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How to Inspect a Dishwasher During a Home Inspection

How to inspect a dishwasher on a home inspection:

As you know, kitchen appliances are not typically required to be inspected as part of a home inspection. However, the average homebuyer is not going to buy a home without at least knowing if the appliances work or not. So, this is what we recommend for inspecting dishwashers:

Dishwashers take the longest to inspect since you aren’t finished until it has completed a full cycle (80-90 minutes for a newer unit). Start the dishwasher as soon as you enter the kitchen.

Open the door, check the counterbalance spring (door should not drop).

Check the general condition of the racks for ease of movement in an out as well as for corrosion. Verify the presence of the rinse agent cap, often missing and a pet-peeve of homebuyers if missing.

If there are dirty dishes present, put soap in and wash them, since you need to run a cycle! The seller is a potential future client and you want to earn some brownie points with them, especially if they are home during the home inspection. You already have to run a complete cycle and verify if the soap dispenser works. You want to run it for the shortest full cycle, not just a rinse only cycle. Be sure to set the heating element to run to verify that it works.

Upon completion, open the door and a plume of steam should come out. I usually do this with the buyer present so they see it worked. Look inside to see that the reservoir or pan is empty of water. A pan full of water usually indicates a bad pump. Look beneath the dishwasher to verify it didn’t leak all over the floor or under the cabinets. Don’t worry, as the home inspector, you don’t have to put the dishes away.


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