While dishwashers were designed to be a convenience, it’s not long before most of them turn into an inconvenience, or don’t get used at all. There are lots of reasons why a dishwasher stops washing properly, and most of them are really easy to fix.
These easy DIY home maintenance tips provided by the chief home inspector and home maintenance consultant at C4U Home Inspections, Lloyd Kenzle, will probably make all the difference and have your dishwasher working double time, in no time at all.
Improper loading of a dishwasher is the most common cause behind them not working correctly. If you’re finding food waste stuck on the plates, the first step is to look at the way you are loading your dishes. Have your kids been placing pots on top of bowls, on top of pans? Load your dishes as per the instruction manual to allow for maximum water flow, and give it another go.
If you dishwasher is still not washing your dishes properly, please read on. You might save on the cost of detergent, by following these DIY home maintenance tips.
Excessive detergent and water ‘hardness’.
Assuming you have good hot water pressure, and there’s nothing blocking the water lines to the dishwasher, excessive detergent is often the next cause of dishwasher malfunction. This is because water is different in different regions. You may have ‘hard’ water in your region, which can greatly reduce the effect of detergent. In turn, you may be using too much detergent, and causing the dishwasher not to work.
It’s a good idea to find a local water softener retailer. Most of them will provide you with a free water ‘hardness’ test. They will be able to tell you how many ‘grains of hardness’ your water has.
If you have 12 grains of hardness or less, and you’re filling the dishwasher soap cups completely full, you’re using too much! You should be using a lot less detergent with ‘softer’ water.
Generally speaking, the amount of detergent required for one dishwasher cycle greatly depends on the ‘hardness’ or ‘softness’ of your water. Here is a rough guide:
- Water with 0 to 3 grains of hardness requires 1 tablespoon of detergent.
- Water with 4 to 6 grains of hardness requires 2 tablespoons of detergent.
- Water with 7 to 10 grains of hardness requires 3 tablespoons of detergent.
- Water with 10 to 12 grains of hardness requires 4 tablespoons of detergent.
- With water beyond 12 grains of hardness, you’ll need to fill the soap cups completely.
Treating your dishwasher with a dose of TLC – CLR.
If you’re still having issues, I recommend treating the dishwasher with CLR. Simply run the dishwasher empty — no dishes or soap — for 2 to 3 minutes. Open the dishwasher door, and you should find water pooled int he bottom of the unit. Add one cup of CLR to the water. Allow the dishwasher to run through it’s full cycle, and then run it a second time to ensure all of the cleaning chemicals have been removed before washing dishes again.
Water softener systems.
Water softener systems can add real resale value to your home if you are living in a hard water area. You’ll really feel the difference when you are having a shower, and your clothes will come out that much brighter. Systems are available payment plans if you can’t afford the upfront cost. You’ll save on water and detergent because softer water allows detergent to work better, and therefore you’ll find you’re using less water too. Shop around, you’ll be surprised at how much system prices have come down in the last few years.
Always go with brand names that are well-established and replacement filters and parts can be bought anywhere online.
C4U Home Inspections are much more than home inspectors.
Actually, we specialise in home maintenance programs designed to increase the value of your home (normally 20% over 10 years beyond market increases ), reduce, if not completely mitigate expensive home repairs, and when the time comes, allow you to sell your home faster and easier.
Our entry level home maintenance program includes:
- A certified home maintenance inspection and renewal report.
- A tailored 12-month home maintenance schedule for you to follow.
- Your secure online certified C4U My Home Maintenance Login account for full reporting and maintenance over time — you can sell your login access separately to your home.
- Low cost $250 (the inspection itself is worth more).
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know how much a service will cost?
While it is difficult to set a fixed price for home inspections and fully implement home maintenance programs (where we do all the work), Lloyd is very good at providing a reliable quote online — if you can provide the information required. The more information you provide helps Lloyd with an instant and accurate quote C4U Inspections will stand by.
Generally speaking, C4U Inspections has a set minimum fee for each type of certified inspection — with additional conditions, such as the size of the building, the age of your home, and the amount of built-in appliances, for example.
Need more information and have questions? Contact C4U Inspections today
*Lloyd doesn’t break the rules for anyone and as a leading chief home inspector in BC, that means he follows industry requirements, government regulations and licensing codes of conduct to the letter.
Unbiased, ethical and professional home inspection and building consulation services.