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Why is My Dishwasher Not Getting Hot?

Dishwashers need heat to function. You've probably noticed when you first open the door after running a cycle that a pretty sizeable amount of heat and steam escape. This isn't an accident. An ideal temperature of around 120 degrees is needed to properly break down any residue left on your dishes. So, if you've noticed your dishwasher is not heating or the water is perhaps not getting hot, you're going to find your dishes aren't getting cleaned properly. It's also a sign that something is wrong with the appliance.

There are some easy ways to try and tackle this. You may simply need to manually set the water temperature in your dishwasher, depending on the make and model. But barring that simple fix, something more involved and mechanical may be going on with your appliance.

Damaged dishwasher heating elements

Every dishwasher utilizes heating elements to raise the temperature of the air inside the dishwasher along with the water temperature. Most of these heating elements will get the temperature inside somewhere around 110 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. But when these parts are damaged or fail for some reason, you won't have very clean dishes. In order to check this, you'll need to cut the water off to be safe and look to the base of the dishwasher tub where the heating element sits. It may look corroded or physically damaged in which case you'll need to replace it. If it's not clearly damaged but still not working, you'll want to consult a professional to handle checking the electricity on the element.

Faulty thermostat

If there is nothing physically wrong with the heating element, then the problem may with the thermostat that regulates what temperature it gets up to. It's possible your thermostat inside the dishwasher is reading a higher temperature than it actually is, signaling the heating element to turn off despite being far cooler than necessary. After all, the dishwasher only knows what the thermostat tells it. Like a heating element, the electric flow to and function of the thermostat should be assessed by a professional.

Water line problems

It's possible the dishwasher is doing exactly what it's supposed to do and the problem isn't with the dishwasher itself but with the water running to it. Have you noticed hot water troubles in other parts of your home? It's entirely possible your dishwasher is just one symptom of a larger problem with the hot water in your home. If this is the case, you'll need to call someone specifically for issues regarding your pilot light and hot water. But one way to ensure this is a dishwasher-specific problem is to test the hot water in your sink which is connected to the same line as the dishwasher. If they both are having problems with hot water, then the problem is in the water line, not the dishwasher's ability to heat the water.

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