adjust the unit until everything looks good.

2) Leaky Components

Leaking can be a big problem when it comes to dishwashers. In fact, about 10% of U.S. households have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more of water each day. If your dishwasher’s door or tub has a crack, leak, or gap, the unit will flood your floor each time you use it. While damage typically causes leaks in new units, older units develop leaks due to corrosion, dents, and worn-out seals and gaskets. 

3) Using the wrong detergent

Think detergent has no impact on whether your dishwasher leaks or not? Think again. While dishwasher soap is specially formulated for the appliance, using regular dish soap will lead to excessive suds. This can result in the dishwasher leaking. With this in mind, only use detergents that are made for your dishwasher.

4) Overfilling the Dishwasher

When you overload your clothes washer, it struggles to clean the load. Similarly, overfilling your dishwasher makes it take in more water than it should, but prevents it from draining properly. The result? Dishwasher overflow and a big flood all over your kitchen floors. 

While these are the most common causes of dishwasher flooding, simple things like clogged drains can also cause water back-up.

If you’ve noticed leaking or pooling after running your dishwasher, contact a restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore. The restoration team will clean up visible flooding, as well as checking the area for any hidden water damage or mold growth

How to fix a Flooding Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is leaking, stopping the flow is your top priority. Not only does acting quickly prevent additional damage to your flooring, but it can save you hundreds or thousands in repair costs and insurance claims

Here’s your step-by-step guide to addressing the problem:

1) Stop the Leak

water shut off valve

If water is still running, turn off the water supply at the main shutoff valve. The shutoff valve location varies from home to home, but it’s usually in a basement or crawl space

2) Mop up the Water

Next, it’s time to remove standing water from the area. Doing this quickly will help limit the severity of the water damage. Using a soft microfiber mop or some clean dish rags, remove standing water from the dishwasher base. 

If the leak is severe, turn off the power to the dishwasher before cleaning up. Do this by locating the power outlet that supplies your dishwasher (commonly situated inside the cabinets adjacent to the dishwasher) and unplugging the unit. 

3) Check the Pump

Next, look inside the dishwasher at the pump, which sits at the bottom of the unit. Inspect the pump for large food particles that could be blocking the drain. Remove any debris you find. 

4) Inspect Nearby Drains

If the pump is clear, check the garbage disposal and kitchen sink for clogs. Because dishwashers typically drain into these areas, a clog here will prevent the dishwasher from emptying fully. This causes backflow, instead. 

Keep in mind that thoroughly inspecting these elements can be a big job. While running the disposal may clear small clogs, some clogs require an in-depth inspection of the drain hose. If you think the clog may be in your drain hose, contact a professional water damage restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore. 

How Can I Prevent My Dishwasher From Flooding Again?

dishwasher flooding prevention

When it comes to dishwasher flooding, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent your dishwasher from flooding in the future.

Here are our top tips:

Inspect the Gaskets

The gasket is the rubber lining inside your dishwasher that keeps water where it should be. Over time, though, gaskets wear out, and leaking can begin. A few times a year, inspect the gasket for signs of wear and tear. One great way to do this is to close the dishwasher on a piece of printer paper. If you can pull the paper out easily with the door closed, it’s time to replace the rubber gaskets. 

Keep an Eye on the Water Level

Prevent flooding by keeping an eye on your dishwasher’s water level. As a general rule, it should remain contained in the lower part of the dishwasher. If you ever notice water at the door level, you probably have a clog that’s preventing the unit from draining correctly. Locate and remove the clog before the flooding begins.

Examine the Hoses

Hoses, like all plastic parts, break down over time. With this in mind, inspect the hoses for signs of cracks, tears, or holes. Be sure to check both the fill and the drain lines, or contact a professional to inspect the components for you. 

Has Your Dishwasher Flooded Your Kitchen in Chicago, IL, or Suburbs? We’re Here to Help!

When you need dishwasher flooding repair, you need ServiceMaster of Lake Shore. Your trusted local source for high-quality restoration services, we’ll remove standing water, resolve your leak, dry and sanitize the space and help you get back to life as you know it. 

Contact us today to learn more about our dishwasher overflow services or to request a water damage inspection!

Get Help Now

(312) 707-8597

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Our office is located in downtown Chicago, IL just west of Millennium Park, nearby Willis Tower and Magnificent Mile. We provide 24 hour emergency fire and water damage cleanup to all of Chicagoland including Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Gold Coast, Lake View, Magnificent Mile and Little Village. We also provide a variety of specialty cleaning services.