How To Replace A Dishwasher Heating Element

Posted on: 10 May 2016


If your dishwasher isn't drying dishes, you need to replace the heating element. The heating element, which is installed on the bottom of the wash tub, heats the water during wash and rinse cycles. You should be able to replace the heating element on your own without a repair service, but if you do need help talk with a place like All Appliance Service Inc for more information. Here are some tips to replace the heating element in a dishwasher.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • two adhesive labels
  • container or plastic bag
  • marker
  • Philips screwdriver
  • flat-head screwdriver
  • crescent wrench
  • needle-nose pliers
  • dishwasher rinse aid
  • heating element

Shut off the power and water supply to the dishwasher. The water supply to dishwasher is commonly located below the sink in the cabinet. Turn the valve right to shut off the water. If you can't find the shut-off valve, cut off the main water supply to the house.

Unplug the power cord which is usually behind the wall, or shut off the main power supply to the house from the breaker box. The display light on the dishwasher should be off after the power has been disconnected.

Remove the Old Heating Element

You may need to lay the dishwasher on its back to access the wiring under the tub. Look for a circular tube under the wash tub below the bottom dish rack, which will be the heating element.

If it has a cover, remove the lower dish rack and the cover with the screwdriver. then set them aside. Store the screws in a container or plastic bag.

Disconnect the lower kickplate by removing the screws with the screwdriver, which are on the top or bottom of the panel. You should see two wires connected to a metal terminal. Mark and label them so you will know how to reconnect them to the new heating element.

Use the needle-nose pliers to loosen the plastic or metal wire connectors, and avoid pulling the wire. Remove the lock nuts on the terminals with the crescent wrench. Set the dishwasher upright, open the door, pull the element from the dishwasher, and discard it.

Install the New Heating Element

Apply a small amount of rinse aid to the seals on the leads of the new heating element. Lay the dishwasher on its back, insert the leads of the heating element through the holes in the tub, and reattach the lock nuts. Make certain the nuts are tight enough so they won't leak.

Reconnect the wires using the labels as guides for placement, and secure the connectors with the crescent wrench. Set the dryer upright, and reattach the rack and kickplate.

Restore water and power, then test the dishwasher. If it still doesn't work, or you don't trust your skill, take it to an appliance service for repair.