troubleshooting a stinky dishwasher

Troubleshooting a Stinky Dishwasher

By | local plumber | No Comments

troubleshooting a stinky dishwasherNobody really enjoys washing dishes, but we all appreciate them when they’re clean. That’s why we have dishwashers. But what happens when your dishwasher starts to smell and you’re at that point where you don’t want to open it to put the dirty dishes inside? And what can you do if, after a wash cycle is finished, the smell remains?

Here are some ways to troubleshoot a stinky dishwasher:

Arm yourself with a bit of liquid dish soap and a wet rag, a few sturdy toothpicks, the dishwasher’s owners’ manual and:

  • Check the bottom of the tub, under the lowest rack, where food and other debris may accumulate. Remove any visible particles and wipe the area around the spray arm.
  • Remove the dishwasher filter and empty any accumulated food debris. You may want to rinse the filter before re-installing it, or dip it into mild soapy water and then rinse well with clean water before you put it back, depending on what your owner’s manual suggests.
  • Wipe down the door’s seals and scrub discolored areas with an old toothbrush. If there’s mold, wipe the spots with a soft cloth soaked in a very light bleach solution…but use caution with bleach. Bleach can corrode the insides of stainless steel dishwashers and break down metal and plastic parts. If you plan on bleaching anything, use plenty of water with it and RINSE WELL.
  • So where do the toothpicks come in? To clean out the holes on the spray arm. Clean the holes first using toothpicks to remove lime scale and other build-up; then using the damp cloth, wipe the spray arm. If you have two (one upper and one lower), make sure to clean both.
  • Run the dishwasher on its hottest cycle while it’s empty. Some folks add a commercially available dishwasher cleaner, but basic household ingredients will do the trick, too: an unsweetened lemonade mix packet or baking soda sprinkled around the inside; or a cup of vinegar on the top rack in a dishwasher-safe cup can help deodorize and bring your dishwasher back to a more neutral scent.

So what happens when you’ve done all of that and the smell is still there?

  • Check the water supply and discharge hoses. Your manual will show you where yours are located. Over time, both of these hoses can develop low spots or even kinks, trapping water and food debris in the lines. Rinse them out, wipe them down and then re-route to help keep water moving and draining properly.
  • Make sure the discharge hose is installed properly. It needs to be able to drain freely.
    • If you notice that you have a puddle in the bottom of your dishwasher after running it, re-route your discharge hose so it will drain completely.
    • A draining sink can cause water to back up into your dishwasher through the discharge hose. Re-route by raising the loop higher.
  • Check under and around the dishwasher for foreign objects. Children and animals have a knack for knocking small items under appliances.

Call City Wide Plumbing 480-966-8795. Our local plumbing experts are ready to handle your plumbing problems for you.

Journey of Hope in Arizona

Hosting BBQ Lunch for Journey of Hope

By | Journey of Hope, local plumber | No Comments

Journey of Hope in Arizona

Today we were honored at City Wide Plumbing to host a barbecue lunch for the Pi Kappa Phi bicyclists of The Ability Experience. The food was provided by Tom’s BBQ. It was great to hear their stories and get to know more about these incredible men .

In 1987, one man’s dream of riding his bike across the country came true. What he did not know was the inspiration and motivation his trek across America would give to The Ability Experience. The very next year his ride inspired The Ability Experience to create the largest fraternal fundraising and awareness event of its kind, the Journey of Hope. Today the Journey of Hope covers 32 different states, cycling over 12,000 miles combined, it is solely comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi and continues to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities.The Ability Experience

Journey of Hope is a cross-country bicycle trek beginning in San Francisco (North), Los Angeles (South) and Seattle (TransAmerica) and ending together with all teams in Washington, D.C. (view route map here). The event raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Simply put, the Journey of Hope is a ride with a purpose.


Journey of Hope 2017

(excerpts from:

Pi Kappa Phi bicyclists of The Ability Experience

When in Doubt, Call in the Plumbing Experts

By | backflow device, backflow prevention | No Comments

drinking water

A licensed back flow plumbing technician can save you
time and money!

It’s easy to take clean running water for granted.You turn on the tap and there it is. When the flow stops running altogether or your water quality degrades significantly, it’s time to call in an expert. You’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

I had a restaurant call me to certify their brand-new backflow.

Backflow preventers are used to keep your water supply from becoming contaminated. A properly installed device helps keep fresh water flowing into your water lines while keeping possible contaminants out. Another company recently installed this backflow preventer, but the technician wasn’t licensed and couldn’t certify the work.

When our licensed backflow plumbing technician arrived, he knew right away that it wasn’t the correct backflow for that installation. Since city requirements change all the time and there can be new ordinances, he tried to call the municipality to double-check if they would accept that backflow for the restaurant.

Our technician was unable to get a hold of the city’s official, but there were only two options: Replace the backflow completely or chance it and pay to have the backflow certified. The customer decided to gamble on the city accepting the backflow at inspection and paid for our tech to certify it.

Gambling can pay off, but it can also cost more money, time and effort in the long run. When the city official inspected the work, the backflow preventer did not pass. In order for the restaurant to continue operating, it had to have the right backflow preventer installed, certified and then re-inspected by the city.

More time. More money. More effort.

The restaurant owner paid for two backflow preventers and two certifications, and was closed until the restaurant passed its inspection. It was a costly mistake that could’ve been easily prevented. This happens a lot, especially in restaurants, because each city has different requirements. Only licensed backflow testers know these regulations. Their continued training and licensing demand it.

Our motto is and always has been to do it right the first time. In the long run, you’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

Troubleshooting Sewer Gas Smells

By | clogged drain, sewer smell | No Comments

When your house smells like sewer gas or methane, here are 5 things to know and check:

  1. The first step is finding where the odor is coming from. Because methane is a heavier gas, it’ll sink rather than rise. When the smell seems to be coming from an area completely away from any drain, look higher and upstream from the air current. Float a feather or a small piece of thin paper to determine air current direction rather than lighting a match when you’ve got methane. Methane can be flammable.
  2. Check the drains. Dry drains can be a major culprit for sewer gas leaks. The drain trap dries out and gets smaller, causing a break in the seal. Re-wet the drain by pouring a 5-gallon bucket of water into the drain, or running the faucet for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Check the pipes under the sink. Is the odor stronger there? If so, is there a leak that you can see? Is there a vent? Call a professional to replace worn and broken parts, ensuring a proper fit and a better smelling area.
  4. The sewer line may be clogged. Do you have a lot of larger trees nearby? Do you have older clay sewage pipes that link your home or business to the city’s sewer lines? Tree roots can grow into clay lines and block waste water leaving your premises. It can make toilets flush slower or incompletely, or even create a sewage backup in your mechanic’s room or basement. When you live with a lot of trees or have older clay pipes, call a professional to clean your sewer line cleanout regularly. It’s well worth it to have good flushing toilets and free-flowing drains!
  5. The roof line stack might be blocked. This feature is usually found around your roofline, and helps pressurize your plumbing, creating the “oomph” to make toilets flush and waste water leave your building. The biggest tipoff to a blocked stack is when toilets don’t flush. A professional can help you here, too, by having the right equipment and experience to clear the blockage and bring back free-running drains.

Keep your place smelling great by keeping these five tips in mind.

Troubleshooting Sewer Gas Smells

The Plumber Who Saved Christmas

By | holidays, plumbers | No Comments

Plumbing isn’t for the faint of heart. Or amateurs.

( The following is a true story that happened to our friend and content writer: Lisa Butcher)

For three days, we’d wandered around our 110-year old house, trying to find the source of that distinctive sewer smell. It was so strong it made our eyes water. All we wanted to do was get rid of it! We wracked our brains: Maybe the basement drains were too dry and let gas into the house? Maybe the master cleanout needed to be re-snaked? Maybe the main stack was clogged?

A couple of gallons of bleach poured into all of the drains, a re-caulked floor drain, a call to the drain guy who snakes our cleanout valve twice a year, and a call to the stack guy who cleans out the breather valve on our roof, but to no avail. Where was that smell coming from?

It was the day before Christmas and all through the house, we were gagging on air with the windows pushed out. Holy moly, we had to do something. The whole family was coming into town and we expected a houseful of people in less than 24 hours. Did we have to tell them not to come? That we had a house emergency?

We called in the expert: a certified plumber.certified plumber

Our plumber re-snaked the drains, re-checked the air flow in the roof stack and then checked one last thing: the toilet. The toilet is on the second floor. What would happen with a toilet? It flushed fine, most of the time. Sometimes, we had to flush it twice, but other than that, we didn’t notice anything untoward. The plumber insisted, thinking maybe some of those baby wipes were stuck in the works.

By the way, even if those baby wipes say they’re flushable, they’re not. They can get tangled in sewage systems and shut down part of the waste water system for days.

But we didn’t have a baby, we assured him. We didn’t use baby wipes. Even so, he was pretty adamant. He was pulling the toilet. If it was nothing, well, at least we’d know for sure.

After he turned off the water supply, emptied both the tank and bowl, he pulled the toilet out and stared down the sewer pipe. Sure enough, it was blocked, but not by baby wipes or too much toilet paper. There were tree roots in the sewer pipe of a second-story toilet.

Even the plumber was surprised. A second floor was usually well beyond the reach for tree roots. And yet there they were, blocking the draw on the toilet, causing sewer gas to leak from the base of the toilet, down the stairs and into the main rooms of the house.

Our house had been vacant for a couple of years before we took residency. And we’d had a couple of years where the rains were nearly nonexistent. When it was dry, the neighboring trees searched for the best water source they could find: standing water from the toilet in our house.

The plumber snaked the toilet lines just like he would a cleanout valve. Once he was sure the lines were clear, he reset the toilet, turned the water back on and cleaned everything up neatly.

Honestly, we never would’ve imagined tree roots in a second-floor bath. But when you call in an expert, you get the answers and the solutions you need without a lot of wasted time and money.

Christmas went off without a hitch. And our plumber is on our Christmas card list from now on.

Call 480-966-8795