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What Do Your Dishwasher's Noises Really Mean?


You're used to the dishwasher making some noise. You load it up, set the cycle, and it whirs into motion. But sometimes the noises that this appliance makes aren't exactly normal.

Whether you hear a sudden thud, thumping, sputtering, or grinding, a noisy dishwasher is a sign that there's a problem. Even though you may feel stressed or anxious when a major appliance makes suspicious sounds, a loud or odd noise doesn't always indicate that your dishwasher is ready for a replacement.

Plenty of sounds aren't normal but also aren't signs of a major problem. The key here is to get a proper diagnosis and make sure that what seems like a strange sound isn't something serious. The first step is understanding that an array of issues can cause your dishwasher to make somewhat alarming noises. Take a look at some of the top culprits behind these sounds.

Food and Debris

Try as you might, you can't always get every loose food particle cleared off each plate, bowl, or fork. A stray chicken bone, a crouton, or any other hard, sharp, or large piece of food can cause noises as it rattles around the dishwasher. While small particles and those that easily dissolve won't cause problems, anything that stays solid runs the risk of making sounds during the wash cycle.

Sometimes food isn't the problem. Loose debris also includes non-food particles that may break free from your dishware during a heavy-duty wash. A cracked plate can chip, leaving behind ceramic or plastic pieces that bounce around the dishwasher. Likewise, decorative accents on your dishes or pots and pans can also fall off, causing nasty noises as they move around the appliance.

Keep in mind, loose debris in your dishwasher can damage the moving parts or clog the drain (depending on their size). Carefully inspect the dishwasher after the cycle ends. Remove the loose debris and look for any damage that it may have caused. If you see visible damage or your dishwasher isn't working up to its normal ability during the next wash, call a pro for a complete diagnosis and repair.

Fan Sounds

The fan in your dishwasher can make a completely normal humming or whirring noise. If the noise that you've gotten used to is suddenly much later or has a different quality to it, you may have a problem. Common issues that affect dishwasher fans typically include the wearing down or rusting of parts.

A worn or rusted fan can cause a grinding noise. This requires a professional diagnosis and an expert to come in and replace the parts. Continuing to use the washer will only add wear to parts that are already under strain.

Motor-Related Noises

Like the fan, parts in the dishwasher's motor can also rust and wear. A loud knocking or grinding noise may indicate a motor problem or an issue that's caused by a failing motor. Worn or rusted parts can result in an imbalance that allows the shaft to wobble. This imbalance makes loud or screeching noises that require a professional repair.

Dish Issues

Seemingly strange sounds don't always require a repair. While a cracked dish that lodges itself in the drain may result in a problem that necessitates a professional fix, other dish-related issues aren't as serious.

The way that you arrange or stack the dishes may interfere with the sprayer arm's normal motion. A rhythmic or regular knocking noise may indicate this problem. Try rearranging the dishware in your washer. If the noise stops, you know that you don't have a major problem. But if the sound persists, it's time to call in a pro.

Do you have a dishwasher noise that you can't diagnose? Maple Appliance Service can evaluate the sounds and make the necessary repairs. Contact us today.


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