why won't my dishwasher start

A dishwasher has become such a convenience that when it doesn’t start on command you need a fast fix. Why won’t my dishwasher start? If the door isn’t fully shut and latched, it won’t begin a wash cycle. Determine the most likely reasons your dishwasher won’t start with these common causes.

Help…My Dishwasher Won’t Start!

Fortunately, a dishwasher that won’t start is rarely a deal breaker, requiring just a simple adjustment to solve the problem. Use these dishwasher troubleshooting tips to get to the bottom of this common issue 

1. Dishwasher Isn’t Getting Power

Power problems are often responsible for a dishwasher not starting. Without adequate electricity, the dishwasher can’t start or perform any subsequent functions.

Here’s how to assess for power issues:

  • Examine the power cord: Make sure the cord is damage-free and properly plugged into a functioning outlet. Avoid using extension cords, which can cause surges that interrupt power.
  • Check the power switch: Most dishwashers are connected to a kitchen switch that must be on for it to receive power. Make sure the switch is in the on position, checking under the kitchen sink, if necessary.
  • Look for tripped breakers: Check your home circuit breaker box and reset any tripped breakers.

After power to the dishwasher is restored, it may need to be reset to start a wash cycle. Wondering how to reset a dishwasher? Most can be reset by pressing and holding the power/start button for 3 seconds.

2. Dishwasher Door Isn’t Latched

As a safety feature, a dishwasher won’t start unless the door is completely closed and the latch is engaged. Always close the door with a firm push to ensure that the latch engages. If the door is properly closed and the dishwasher still doesn’t start, the latch may be broken, requiring professional replacement.

3. Incorrect Dishwasher Settings

Before starting your dishwasher, check the control panel to make sure the right settings are selected and there are no problems or errors. 

The following settings and issues can prevent the dishwasher from starting:

  • Setting wasn’t selected: The dishwasher won’t start unless a wash cycle is selected. Always select a setting before pressing the start button.
  • Wrong setting selection: Certain settings will prevent a dishwasher from starting immediately.The Delayed Start feature delays the start of a wash cycle, while Control Lock or Sleep Mode prevents it from starting at all. Make sure you select the best dishwasher settings for your particular load. If you notice that your dishwasher isn’t drying dishes sufficiently, make sure a heated or extra dry setting is selected.
  • Error codes: Error codes alert you to malfunctions that may prevent an immediate start. If the control panel displays an error code, refer to your user manual to determine its meaning and how to resolve the issue.
  • Control panel damage: If the control panel is wet or damaged, it won’t relay commands, preventing the dishwasher from starting. If one or more control panel buttons isn’t functioning, it should be professionally replaced.
dishwasher won't start

4. Dishwasher Water Supply Problem

If your dishwasher has power but won’t start, a water supply issue may be to blame. Without adequate water from your home supply, a wash cycle won’t begin. 

These issues can prevent water from supplying the dishwasher:

  • Water valve is off: Check the valve to your home water connection, making sure it’s in the on position.
  • Inspect the water inlet hose: Make sure the hose is properly positioned and free of kinks that can block water flow.
  • Faulty water inlet valve: This valve controls the supply of water to the dishwasher. If it doesn’t open fully or is stuck closed, water won’t enter the dishwasher tub. A faulty water inlet valve should be professionally replaced.

5. Defective Dishwasher Parts

If your dishwasher won’t start after trying the above steps, a defective part could be responsible. A faulty door switch won’t signal that the door is closed, while a blown thermal fuse halts all dishwasher functions. Lastly, in rare cases, a defective control board won’t process any control panel commands or send voltage to the right function. A professional dishwasher repair service should replace these components when they fail.

Just-In Time Appliance can help when your dishwasher won’t start. Call us for all your kitchen appliance concerns!

Picture of Justin Duby

Justin Duby

Justin Duby, a Grants Pass native, opened Just-in Time Appliance Repair in 2014 after working with his grandparents in the appliance repair business for almost 10 years. Justin attends various training programs throughout the year to keep his skills sharp.

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