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Will a Dishwasher Work Without Hot Water? (Explained)

Dishwashers are considered an essential kitchen appliance. You get to clean your dirty dishes without much effort. Not only are dishwashers efficient, but they save time as well.

They often have a circular heating element so that hot water can be used to clean the dishes. But will a dishwasher work without hot water? Read ahead as we tell you whether hot water is required for your dishwasher to work.

Will a dishwasher work without hot water?

A dishwasher can work perfectly fine without hot water. While it is not mandatory, but not having hot water is not ideal. Hot water cleans better than cold water. It is more sanitary and will break down stuck food particles. Depending on the model, a lack of hot water might be a problem.

In general, dishwashers will work without hot water. However, it might be a problem depending on the type and model your dishwasher is. Old dishwashers need a direct hot water connection. They will pull hot water from your heater to fulfill its purpose.

While the newer models have an in-built electric heating element. The circular heating element is located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

It will take cold or normal water from your water system as input. Then the element will heat the water up to between 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit as per requirement.

The latest models of dishwashers are designed to do both. As such, even if you do not have hot water, your dishwasher will still work!

Do dishwashers use hot water?

All dishwashers use hot water to clean dirty dishes. Cold water is not ideal for cleaning for a number of reasons.

Hot water is essential to break down food particles stuck on the dishes. With cold water, there is always a risk of inefficient cleaning, with food particles stuck on the dishes.

Not only is hot water better for cleaning, it terminates germs and bacteria as well. Meaning it is more sanitary. Plus, hot water minimizes left behind water residue.

Even if the temperature is decreased, warm water is used. The hotter the water is, the better the dishwasher cleans. It is best to use water between the temperature of 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do dishwashers heat their own water?

Dishwashers do heat their own water using a heating compartment that heats up the water to 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit. They come with heating compartments along with a sensor that monitors the water temperature. When the water gets to the required heat, the heating process stops to start cleaning.

Is it OK to run a dishwasher with only cold water?

It is okay to run a dishwasher with only cold water. Depending on the model, whether the water is hot or cold will not matter at all.

Running a dishwasher when you only have cold water is possible if you have a latest model. These models have an in-built heating element in them. As such, the heating element can easily warm up the cold water.

A temperature around 120 degrees Fahrenheit is generally required. Water any colder than that will take a longer time to reach the required temperature of 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, keep in mind that running a dishwasher with only cold water will not give you the best results.

Will my dishwasher work if my hot water heater is broken?

Your dishwasher will work even if the hot water heater is broken. Most modern dishwashers are not affected by troubles in the hot water heater. They have in-built heating elements of their own.

The dishwashers will simply heat the cold water according to its settings. However, if your dishwasher does not have a heating element and only draws water from the heater, then there might be a problem.

Your dishwasher will work regardless. But the cleanliness will not be up to standard.

Does a dishwasher need to be connected to hot water or heat up its own water?

All dishwashers use hot water to clean dishes. Depending on the model, it is determined whether it needs to be connected to hot water or whether the washer heats up its own water.

Some dishwashers only work when they are connected to the hot water system. Others will work with hot or cold water as they have a heating element built-in.

Why is my dishwasher not heating the water?

There can be multiple reasons why a dishwasher might not be heating the water properly. Take look below to understand the issues along with their solutions.

Issues with the Heating Element:

All dishwashers have a heating component. The component helps to control water temperature and the drying process. Although being dependable, there might be problems in the heating element

There might be faulty wiring, or the heating element might wear out. Issues with the heating element might result in the water not heating up.

If your dishwasher is not heating water hot enough, chances are it is because of problems with the heating element.

Change the Heating Element:

Use a multimeter to check the resistance of the heating component. It should be around 15 and 30 ohms.

Anything above 30 ohms is an indicator of a defective heating element. Defective heating components should be changed or replaced.

Defective Thermostat:

A defective thermostat is a common reason why your dishwasher is not heating water. Thermostats are used to maintain water temperature throughout a wash cycle.

 When the thermostat is defective, it will not know whether the water is hot or cold. As such, the required temperature cannot be maintained either.

Replacing the Thermostat:

Similar to the heating element, the thermostat needs to be checked. Use a multimeter to determine its resistance. If it is above 30 ohms, then the thermostat needs to be placed.

Thermostats are easily found and are very cheap. However, they are located underneath the dishwasher. So, accessing it in order to replace the thermostat might be difficult.

Unclean Filters:

Dishwashers have filters to catch remaining food particles so that they do not dirty your clean dishes. When your filters are unclean it means that there is a lot of build-ups.

This might result in dirty water, a funky smell, and inefficient cleaning. Unclean filters are also the reason behind heating problems.

Internal Cleaning:

Handwash the unclean filters. Soak the filters in soapy water and rinse them under running water.

Use an old toothbrush or a sponge to get rid of stubborn food particles. Lastly, use a damp towel to wipe any remaining area clean.

Obstruction in Spray Arms:

Spray arms spread the water around the dishwasher. The distributed water is used to clean and then wash the dishes inside the appliance.

Food particles and other debris can clog the dishwasher spray arms. This will result in poor washing results. It might also lead to the dishwasher not heating the water hot enough.

Clean the upper and lower spray arm:

For the upper spray arm, detach it from the basket. First, wash the spray arm under running water. Use a toothpick or any pointed tools to remove stuck particles from the holes.

Reinstall the dishwasher spray arm. Repeat the same process for the lower spray arm.

Contact for dishwasher troubleshooting:

Brands Support & Service
Bosch DishwasherSupport Page
Whirlpool DishwasherSupport Page
Beko DishwasherSupport Page
AEG DishwasherSupport Page
Neff DishwasherSupport Page
Kenmore DishwasherSupport Page
KitchenAid DishwasherSupport Page

Does a portable dishwasher need hot water?

Portable dishwashers also need hot water to clean the dishes. The hot water needs to be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a minimum requirement regardless of the model.

The internal thermal will hold the water. Portable dishwashers have heating elements that will warm the water according to its requirements. Heating up cold water takes a lot of time. As such, it is needed that a minimum of 120 degrees water is always used.

Cold water will not be able to clean the dishes properly. They are not sanitary and will not get rid of germs and bacteria. Moreover, hash food particles stuck on the dishes are better removed using hot water.

How many gallons of hot water does a dishwasher use?

The amount of hot water used by a dishwasher depends on its model. On an average, a standard dishwasher will use 6 gallons of hot water per load.

Older models of dishwashers needed somewhere between 9 to 14 gallons of hot water on an average per cycle.

Newer models are more efficient in terms of water usage. Courtesy of advanced technology, a new standard dishwasher will need 3 gallons of hot water per cycle.

They are built to only use the required amount of water. As such, there is no water wastage, and the dishes are cleaned efficiently too!

Final thoughts

Dishwashers can work without hot water. However, hot water is recommended for better cleaning of dishes. Depending on the model of your dishwasher, you can either connect them to the water heater or let the appliance heat its own water. Make sure to have a sufficient hot water supply.