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How to Maintain Your Dishwasher | Ask This Old House

In this video, Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey breaks down all the connections on a dishwasher, how they work, and how to troubleshoot them when they aren’t draining or drying correctly.

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Your dishwasher is likely a heavily used appliance in your home—especially during the holidays or times of gathering. Are you doing everything you can to make sure it keeps running efficiently?

How to Prevent Damage to Your Dishwasher
If you use your dishwasher regularly, consider checking and replacing the following parts.

Dishwasher hose []
This piece operates similar to a washing machine hose, and it poses the same dangers of bursting and flooding the house if it isn’t inspected regularly. To check it, get low to the floor, remove the grill cover, and look underneath. If the hose looks worn, then it’s time to replace it.

Water hammer arrestor []
Not all dishwashers have these, but you should consider installing one. Appliances with a quick-closing valve, like a toilet or washing machine, can cause the water pressure to increase momentarily, which shakes the pipe and causes the alarming sound.

A water hammer arrestor acts like a shock absorber so that the pressure can be relieved once the valve closes. They are typically installed right at the hot water shutoff where the dishwasher hose is connected.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher
Believe it or not, you need to clean your dishwasher. There are two recommended ways to clean it.

Cleaning the filter
You should also scrape food from the plates and rinsing them before placing them in the dishwasher. If food is left on plates, then it will need somewhere to go when it’s in the dishwasher, and that somewhere is the filter.

Every so often, you should check the filter and wipe it clean of any food residue and scraps to allow the dishwasher to drain properly.

Cleaning the tub
Every once in a while, it’s good practice to clean the dishwasher tub. Once the food has been cleared from the filter and out of any crevices in the dishwasher, try spreading baking soda throughout the dishwasher. Please a measuring cup filled with vinegar on the top rack and run the dishwasher.

Where to find it?
All of the components of the dishwasher Richard called out, including the filters, the water supply, and the drain line, are all standard parts that can be found at any home center or appliance repair shop.

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About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Maintain Your Dishwasher | Ask This Old House

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