Help! My Dishwasher’s Heated Dry Is Not Working Anymore

If you rely on your dishwasher’s heated dry cycle to get dishes completely dry after washing, it can be incredibly frustrating when that function suddenly stops working properly. Few things are more annoying than opening your dishwasher at the end of the cycle only to find the dishes still soaking wet. But don’t worry – with a few troubleshooting steps, you can likely get your dishwasher’s heated dry working again.

We’ll also provide tips for preventing issues with the heating element in the future. Soon you’ll be able to enjoy sparkling dry dishes once more after each wash cycle is complete.

Symptoms of a Faulty Heated Dry Cycle

How can you tell if your dishwasher’s drying capability is broken? Here are some of the most common signs that the heated dry function is not operating correctly:

  • Dishes are left damp, wet, or soggy after the full wash cycle finishes
  • Water droplets or moisture remain on the interior tub surfaces
  • Dishes feel cool or cold to the touch at the end of the dry cycle
  • The heated dry cycle seems to run significantly longer than normal but dishes are still wet

If your dishes are coming out of the wash without being fully dried, it likely means there is an issue with the heating element or another component involved in the drying process. Next we’ll look at how to diagnose the problem.

heated dry not working on dishwasher

Checking the Dishwasher Heating Element

The most common culprit for a malfunctioning heated dry cycle is a defective heating element. This crucial part is responsible for generating the hot air that gets blown throughout the tub to evaporate moisture off the dishes.

Locating the Heating Element

To test the heating element, you first need to access it. On most dishwashers, the heating element is located at the bottom of the wash tub underneath a removable cover panel. Always check your owner’s manual to find out exactly where the heating element is situated in your particular model.

Testing the Heating Element

Once you locate the heating element, unplug the dishwasher for safety before doing any testing. Then use a multimeter device to check for electrical continuity across the heating element. Set the multimeter to the ohms setting.

Touch the multimeter leads to the two terminal contacts on the heating element. If the heating element is in good working order, you should get a reading of between 10 to 60 ohms of resistance. However, if the multimeter shows a reading of infinite resistance or “OL”, that likely indicates the heating element is burnt out and defective.

Replacing a Defective Heating Element

If your tests confirm that the heating element is faulty, the next step is to replace it. Look up the specific heating element part number for your dishwasher make and model and order a new one online or from an appliance parts retailer. Replacement heating elements typically cost $40-$90.

To install the new heating element, first disconnect power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker or unplug it. Turn off the water supply lines as well. Then remove the access panel in the tub and disconnect the wiring from the bad heating element. Take out the mounting screws or brackets to fully remove the old heating element.

Install the new heating element in the same position and reconnect the wiring. Make sure the rubber gaskets are properly seated to prevent leaks. Replace the access panel and turn the water and power back on. It’s a good idea to test a wash cycle before putting the lower panels back on to ensure the new heating element is functioning correctly.

Other Possible Causes of Improper Drying

While a defective heating element is the most likely culprit, there are a few other things that could be preventing your dishwasher from properly drying dishes:

Faulty Moisture Sensor

Dishwashers have a moisture sensor that detects when dishes are completely dry and tells the machine when to end the heated dry portion of the cycle. If this sensor is malfunctioning, it could incorrectly assess the moisture levels and turn off early before dishes have dried.

Blocked or Clogged Ventilation

For hot air to effectively evaporate moisture out of the tub, it needs to be properly ventilated out of the dishwasher through ducts and vents along the bottom or side. If these openings become blocked with food, grease, or debris, it hinders airflow and drying.

Thermistor or Thermostat Issues

A thermistor monitors the air temperature and provides feedback, while a high limit thermostat shuts off power to the heating element if temperatures exceed a certain threshold. Defects in either of these components can impact the normal operation of the heating element.

Condenser Fan Not Working

Some dishwashers have a small condenser fan inside the tub that helps circulate the hot air during the drying cycle. If this fan fails, it reduces the airflow around the dishes and decreases drying performance.

If you’ve verified the heating element is working properly, inspecting and testing these other parts may reveal what’s causing the continued wet dishes in your dishwasher.

Getting Professional Repair Help

If you’ve worked through all the troubleshooting tips but your dishwasher still fails to dry the dishes adequately, it may be time to call in a professional repair technician. Repair pros have the advanced diagnostic tools and expertise to get to the bottom of the problem.

Technicians can check for error codes stored on the dishwasher control board that may point to the source of the failure. If you have a voltage meter, the repair person can also perform electrical tests for voltages and continuity throughout each component in the heated drying system.

The good news is that if your dishwasher is still within the manufacturer’s warranty period, heated dry issues may be covered under the warranty depending on the problem, so you can likely get it repaired for free. Contact the manufacturer to find out if your particular issue qualifies for warranty service.

Preventing Future Heated Dry Problems

To help avoid more drying problems in the future, here are some maintenance tips to keep your dishwasher’s heated dry system functioning optimally:

  • Clean the dishwasher regularly including filters, spray arms, and interior surfaces to prevent blockages.
  • Use rinse aid which can dramatically improve drying performance.
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher which restricts airflow and hampers drying.
  • Make sure dishwasher is properly leveled for adequate draining.
  • Run cleansing dishwasher cleaners monthly to remove grease and limescale.

Periodically inspecting the heating element and cleaning the condensation vent can also prevent many drying issues. With proper care and maintenance, your dishwasher’s heated dry can keep those dishes sparkling for years to come.

Having your dishwasher’s heated drying capability break can be endlessly frustrating but is usually repairable. In many cases, the problem comes down to a faulty heating element, which can be replaced yourself with some handy troubleshooting. If that doesn’t do the trick, a professional technician has the tools and know-how to get your heated dry working again.

We have tips for checking the heating element, inspecting other dry system components, and preventing future problems through maintenance. Get ready to once again unload a dishwasher full of completely dry, streak-free dishes!

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