Even though many different manufacturers produce dishwashers these days, most of them function in very similar ways. So, when a dishwasher isn’t spraying any water inside, it tends to be for the same few reasons, regardless if they’re from Whirlpool, Maytag, or any other brand on the market.
If your dishwasher is not spraying water, in many cases it could be a problem with the circulation pump, spray arms, chopper blades, or even the water inlet valve. Typically, a lack of water spray or water pressure means that these parts have either become clogged or failed entirely.
Keep on reading this article as we do a deep dive into these possible reasons why your dishwasher isn’t spraying any water and is therefore failing to wash your plates and glasses inside.
Circulation Pump Failure
What it is: Dishwashers rely on several pumps to function correctly. One of them is called a circulation pump.
As the name suggests, this pump is crucial to help in recirculating water inside the dishwasher, especially by pumping it through parts like the machine’s spray arm.
When it works correctly, the pump will help spray water at the correct pressure to thoroughly clean any items loaded into the dishwasher.
Why it fails: The circulation pump is prone to failure after being in use for a long time. When this happens, it sets off a sort of chain reaction.
Firstly, water won’t be able to circulate within the machine as it should. At the same time, any dishwashing soap used in it will also have a tough time dissolving, causing further blockages in parts like the spray arm.
The problem of a failing circulation pump is common in newer Whirlpool and Maytag models these days. Still, it’s a universal problem that happens with almost any dishwasher brand and model at some point.
How to fix: A failed circulation pump needs to be replaced. Doing this will require gaining access deep into the machine wherever the circulation pump is located.
Seeing as how the dishwasher’s layout might be different across brands, it’s crucial to refer to the user manual or technical sheet to locate and identify the pump.
Before you begin, you’ll want to disconnect the dishwasher’s power and water supplies.
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This can be quite a challenging repair to perform, so don’t be afraid to contact a qualified technician to do it for you.
Still, the process begins with removing the correct access panels and maybe some of the hoses to reach the circulation pump.
Once there, you’ll remove its electrical connectors and mounts before replacing it with a new circulation pump in the same way as the old one.
Circulation Pump Clogged
What it is: As mentioned earlier, the circulation pump is responsible for recirculating the water in the dishwasher.
It does so by pumping water throughout the machine, such as through the spray arm, to help clean the items loaded into the machine.
Why it fails: Sometimes, a circulation pump may still be in good working order, yet it’s clogged.
Typically, these pumps get clogged by bits of food and other small items that stay in the water as it recirculates throughout the machine.
Yes, some filters should remove those items from the water supply. However, dirty or damaged filters might fail to do their job, resulting in foreign items clogging the pump.
As a result, parts like the spray arm might not be able to spray water at a strong enough pressure to clean any dishes inside the appliance.
How to fix: Fixing this problem will require gaining access to the circulation pump.
That means removing any access panels, hoses, and electrical connectors so that the pump can be freed from its mounts and looked at much closer.
Once the circulation pump is removed from the machine, it’ll be much easier to clean out anything that’s blocking it.
Remove any dirt, debris, and especially any hard objects that might be stuck at the impeller.
Before putting the pump back in, be sure to rotate the impeller with your finger to ensure that it can indeed spin freely.
Spray Arms Clogged
What it is: Inside your dishwasher, you’ll find one or more spray arms. These are long plastic arms with holes in them that allow pressurised water to spray out and wash the plates in the appliance.
As that happens, the spray arms will spin to ensure that all contents of the dishwasher are sprayed evenly.
Why it fails: The holes in the dishwasher’s spray arms are pretty small. That means that smaller food bits, dirt, and debris can easily cause a clog in them.
That’s especially true if the appliance’s filters are dirty or damaged and unable to remove any larger debris from the water circulating throughout the appliance.
How to fix: Thankfully, fixing a clogged spray arm is pretty straightforward. Since the spray arms are located in the dishwashing area and not behind any access panels, you won’t have any problems reaching them.
You will, however, need to remove the bolt or screw that holds it in place.
Once you’re removed the clogged spray arms from the machine, you’ll need to flush it out with water to loosen up any items that might be causing a clog in it.
Then, you can use an old toothbrush to clear out each of the small holes on the spray arm as well.
Some people also prefer using other items available in their kitchens, such as toothpicks and bottle brushes as well.
It’s always best to use whatever can help you clean the deepest inside each spray arm and free up any clogs.
Lastly, you could also use some white vinegar to give the spray arm a thorough flushing as well.
Chopper Blade Clogged Or Partially Clogged
What it is: The components inside a dishwasher do more than just spray water and wash plates, drinking glasses, and more.
Inside many models, you’ll also find a chopper blade. That’s right! Your dishwasher probably has a chopper blade whose only task is to cut up any more significant food bits into smaller pieces.
When those food bits are cut into smaller pieces, they’re much easier to pump out of the machine once the washing cycle is completed.
Why it fails: It’s reasonable to expect the chopper blade to be sharp enough to cut through anything.
Unfortunately, these blades can also become jammed or partially clogged, especially if a hard foreign object gets in its way.
When that happens, the wash pump, too, will stop spinning. That will put a halt to the appliance’s entire washing function.
How to fix: This is quite a dangerous job to do, as it involves a sharp chopper blade.
So, with the power and water off, you’ll need to locate the chopper blade and gain access to it.
That might mean removing the nearest access panels, as well as any piping that might be in the way.
Once that’s done, you’ll be able to remove anything that’s clogged up the chopper blade.
Don’t forget to rotate the blade by hand when you’re done to ensure that it can indeed turn when you put everything back together again.
Water Inlet Valve Clogged Or Burnt Out
What it is: The water inlet valve controls the flow of water from your home water supply into the dishwasher.
The valve will open and shut as needed to ensure a sufficient water supply while also preventing any over-filling and flooding of your kitchen floor.
Why it fails: Your dishwasher won’t spray water if it doesn’t have any coming in through the water inlet valve.
That might happen if the water inlet valve becomes clogged from any debris or foreign matter that’s contaminating your home water supply.
Besides that, it’s also possible that the water inlet valve has become burnt out from overuse or perhaps even a short circuit.
When this happens, the valve will not be able to open and shut as it usually would, and no water will be able to flow into the dishwasher.
When either of these things happens, the dishwasher will still send power to the inlet valve, but there will be no water coming in.
It might sound like the appliance is running, but no water will spray simply because none has been able to flow into the appliance.
How to fix: To gain access to your water inlet valve, you’ll typically have to open the top access panel on your dishwasher.
The water inlet valve is the one that’s connected directly to your home’s water supply.
Once you’ve disconnected the power and water supply, you can remove the valve to inspect it up close.
If it’s clogged, you can remove any clogged and clean it out quickly. If you notice any burn marks or smells, then that’s an indicator that you’ll need to replace it entirely.
Replacing it is pretty straightforward: simply mount it in the place of the faulty one and replace the electrical connector to the valve.
Then, reconnect the water supply from outside the machine.