How to replace a dishwasher heating element
By Lyle Weischwill
This DIY repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the dishwasher heating element. The heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher tub heats water during the wash and rinse cycles and air during the heated drying cycle. If the heating element is damaged or won’t heat even when it gets electricity, replace it with a manufacturer-approved replacement part. Follow the steps below to replace the heating element in your dishwasher.
How to replace a dishwasher heating element video.
- 01.Shut off electrical power and water supply to the dishwasherUnplug the dishwasher or shut off the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher.To verify that power is disconnected, make sure the control panel doesn’t light up when you press a control button or the power button.Find the water supply valve for the dishwasher under the sink (or in the basement). Close the valve to shut off the water supply going to the dishwasher.Shut off the house circuit breaker.
- 02.Remove the bottom front access panel and toe panelUsing a nut driver, remove the screws that hold the bottom front access panel and toe panel in place.Pull the access panel and the toe panel forward and remove them.Remove the toe panel.
- 03.Pull out the dishwasherPosition the dishwasher’s power cord so it moves freely as you pull the dishwasher out from under the counter. (See Tip if your dishwasher doesn’t have a power cord.)Place a towel under the water supply line connection. Disconnect the water supply line from the water inlet valve and wipe up spills.Disconnect the drain line from the garbage disposal or sink drain.Remove the 2 mounting screws from the brackets that secure the dishwasher in the cabinet opening.Tip: If your dishwasher power supply is hard-wired directly into the junction box, remove junction box cover and disconnect the wires. Remove the strain relief nut to release the power cable from the junction box.Disconnect the water supply line from the inlet valve.
- 04.Remove the heating elementPull the bottom dishrack out of the dishwasher and close the door.Carefully lay the dishwasher on its back to access the heating element’s wiring and mounting hardware.Pull the wires off the connection spades on the heating element.Using a crescent wrench, remove the plastic heating element mounting nuts.Set the dishwasher upright and open the door.Pull the heating element up into the tub and release the mounting clip inside the tub.Pull out the element.Remove the dishwasher heating element nuts.
- 05.Install the new heating elementLubricate the seals on the leads of the new heating element with a small amount of rinse aid.Push the leads of the new heating element through the holes in the back of the tub.Attach the mounting clip inside the tub to the new heating element.Set the dishwasher on its back.Install the plastic nuts on the ends of the leads; don’t cross-thread the plastic nuts.Tighten the nuts until they’re snug, to prevent leaks.Push the wires completely onto the leads of the heating element.Set the dishwasher upright. Pour water into the dishwasher. Check for leaks around the plastic nuts. To stop leaks, tighten the nuts to seat the rubber seals.Reinstall the bottom dishrack.Install the new dishwasher heating element.
- 06.Reinstall the dishwasherTilt the dishwasher upright and carefully push the dishwasher under the counter.Reconnect the drain hose to the garbage disposal or sink drain.Reconnect the water supply line to the inlet water valve.Insert the screws into the mounting brackets that secure the dishwasher under the counter and tighten the screws.Position the toe panel on the dishwasher and then position the access panel in front of the toe panel. Insert and firmly tighten the mounting screws.Tip: If the dishwasher hardwires into a junction box, push the power cable into the junction box and reinstall the strain relief nut. Reconnect the wires in the junction box and reinstall the junction box cover.Reconnect the water supply line to the inlet valve.
- 07.Restore electrical power and the water supplyReset the house circuit breaker or plug in the dishwasher to restore electrical power.Open the water supply valve.
A dishwasher does more than clean your dishes. It saves you time, money, and energy. According to Energy Star, the average user can free 230 hours, which corresponds to 10 full days, from their schedules each year just by letting a dishwasher handle this daily chore. Of course, a dishwasher that isn’t working well is not going to be able to handle the job, so it is vital to fix small problems early to ensure you reap the biggest benefits from the appliance.
Dishwasher repair costs can run anywhere from just a few dollars to several hundred. A lot depends on the brand you have and the extent of the problem. Nationwide, though, homeowners should plan on paying about $300 for the average repair.
Fixing a broken dishwasher can range in price from $10 to change out a rubber gasket 1 on your own, to $500 to have a repairman put in a new control panel. With price ranges this dramatic, you may be wondering what factors influence the final cost. Here are just a few:
- Location. If the repairman must travel more than a few miles to reach your home, expect to pay a premium for his time. Some may even tack on a travel fee to the overall cost of the repair visit.
- Contractors’ experience. Today’s repairmen must undergo regular training offered by specific manufacturers, which can be a costly expense. The more experience and training the repairman has, the higher fee he is likely to charge.
- Brand. Every brand features different manufacturer costs for replacement parts, and this can dramatically impact your repair bill. For instance, Samsung tends to have the highest replacement costs, and while Whirlpool may charge less for their parts, dishwashers made by this manufacturer tend to throw more faulty codes, making their repairs a bit more expensive. Bosch dishwashers tend to feature more drainage issues than other brands, but since these are relatively easy to fix, they tend to carry smaller repair costs.
- Type of repair. The final cost of any dishwasher repair depends a great deal on what is wrong. With standard repairs ranging from anything from a worn gasket costing around $10, to faulty motors and pumps 2 costing $400-$600, your final bill can vary depending on what new parts your dishwasher needs.
- Age of appliance. The age of the appliance can have a big impact on your final repair costs. Finding parts for appliances older than 10 years can be difficult, which could require a premium to retrofit newer parts. This, of course, also takes more time and knowledge, and thus commands a higher fee.
- Availability of parts. With so many different dishwashers being sold today, it is virtually impossible for any repairman to carry all of the specific parts he may need to make a repair. Finding the right parts can be time consuming and the cost of shipping will also be added to your bill.