How to Fix Your Dishwasher When it Won’t Power Up

By Lyle Weischwill | Oct. 25, 2023 4:31 am PST

When your dishwasher won’t power up, the problem could be as simple as checking the power source – sometimes even as simple as flicking on that light switch next to one you use for the garbage disposal. Yes, that one that you always wondered what it was for. In most homes, that switch controls power to the dishwasher.

Flip that switch on if you see that it’s turned off and your dishwasher should power up. This is the #1 cure for a dead dishwasher.

If that switch wasn’t causing the power problem with your dishwasher, then a tripped house circuit breaker, wiring failure or control problem could be preventing your dishwasher from powering up.

Reset the House Circuit Breaker for the Dishwasher

A tripped circuit breaker is a frequent cause of a dishwasher not powering up. Because you often can’t tell whether the breaker has tripped, reset the breaker for the dishwasher by shutting it off and turning it back on. Check the dishwasher now to see if it powers up.

Check the Power Cord

Some dishwashers have a power cord that plugs into an electrical outlet under the sink, while other dishwasher power cords are wired directly from the wall to the wires in the dishwasher’s junction box. If your dishwasher power cord plugs into an electrical outlet, make sure the power cord is plugged in. If the power cord is plugged in, it’s possible the electrical outlet doesn’t work. Check the electrical outlet for power by plugging in a small lamp. If it doesn’t light up, have an electrician repair the bad outlet.

If the dishwasher power cord doesn’t plug into an electrical outlet, then it’s hardwired into the junction box. If you’re confident that you can safely access the junction box wiring yourself, follow the steps below to check the wiring connections.

Note: If you’re not completely confident in your ability to shut off power to the dishwasher and safely complete this procedure, have a Sears Technician diagnose and repair your dishwasher.

  1. Shut off the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher to disconnect electrical power—you don’t want electricity flowing to the junction box as you check the wiring connections.
  2. Remove the bottom front access panel and toe panel. The installation guide for your dishwasher shows how to remove these panels. Refer to that document for help if you need it.
  3. Remove the screw from the junction box cover and pull off the cover.
  4. Check the black wire connection and the white wire connection. Reconnect any loose or disconnected wires.
  5. Reinstall the junction box cover and then reinstall the bottom front access panel and toe panel.

Restore electrical power to the dishwasher and see if it works.

Schedule Dishwasher Repair Service

If the dishwasher still won’t power up after checking the power cord, you’ll likely need to have a service technician diagnose and repair the dishwasher. The tech may find a failed electronic control board, defective control panel, blown internal fuse or a broken wiring connection could be preventing the dishwasher from powering up.

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Get Help Replacing Your Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is over 10 years old, it may be time to upgrade it to a new model. Replacing your dishwasher is sometimes more economical that repairing it.

We have appliance replacement resources consolidated together on our Upgrade page.

We provide special help, financing offers and savings all in one location on our Upgrade page to make it easy for you to replace your dishwasher now. No hassles and no waiting. Get your new dishwasher today.

No matter what you need, Sears Home Services provides the help you need to make managing your home easier.

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