My F-I-L has a Kenmore DW which he rarely uses. He purchased it around
a year ago when he remodeled his kitchen. Recently,on one of the rare
occassions he decided to turn it on, there was a problem. Apparently,
the dedicated 15A circuit is pulling voltage lower than 120 VAC.
Obviously, the DW doesn't work. Before I go pulling the DW out so I
can trace out the voltage drop, any suggestions as to what might cause
a problem like that?
I haven't been over his house to check it out. I just got the news
over the phone Sunday night. My B-I-L looked at it but has no clue
and I don't know how the voltage drop was determined. Then my B-I-L is
no handyman. Actually, I'm genuinely surprised he didn't burn the
house down checking it out. This is a guy who needed to be told that
you can't solder a pipe with water in it! No, I'm not making this up.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
First thing I would do is check the line voltage at the DW junction box
(where the house wiring connects to the dishwasher wiring). Use a good
multi-meter and, preferably, find someone who can properly connect and read
it -- not a complicated task; but there's electricity involved. Be safe.
As the voltage is being measured, start the DW. That will tell you what the
line voltage is doing. If it does drop significantly, look for a faulty
connection, bad switch or a load, perhaps the motor, that's drawing way too
much power. The latter is less likely since the fuse or circuit breaker
should limit the power draw. While you're at it, you might check the
voltage at the motor too. There should be a wiring diagram pasted someplace
inside the mechanical compartment or maybe there's an envelope in there
somewhere with service information which can help.
I suspect the use of the term "voltage drop" just shows he doesn't
understand. A drop will not necessarily make it quit working.
Perhaps his is simply saying that the power is not getting to the
You are going to have to get to the input wires and measure the voltage
there. Perhaps they are available at the bottom front of the machine.
Agreed ... it would be an unusual drop to keep it from working. However,
there is a heater in DWs. Sometimes, all one has to do is run the hot water
in the adjacent sink until it flows hot, before turning on the DW. But
that's in the case where the performance is sub-par but almost acceptable.
Measuring the voltage under load requires some fiddling around and some
I'm wondering if during the remodel a separate circuit was actually run
for the new dishwasher despite the indication -- would certainly be
worth checking out, and if not, if something else is on it might cause
I've not done one for so long I don't recall, but I'd have thought a
dishwasher would/could expect 20A service??? Might check nameplate
rating for what it's really supposed to draw. Maybe I'm being overly
conservative here, like I say, it's been 20+ years since I last had to
run a circuit for one or bought a new one and I don't recall...
Yep, that's certainly a good starting point...as someone else noted,
would be good to have set of clip leads so can observe as try to start
if it tests ok off.
Of course, another possibility would be loss of a neutral return or one
or more loose connections at the junction box...
Agree, but from what he posted it sounds like the owner doesn't
understand what he is talking about. Probably just not getting power or
the washer has failed. Not having been used much it is quite probable
that a bearing is froze from rust.
In addition to the other suggestions, check whether the motor and/or the
mechanism might simply be stuck from sitting idle for so long. That is
fairly common and the motor will draw excessive current if it is true. This
will result in excessive voltage drop to the dishwasher and possibly dimming
of the lights, etc..
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