How To Replace A Dishwasher Float Switch

Posted on: 8 March 2016

If you notice pools of water near the bottom of the dishwasher, slow drainage, or dishes not getting clean, replace the float switch. The float switch is part of the float assembly that sits on the bottom of the dishwasher tub. When water in the dishwasher reaches a certain level, it raises the float, which activates the switch to stop the water. Here are some tips to replace the float switch.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • voltage meter
  • screwdriver
  • household cleaner
  • scouring pad
  • needle-nose pliers
  • new float switch.

Turn off the water supply to dishwasher, commonly located under the sink, or detach the hoses. Unplug the power cord to the dishwasher, which is usually located below the sink. For extra safety, shut off the breaker that controls the power to the room at the breaker box.

Try to activate the digital display on the dishwasher to verify power has been disconnected. Run a voltage meter of the breaker box and dishwasher to ensure no current remains.

Remove the Old Float Switch

Loosen the screws on the toe kick panel with the screwdriver to access the float switch, and pull the panel toward you to remove it. Pull the lower dish rack from the tub, and lay it in a safe place. Test the electrical connection box with the voltage meter.

Grasp the float assembly sides, and lift it up until it pops from the housing. Shut the dishwasher door, and loosen the retaining screw of the switch housing by hand, then push the housing down. If the float assembly is hard to remove, use a household cleaner and scouring pad scrub to clean the stem.

The float switch is commonly connected to the float assembly by two wires. Label the connections or take a picture. Depress the locking tab on the left. Unscrew the wire nuts by hand or with needle-nose pliers being careful not to pull them, then depress the locking tab on the right to remove the switch. 

Install the New Float Switch

Use the old float switch as a guide to buy a replacement. Align the new switch with the components in the housing, and press the right side of the switch in place, which should make the locking tab snap shut.

Reconnect the wires to the new switch referring to your labels or photo. Push the left locking tab until it snaps in place. Reinstall the switch housing, float assembly, bottom dish rack, and toe kick plate.

Restore electricity and water, and test the dishwasher. If replacing the float switch doesn't help, contact an appliance repair service, like J & M Appliance