Water Damage from Dishwashers: Causes & Solutions

water damage from dishwasher

Are you one of the unfortunate homeowners dealing with dishwasher water damage? It’s a scene that has played out in countless movies, usually in a comedic fashion. Kid puts regular soap in dishwasher, dishwasher explodes with bubbles, and we all have a good laugh at their expense. But when you’re actually dealing with water leaks from your dishwasher, you need to know how quickly water damages can occur, why they happen, and what to do about them.

How long before dishwasher water damage occurs?

Dishwasher water damage can occur within just a couple of hours. You get home, turn on the dishwasher, walk away and watch TV for awhile, or run a few errands, only to come home and find a pool of water on the kitchen floor. The first reaction should be to soak up as much of the water as you can, because the longer it sits there, the more likely it will cause permanent damage.

Some flooring materials are more susceptible to dishwasher water damage than others, such as wood or bamboo. Wood will absorb water quickly, causing your flooring to warp and crack. Make sure to effectively dry out the area ASAP so you can avoid as much damage as possible.

Dishwasher water damage and what to expect

If you’ve never experienced dishwasher leaks or water damage before, you might not even know what you’re in for. Here’s what to expect when you’re dealing with water damage from dishwashers, including the common causes of leaks as well as what elements of your kitchen are most vulnerable after a leak.

What would cause a dishwasher to leak?

Common causes of dishwasher leaks include:

  • Worn gaskets
  • Dishwasher not level
  • Wrong dishwashing soap used
  • Broken door
  • Defective dishwasher tub

Your dishwasher leak can cause water damage in a variety of ways to a variety of different elements of your kitchen. The below are all susceptible to damage after a dishwasher leak:

  • Tile
  • Wood
  • Laminate
  • Electrical wiring
  • Drywall
  • Wallpaper
  • Paint

Is the damage covered by insurance?

The answer to this question depends on whether or not your insurer deems the cause of the dishwasher leak to be  from neglect or sudden malfunction. If the dishwasher is new, has shown no previous signs of wear and tear, and you report the leak and damage in a timely manner, your insurer could very well cover the damages caused by the leak.

If your dishwasher is old, shows signs of neglect, and has caused you problems in the past, your insurer will likely rule that the water damage is due to negligence on your part, in which case none of the dishwasher water damage will be covered.

Make sure to also read your dishwasher’s warranty and see whether or not a newer dishwasher is covered (and the resulting damages caused by the dishwasher leak)

How to repair water damage caused by dishwashers

The moment you notice your dishwasher is or has leaked, make sure to first turn off the dishwasher. Grab a towel or mop and soak up any visible water on your floor. This might mean pulling the unit out from under the counter so you can get any water that has pooled beneath the dishwasher itself. We also strongly recommend calling a local water damage repair company to ensure that you don’t have any moisture in your floor boards, which can quickly develop mold. 

Next, you need to identify the cause of the leak. Was the door slightly ajar? Does the latch not always work? Are the gaskets wearing out? Some problems you can fix yourself, but if you want to be extra confident in the repairs, call a specialist to come out and inspect and repair the unit.

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