HI Nick- the element in the dishwasher dries the dishes and sometimes boosts the heat of the water. Your water should come in already hot, so the problem is either your hot water heater or that the plumbing line was switched to cold by mistake. Or that people are bathing, laundering, etc. and using all available hot water right before you run the dishwasher.
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Incoming Water; Most manufacturers recommend that the water coming into your dishwasher be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cold, then your dishes don't clean properly. Or the dishwasher must run longer to heat up the water. Test the water temperature by running the hot water on your faucet for about 2 minutes or until it gets really hot. Place a waterproof thermometer under the water. If the water is too cold, increase the water temperature setting on your water heater.
Thermostat;The thermostat is responsible for regulating the water and drying cycle temperature. If this thermostat isn't working, the heating element at the base of the dishwasher tub may not come on. Test this element by selecting the hottest temperature setting. Run the dishwasher on the shortest cycle. Let the dishwasher run for a few minutes, and open it up. If the dishwasher water is not hot or the drying cycle isn't starting, order a new thermostat from a parts dealer since this component is difficult to fix.
Heating Element/Drying Fan; The heating element heats up the water and air. Access this element by removing the bottom rack. It looks like a long black rod. If any part of this component is broken or corroded, you must order a new one. You usually cannot fix this element. The drying fan is located in the main housing of the dishwasher, and it blows air around your dishes to dry them. Check this part by disconnecting the dishwasher from the power supply and opening up the housing. Examine the fan, and see if any dirt or debris is preventing it from moving. Clean it. If the fan won't turn at all or if the motor is burnt out, order a new fan since it's difficult to repair this part.
If your dishwasher isn't drying your dishes properly, see if you have selected a heated drying cycle. An air drying cycle doesn't completely dry your dishes. Never overload the dishwasher, as this prevents heat from circulating around your dishes, keeping them from drying properly. Plastic and Teflon
Does your machine take in hot or cold water. If it takes in hot water the element that heats and maintains the heat may be defective. If it takes in cold water the element is heating it but the thermostat is cutting out the element at too low a temperature. Normally dishwashers take in cold water and heat it to the required temperature, which would mean that the thermostat is faulty?
The dishwasher does not heat up the water. The water should be hot coming into the dishwasher, check your hot water supply source, whether it be the hot water tank or be sure the water inlet for the dishwasher is not connected to the cold water line
Connect the dishwasher to the HOT water side. Although most dishwashers have a heating element to heat the water, they are normally installed this way to reduce the amount of time the heating element is on. This not only extends the life of the heating element, but also reduces the amount of electricity required to heat the water. Another helpful hint: Before you run the dishwasher, run the hot water tap until the water runs hot. This will fill the dishwasher with water that is already hot instead of the cold water that normally sits in the line after the hot water has not been run for a while. If you have questions, please let me know. I hope this helps you.
Try turning on the faucet by the dishwasher and let the water run until it gets hot. Once this is done turn on the dishwasher and see if the water is warm or hot. Most dishwashers do not heat the water (residential dishwasher) they take the hot water from the hot water side of the sink. If the water heater is located a distance from the dishwasher then the cold water fills the dishwasher before the hot water can make it to the unit. This should cure your problem.
Generally speaking, dishwashers don't heat cold water on their own. Be sure the dishwasher is connected to a hot water supply and that hot water is available to the dishwasher at the START of the cycle.
Often it takes hot water several seconds for house plumbing to deliver hot water to an outlet. If the dishwasher is connected to the kitchen hot water supply, run the water in the sink until the water runs hot before you start the dishwasher.
Dishwashers often have heaters to heat the water even hotter than most home water heaters, but they are not intended to heat cool or cold water. You MUST furnish hot water to the dishwasher from the time the cycle is started.
I've seen houses that take so long for hot water to reach a faucet, the dishwasher is already full (of cold water) before the first drop of hot water reaches it.
If this dishwasher is a residential dishwasher the water that is supplied to the unit is from the hot water side of the sink supply. The dishwasher does not heat the water it uses water from the water heater that is connected to the house. It sounds as if the dishwasher is hooked up to the cold water supply instead of the hot water supply. The heating element you see in the dishwasher is for drying purposes and not for heating water. I would check the hot water supply for your dishwasher to see if that could be the problem. Also remember unless you have a recirculating pump on the hot water there will be an amount of water in the pipe from the water heater and the dishwasher that has sat and cooled down over a period of time therefore when you turn on the dishwasher you will not get hot water immediately due to the distance the dishwasher is from the water heater. You will notice when you turn on the hot water to thew sink you do not get hot water right away you let it run for a minute before it gets hot since the dishwasher is connected to the same valve as your hot water to the sink it acts the same way.
Good luck on your repairs hope this helped.
the dishwasher will probably heat the water the rest of the way for you. depending on the specs and features. hot water is not likely an issue with the dishwasher itself. you could have cold water plumbed to the unit by mistake. also, it could be that it is not fully pumping out, and the water going in is mixing with water in the sump. try running it for few minutes and then pump it out. start a new cycle and see if you are getting hot water. if not, then at try to confirm that the unit is heating the water on its own. run it for about half a cycle and check the water temp again. you do need hot water to clean in most units. for certain this is a plumbing problem that is delivering cold water. and if its not heating, make sure that it should be per manufacturers specs, and call for repairs if its not heating the water. good luck mark