Home Inspector – Dish Washer Tips

The good old dishwasher, the days of hand washing dishes have long passed. You fill it up with dirty dishes throw some soap in and let it do its thing. Little do people know a lot of their dishwashers are not connected correctly. Below I will list some commons problems I see every day and also some info on how to use your dishwasher properly.

Drain below trap

Yes, that is correct and I have seen this a few times. I had one home where the owner was present and he said we always wondered why the dishwasher always smelled bad. the problem with this is that you can let sewer gasses into your dishwasher and dishes and into your home. Sometimes this will go unnoticed because your dishwasher will have a check valve. The problem is when it is running you could be getting some cross-contamination into the dishwasher.

In this picture, you can see the arrow pointing to the area that you DO NOT want your dishwasher to drain to. The drain of the dishwasher is the hose on the right.

Dishwasher drain below trap

No high loop

This is the one I see the most. The discharge pipe from the dishwasher should have a high loop that goes all the way to the underside of the countertop. A lot of the time you see what looks like a loop but it simply is just not high enough.

The arrow is pointing to the loop in the dishwasher drain line. It is discharging above the trap of the sinks but the loop does not go high enough to the underside of the countertop.

High loop dishwasher

Here is a video from GE going over the explanation with a video. The main reason for this high loop is to prevent the backflow of contaminated water into the dishwasher. Some dishwasher actually requires an air gap. In the end, this simple step can prevent you from getting contaminated water from the drain into the dishwasher and on your dishes.

Don’t rinse your dishes

Most people rinse their dishes before they put them in the dishwasher. This is causing more harm than good. It is better to scrape your dishes off and then send them straight to the dishwasher. Here are three reasons why.

  1. Detergents are made to attack the food on your dishes and when they do not have the food to attack they will attack parts of your dishwasher. The detergent can eat the different gaskets and seals in the dishwasher.
  2. It wastes water when you pre-rinse your dishes. You are using gallons of water and then your dishwasher uses water. Dishwashers now use less than 5 gallons of water for a cycle and some use less than 2 gallons for a cycle.
  3. The dishwashers now have sensors that detect the number of food particles to determine how much water to use. If you have fewer particles and the same amount of soap, you get a short wash with soap and bits of food left on your dishes.

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