Most dishwashers will come with some LED lights to indicate different things, such as when the machine is running or when the salt or rinse aid has run out. However, a red light flashing is not a common occurrence and should raise some concern.
The dishwasher red light flashing could be an indication that the door hasn’t latched well. Sometimes, the door shuts just fine, but the light is still flashing. In this case, you may need to reprogram the machine. Also, you can check for a defective heating element, drain pump, or touchpad.
If you have never had your dishwasher auto light flashing, you may be confused about what action to take. This article will discuss what the red light means, why it could be flashing, and what you should do when that happens.
What Does the Red Light on a Dishwasher Mean?
Dishwashers will feature different LED lights, depending on the make and model of the machine. The most common ones are red and green, which indicate the start and end of a cycle, respectively.
LED lights on dishwashers could also indicate certain features such as salt use, rinse aid, and extra dry feature. Usually, whenever a light comes on, there’ll be an icon next to it, giving you a clue of why the light is on.
Some dishwasher models, such as the Bosch dishwashers, usually have a red light shining on the floor to indicate the washer is in use. The indicator light is an excellent addition to new dishwasher models that run silently, so you don’t have to open the door to check if it’s running. This red light is usually steady and will go out once the cycle is complete.
Why Is the Dishwasher Light Flashing?
If your dishwasher auto light is flashing, your immediate action should be to check the door. The most probable reason could be that the controls think that the door is open. You should ensure the door is latched and that none of the dishes is obstructing the door or preventing the racks from going all the way back.
If the door isn’t the problem, then a flashing auto light could be an error indicator. In this case, the dishwasher will indicate an error code or ‘E’ on the display, and you may also notice some beeping sounds from the machine. The machine’s manual will come in handy when you’re trying to pinpoint the issue.
So, what are some of the reasons why your auto light is flashing?
Burned-Out Heating Element
Whenever you load the dishwasher, the machine needs first to heat the water to start a cycle. The dishwasher’s heating element is responsible for this and usually heats the water to the operating temperature. Your dishwasher may start flashing lights if the water doesn’t get to operating temperature within a set time.
If this is the case, there are high chances that the heating element on your machine is burned out. You’ll need to use a multimeter to test it for continuity and confirm that the heating element is working fine.
Defective Drain Pump
Your dishwasher may also start flashing light if the drain pump is defective. The drain pump forces water through the drain hose using an impeller. As was the case with the heating element, you’ll need a multimeter to determine if the drain pump is defective.
If your drain pump is defective, you’ll need to replace it since it is not repairable.
A faulty touchpad and control panel could be another reason why your dishwasher is flashing lights. To check the touchpad’s condition, you must first check the display and ensure it is working. If it is, try pressing any of the touchpad buttons. If some of the buttons don’t work correctly, both the touchpad and the control panel could be faulty.
Some dishwashers allow you to replace the touchpad only. However, others may require you to replace both the touchpad and the control panel to fix the blinking lights issue.
How to Fix a Blinking Light on Your Dishwasher
A blinking or flashing light from your dishwasher may not necessarily be an indicator of a fault. So, if you try closing the door and the flashing persists, there are the actions you can take to help fix the situation:
Reset the Dishwasher
A basic reset should do the trick if the issue with your dishwasher isn’t significant. For many models, you’ll only need to reboot the machine. To do this, turn off the dishwasher and unplug it. You could also try flipping off the circuit breaker.
Give the machine around five minutes so that power can dissipate from the control boards. You can then restore the power and turn on the device for a new cycle.
Service the Machine
Most people don’t realize that the dishwasher, like any appliance, needs regular service and maintenance to continue working correctly. A flashing light on your dishwasher could also be an indication that you need to clean it.
The biggest culprit in such a case would be the dishwasher filter. If you have been using the machine for a while without cleaning, dirt from the dishes may have accumulated there and maybe even turned into mold. Check the filter and clean it thoroughly before replacing it and running another cycle. You can check the manual for help with locating it if you don’t know where the filter is.
Replace the Heating Element or Drain Pump
In the previous section, we’ve explained that a burned-out heating element or a defective drain pump could be the reason for the flashing lights. In both cases, a multimeter test for continuity will help you determine whether you need a replacement.
If either the heating element or drain pump doesn’t pass the check for continuity, you’ll have to replace the parts. Call in a maintenance specialist to help with the replacements. The last thing you need is to cause a bigger problem as you try fixing the dishwasher by yourself.
Check the Error Codes
Your dishwasher will come with a manual, and in it, you’ll find the explanation for different error codes. When the light on your dishwasher is flashing, the machine may display an error code as well. You can check the meaning of the displayed code on the manual to determine the issue.
Often, the manual will also contain steps that you should take to fix the error. Most manuals are straightforward, and the instructions are easy to follow. So, you shouldn’t run into too much trouble when doing so. However, if you are not sure about what steps to take, you are better off calling your dishwasher’s manufacturers, and perhaps have them send a repair guy.
For a quick summary of how to fix a blinking light on your dishwasher, check out this video:
Of course, your dishwasher acting up, right when you are about to load some dishes, can be stressful. It gets worse when you have no idea what the flashing and blinking lights mean. Luckily, the dishwasher red light flashing is a common occurrence, and it shouldn’t cause any panic.
First, ensure the door closes completely. If the door is fine, then try reprogramming the dishwasher and cleaning it out first. If the flashing persists, you can check the heating element and drain pump.
Either way, you shouldn’t be too quick to bring in the repairman whenever the lights on your dishwasher flash. A little probing here and there, accompanied by the machine’s manual, may just save you a couple of bucks.