Why Is My Dishwasher Making Noise?

Why Is My Dishwasher Making Noise

One of the most coveted qualities of a new dishwasher is its quiet factor. So, when your dishwasher is making noise, it can be a real pain. Plus, many of the noises your dishwasher makes might cause you alarm since they sound somewhat troublesome.

Some dishwasher noises like occasional clicking, low humming, and even light grinding sounds can be expected. However, many other dishwasher sounds can signal a problem, like banging, rattling, and high-pitched noises. It could be a worn-out bearing pump, faulty motor, plumbing issues, or debris clogging up the works.

If your dishwasher is making unusual sounds, it’s best to pinpoint the sound’s origin and familiarize yourself with the possible causes. You might be able to remedy some problems yourself relatively quickly, while others will call for a pro. 

What Noise Is Your Dishwasher Making?

Your first step to solving your noisy dishwasher dilemma is to determine where the sound is coming from. It’s also essential to decipher what type of sounds your dishwasher makes since there are many possibilities.

1. Dishwasher Is Clicking

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Even the quietest of dishwashers will make some noises now and then, and clicking sounds are common. Listen closely, and you’ll likely hear these clicks emanating from the control panel. It could also be a tiny particle of food or debris bouncing around during the cycle.

But, if the clicking is more of a continuous sound, it could be something else. In some cases, if you had a recent repair, it could be that a part is not entirely secure. Check the recently repaired part and call the person who fixed it if that’s the case.

2. Rattling Coming From Dishwasher

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The best-case scenario for rattling is loose utensils or other items not seated properly in the racks. You’ll likely be able to tell if it’s simply plates knocking together or a rogue spoon bouncing around.

However, if the rattling is not continuous, it could be a water hammer issue. A water hammer is a quick blast of water through the pipes, typically from the dishwasher’s valve closing. This rapid blast causes pipes to knock into surrounding pipes or surfaces.

If it’s a water hammer, you can install a water hammer arrestor. This device helps absorb the shock when flowing water stops suddenly due to a closing dishwasher valve.

However, if the issue persists or you can’t get the water hammer arrestor to work, you need to call a plumber. It’s essential to address the problem and keep it from escalating.

You could also be dealing with a faulty motor if you hear a rattling noise. To test it, run an empty cycle; if the rattling continues, it’s likely the motor.

3. Dishwasher Making A Banging Noise

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Banging noises coming from your dishwasher are seldom a good sign. It’s an indicator that you have a pretty severe water hammer issue, causing pipes to bang into surrounding objects. If you heard a rattling noise that could have been a water hammer, if left unchecked, it can progress.

It’s imperative at this point to call in a plumber before the banging pipes damage each other or burst. If you put it off any longer, you can have an even bigger problem on your hands.

4. Dishwasher Making A Buzzing Noise

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Occasional buzzing noises from your dishwasher are probably not a cause for concern. Low buzzing could be the soft disposal, particularly if there’s a lot of food to grind up during the wash cycle. Or, it could be the dishwasher sending water down the drain.

5. Dishwasher Making A Thumping Sound

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You might think thumping sounds would be a significant issue, but it’s probably not as big a deal as you think. Sometimes, it’s just the drain line bumping the back wall as the dishwasher runs.

Other times, you could just need to adjust your dishwasher a bit if it’s knocking into the cabinets. This could especially be the case if you just had your dishwasher installed.

If it sounds more like a lone clunking sound around the midpoint of a cycle, it’s likely the detergent cup opening. Another possibility if the sound is more regular is that the spray arm is bumping into items.

You might just need to adjust larger items to ensure the spray arm isn’t hitting any obstacles. You should also investigate to see if anything dropped below the racks. An object could be thumping around the bottom of your dishwasher or caught on the spray arm.

6. Dishwasher Making A Grinding Noise

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If the grinding you hear is a low sound, it’s likely just the motor running and not an issue. But if it’s louder or starts suddenly, you need to make a quick inspection.

Stop the cycle and open the dishwasher, letting the steam clear. It’s possible an item got below the bottom rack and caught in the drain impeller at the bottom of the dishwasher. If you don’t see anything obvious, remove the impeller and check the plastic blades for stuck debris.

If there’s nothing there, another possibility is an insufficient watery supply. The water inlet valve can have a clog or blockage or be faulty. You can replace the water inlet valve, but if the grinding noise persists, then it’s time to call a plumber.

7. Popping Sound Coming From Dishwasher

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A single clunk or pop mid-cycle is likely the aforementioned detergent cup opening. But you might also hear it when the solenoid charges. This noise occurs when the dishwasher fills and drains.

If you hear more frequent popping or snapping sounds, there could be an issue with the door latches or hinges. If so, you’ll want a pro to check it out ASAP.

8. Dishwasher Is Making A High-Pitched Noise

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If you haven’t used your dishwasher in a while, or it’s the first couple of uses, you could hear a squealing. Your dishwasher is getting used to things, so to speak, and the squealing should subside within the first few uses.

But, what if the squealing occurs and your dishwasher is not new, or you’ve used it regularly? If this is the case, there could be problems with the pump, motor, or water inlet. In many cases, you’ll need to replace one of these items.

You can start troubleshooting through each issue yourself. But it’s wiser, in this case, to call a professional to help pinpoint the exact cause to avoid wasting time.

Tips For DIY Dishwasher Repairs

Many of the above noises were not actually a cause for major alarm. But, several mentioned replacing the motor, water inlet valve, or the pump. If you’re not a fan of DIY plumbing, definitely call a professional to do the job.

But, if you do plan to attempt the job yourself, here are a few tips to tackle your dishwasher repair.

  • Make a note of your dishwasher’s model and serial number. You need this information to ensure you get the right parts for your dishwasher.
  • Purchase your parts from a reputable dealer. Not only will you get high-quality products, but you can talk to a knowledgeable person about what you need. They can verify you have the correct parts and walk you through any potential items you’ll need to do the job.
  • It’s best to replace any necessary gaskets or hoses, etc., at the same time.
  • Research your replacement project ahead of time to make a list of required tools. Gather everything you need ahead of time, so you don’t have to stop midway through the job. Typical tools you need are screwdrivers, pliers, nut drivers, a flashlight, and towels.
  • Always unplug your dishwasher and shut off the circuit breaker before starting repairs. It’s also a good idea to shut off the dishwasher’s water supply.

Tips For Replacing Dishwasher Parts

After following the above tips, follow the instructions when you’re ready to replace the faulty part. Most replacement parts will come with detailed instructions on how to make the installation. It’s a good idea to read through these beforehand to get an idea of the big picture.

  • For replacing the motor, pump, or inlet valve, you need to pull the dishwasher out from the cabinets. Remove the screws from the brackets that attach the dishwasher to the cabinet. Before pulling the dishwasher out, check under the sink and remove the drain hose to give you more room.
  • Depending on where the pump and motor assembly is on your dishwasher, it might be easier to lay the appliance down.
  • Carefully pay attention to everything connected to the parts you want to replace. You will need to detach all wires, clamps, and hoses, noting where they go. It can be helpful to take a picture before starting to remove any pieces. 
  • Then, you can remove the old part and install the new one according to the specific part’s instructions for your dishwasher model.
  • When you test the dishwasher, run it first while it is empty and with no detergent. Make sure to check for leaks and noises. If there are none, then you can be confident you got the job done.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does professional dishwasher repair cost?

A dishwasher repair can cost anywhere from $150 to $350. If you just want a pro to assess the problem for you, it might only run about $50 to $100. You could go this route if you’re confident you can do the work yourself once you’re sure of the problem.

As with any appliance repair, ensure the cost of repair makes sense. If it’s 50% or higher than a new appliance’s cost, it’s better to replace the whole dishwasher.

What is the average cost of a new dishwasher?

You can find basic (typically noisy) dishwashers for as low as $250 to $300. But for top-of-the-line models, expect to pay $2,000 or more. Good quality dishwashers that are reasonably quiet and have several special features can average around $750 to $1,000.

Does the dishwasher’s warranty cover most repairs?

If your dishwasher needs a replacement part, check the warranty first. Although these warranties vary based on the manufacturer, many will cover major parts and defects. However, it all depends on if you’re still within the warranty period.

Also worth noting is if you attempt a DIY repair yourself first, you could potentially void the warranty. Many warranties specify all repairs must be done by a professional. Also, some even dictate what companies you can use for repairs and parts.