October 1, 2016

How to replace a dishwasher heating element

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher heating element

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.

This guide can help you replace the heating element in Kenmore, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, JennAir, GE, Frigidaire and Electrolux dishwashers.

Quick links
Tools required
Nut driver set
Crescent wrench
Channel lock pliers
Rinse aid (to lubricate seals)
Towel
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Replacing a dishwasher heating element video.

How to replace a dishwasher heating element video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off electrical power and water supply to the dishwasher

    Unplug 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.

    Shut off the house circuit breaker.

  2. 02.

    Remove the bottom front access panel and toe panel

    Using 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.

    Remove the toe panel.

  3. 03.

    Pull out the dishwasher

    Position 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.

    Disconnect the water supply line from the inlet valve.

  4. 04.

    Remove the heating element

    Pull 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.

    Remove the dishwasher heating element nuts.

  5. 05.

    Install the new heating element

    Lubricate 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.

    Install the new dishwasher heating element.

  6. 06.

    Reinstall the dishwasher

    Tilt 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.

    Reconnect the water supply line to the inlet valve.

  7. 07.

    Restore electrical power and the water supply

    Reset the house circuit breaker or plug in the dishwasher to restore electrical power.

    Open the water supply valve.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster
Main causes: broken door spring, detergent dispenser failure, cabinet mounting brackets loose or broken
Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main causes: clogged kitchen sink drain, clogged drain hose, drain check valve damaged, drain pump failure, control system problem
Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main causes: glass or popcorn kernel stuck in the chopper blade, drain line vibrating against the cabinet, debris in wash pump or drain pump
Main causes: improper loading, low water temperature, improper detergent dosage, detergent dispenser failure, spray arm or pump problems

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