Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Spraying Water – What To Do?

A Whirlpool dishwasher is one of the best dishwashers that you can purchase today. Not only do they have excellent warranties, but the quality and durability of these dishwashers have made them a mainstay in the home cleaning industry. However, this doesn't mean that they are impervious to malfunctions. One common malfunction is when they no longer spray water to clean the dishes. For this post, we've researched common reasons why this may occur and the best steps to take to remedy the issue.

Here are some reasons why your Whirlpool dishwasher may not be spraying water:

  • Water Inlet Valve Issues
  • Spray Arm Issues
  • Water Supply Valve Issues
  • Overloaded Dishwasher
  • Circulation Pump Issues
  • Wash Impeller Issues
  • Faulty Water Pump Belt

Like many other dishwasher brands, Whirlpool dishwashers contain several parts that work together to keep them functioning properly. When one of the components fails, it can throw the entire unit out of whack, resulting in an issue such as the lack of water from the spray arms. Continue reading to learn about how to troubleshoot each of these potential issues.

Worker repairing dishwasher in beautiful kitchen, Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Spraying Water - What To Do?

Reasons Why Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Is Not Spraying Water

Repairman fixing dishwasher

Water Inlet Valve Issues

One of the biggest reasons why your Whirlpool dishwasher may not be spraying water is a faulty or clogged inlet valve. The inlet valve allows water inside the dishwasher to be distributed to the spray arms. The inlet valve is connected by a water hose and can become clogged with food particles and debris. As a result, the valve can block water from entering the dishwasher.

Over time, continued blockages can cause it to malfunction. If the inlet valve is clogged, the best thing to do is replace it, as attempting to clean it can make it more susceptible to failure. A new inlet valve for a Whirlpool dishwasher can range from $20 to $60.

Spray Arm Issues

Dishwasher interior shows filter and spray arm

The spray arms of the dishwasher are responsible for distributing water to the dishes to clean them. They do this by forcing the water out of small holes located on both sides of each arm. Over time, the holes of the spray arms can become blocked from dirt and grime. The main culprits are food particles, grease, detergent, and mineral buildup from hard water.

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To determine if this is the issue with your Whirlpool dishwasher, remove the dishwasher's racks to inspect the spray arms. Also, spin the spray arms with your finger to make sure that they are functioning properly. The spray arm should continue spinning and not be restricted in its movement.

Next, remove the spray arm to get a closer look at the holes to determine if they are blocked. If they are, you can use a fork or a toothpick to dislodge the debris or soak them in soapy water (mild dish soap will work best) for about 10 to 15 minutes. Spray arms for Whirlpool dishwashers can range anywhere from $30 to $60.

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Water Supply Valve Issues

Turning on water supply valve

If your water valve is not set to the appropriate pressure, the dishwasher will not receive enough water to operate. In addition to checking the inlet valve, you will also want to check your water supply valve to ensure that water is being distributed from the waterline. You can find this valve on the bottom left of the dishwasher, depending on the Whirlpool model. It may also be located under your kitchen sink. Once you locate the valve, make sure that it is open and that it is not leaking. If there is a leak, you may need to call a plumber.

Overloaded Dishwasher

Open dishwasher with clean dishes in the white kitchen

An overloaded dishwasher can cause issues with the sprayer arms as well as other components. Not only can dishes physically block spray arms from spinning, but they can clog up the spray arms' hose if they are not cleaned properly. If your dishwasher has suddenly stopped spraying water, look at how many dishes are on both racks and remove a few if needed, and try to start it again.

Circulation Pump Issues

Old and new dishwasher pumps on disassembled dishwasher

The circulation pump of your dishwasher is one of its most crucial components. This pump is responsible for moving water from the inlet valve to the spray arms to clean the dishes. If the pump becomes defective due to clogs or everyday wear and tear, the motor will not continue to pump the water out.

With most Whirlpool dishwashers, you can hear the pump's motor working as the dishwasher fills up with water and again during the rinse cycle. This may be harder to hear on quiet models, but you should still hear something. If you turn on the dishwasher and you don't hear the motor running at all, it could be burned out or simply not receiving any power.

To see if this is the issue, open up the bottom of your dishwasher and inspect the pump's housing to see if it is clogged with debris. If it is, remove the debris and toss it in the bin. Next, remove the spray pump from its position and use a multimeter to test its continuity.

Wash Impeller Issues

Impeller of a dishwasher

The wash impeller is responsible for forcing water into the spray arms on both the top and the bottom of the dishwasher. Sometimes the wash impeller may become damaged or lose a few fins from everyday use. In this case, it will not generate the pressure needed to push water into the spray arms. The wash impeller is usually a component of the pump and motor assembly on most Whirlpool dishwashers. However, if it is not, you can still purchase this part separately if damaged or malfunctioning.

Faulty Water Pump Belt

Another component that may be preventing your Whirlpool from spraying water is the water pump belt. If your dishwasher is on the older side, it could simply be that the water pump belt has worn out from use. All Whirlpool models do not have a water pump belt, so you may want to check your owner's manual to see if yours does. If it does, you should be able to access it by removing the dishwasher's bottom panel. The belt is usually located beneath the motor. These rubber belts are fairly inexpensive and typically cost anywhere from $8 to $15 each.

How Do You Know If Your Dishwasher Pump Is Broken?

How do you know if your dishwasher pump is broken

A failed dishwasher pump can prevent the dishwasher from loading and draining water properly. As a result, it can also prevent the dishwasher spray arms from operating due to insufficient water levels. If you suspect that your dishwasher's pump is faulty, here is how you can test it.

Hit the "Cancel" button on your dishwasher's control panel. Doing so will cause the drain pump to drain any water currently located at the bottom of the tub or in the drain pump hoses.

Next, listen to determine if the motor of the pump is actually running. You should be able to hear this as soon as you press the "Cancel" button. If the pump is running, but the water is not draining, it may need to be replaced.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Dishwasher Pump?

The cost to replace your dishwasher's water pump varies, depending on the brand and the model. The pump itself can range anywhere from $30 to over $200. And the cost to replace the pump will largely depend on your location and the current rates for appliance technicians in the area. The rates are between $200 and $500. If you suspect that your dishwasher pump is faulty, it's best to stop using the dishwasher completely until you have effectively diagnosed the issue and ruled out the pump.

How Do You Test A Circulation Pump On A Dishwasher?

To replace the circulation pump, you will first need to locate the motor on your dishwasher. Though this will vary by brand and model, motors are usually found beneath the kick plate at the bottom of the dishwasher. To access the panel, you will need a screwdriver or a drill, as they're typically a couple of screws on top of it. Once you've accessed the pump, disconnect the lead wires from their harness.

Next, grab your multimeter and place the probes on each of the pump's terminals. If the motor shows a zero reading (or near it), then it is good to go. If not, the chances are that it's faulty.

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What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of A Dishwasher?

Male technician checking dishwasher with digital multimeter in kitchen

Most dishwashers will have a lifespan of anywhere from five to ten years. They will also typically come with a warranty that covers replacement parts for up to two years.

Wrapping Things Up

Hopefully, you have learned more about the reasons that may cause a Whirlpool dishwasher to stop spraying water. If you have checked all of the above components but still can't seem to resolve the issue, it may be best to reach out to an appliance repair technician.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

Are Casserole Dishes Dishwasher Safe? [Here’s Which Ones Are]

How To Remove Food Smells And Stains From Plastic Containers?


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