How to Test a Heating Element in Your Dishwasher

In our fast-paced lives, dishwashers have become indispensable appliances, saving us time and effort in the kitchen. One crucial component that ensures your dishes come out sparkling clean is the heating element. This small yet vital part of your dishwasher is responsible for heating the water to the right temperature for an effective wash cycle. However, like any other component, heating elements can wear out over time. If you’re experiencing issues with your dishwasher’s performance, it might be time to test the heating element. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of testing the heating element in your dishwasher to ensure it’s functioning correctly.

Understanding the Heating Element

Before we delve into testing, let’s get acquainted with the heating element’s role in your dishwasher. The heating element is typically located at the bottom of the dishwasher’s tub. It’s responsible for heating the water during the wash cycle to remove grease and stains effectively. The heat also assists in drying your dishes during the drying cycle. If the heating element isn’t working correctly, your dishes may come out dirty, and they won’t dry properly, leaving you with a disappointing dishwasher experience.

Safety First

Before we proceed with testing the heating element, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Make sure to disconnect the dishwasher from the power source and turn off the water supply. Safety goggles and gloves are also recommended to protect yourself during the process.

Gathering Your Tools

To test the heating element, you’ll need a few basic tools:

Tools Required:

  1. Multimeter
  2. Screwdriver
  3. Electrical tape

Step-by-Step Guide to Testing the Heating Element

Now, let’s walk through the steps to test your dishwasher’s heating element:

Step 1: Accessing the Heating Element

  1. Open the dishwasher door and pull out the bottom rack to access the heating element.
  2. Identify the heating element; it resembles a coiled wire or a long, thick metal bar.

Step 2: Disconnecting the Heating Element

  1. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws securing the heating element in place.
  2. Carefully disconnect the wires attached to the heating element. Make sure to take a picture or note the wire connections for reassembly.

Step 3: Testing for Continuity

  1. Set your multimeter to the continuity or resistance setting.
  2. Touch one probe to each of the heating element’s terminals. If you hear a beep or see a low resistance reading on the multimeter, it indicates that the heating element has continuity and is functioning correctly.

Step 4: Inspecting for Visual Damage

  1. Visually inspect the heating element for any visible signs of damage, such as burn marks, breaks, or corrosion. If you notice any damage, it’s a clear indication that the heating element needs replacement.

Step 5: Reassembly

  1. If the heating element passes the continuity test and shows no visible damage, reconnect it to the dishwasher following the same wire connections.
  2. Secure the heating element back in place using the screws you removed earlier.


Testing the heating element in your dishwasher is a straightforward process that can save you from costly repairs or replacements. By following the steps mentioned above, you can determine whether your heating element is functioning correctly or if it’s time for a replacement. Remember always to prioritize safety when working with electrical components.

Now that you’ve learned how to test your dishwasher’s heating element, you can ensure your dishwasher continues to provide you with spotlessly clean and dry dishes for years to come.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How often should I test my dishwasher’s heating element?

It’s a good practice to test your heating element if you notice any decline in your dishwasher’s performance or if it’s not drying dishes effectively.

Can I replace the heating element myself if it’s faulty?

Yes, you can replace the heating element yourself, but it’s crucial to follow safety precautions and have some DIY experience. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional.

What’s the average lifespan of a dishwasher’s heating element?

On average, a heating element can last between 8 to 12 years, depending on usage and maintenance.

Are there any signs that indicate a faulty heating element besides poor washing and drying performance?

Yes, a faulty heating element may also cause unusual noises during the wash cycle or a burning smell.

Is it safe to use my dishwasher if the heating element is malfunctioning?

While it’s technically safe to use, it’s not recommended, as the dishwasher won’t clean or dry your dishes effectively. It’s best to address the issue promptly.

Remember, a well-maintained heating element ensures your dishwasher’s optimal performance, saving you time and energy in the long run.