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Understanding the Cycles of a Dishwasher

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey takes host Kevin O’Connor inside a dishwasher to explain each cycle

Understanding dishwasher cycles

  1. A dishwasher begins the cycle by running a discharge pump to empty any remaining liquid in the machine.
  2. Next, hot water enters from the side and fills a reservoir at the bottom until it activates a float. In some cycles, an electrical element can heat the water to sanitize dishes.
  3. Once the reservoir is filled, a pump sprays water and soap all over the dishes.
  4. At the end of the cycle, the pump will discharge water out of the drain.
  5. The number of cycles is determined by user settings.