Can You Bypass A Thermal Fuse On A Dishwasher? (Find Out Now!)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

If you own a dishwasher, you’ll likely experience a blown thermal fuse at some point in your life. This isn’t uncommon, as these fuses are designed to blow to protect the components of your dishwasher. Fortunately, the replacement process for thermal fuses is very straightforward.

However, if your dishwasher has stopped mid-cycle and you do not have a multimeter to test the thermal fuse’s continuity, you may be wondering: “can you bypass a thermal fuse on a dishwasher?”

In short, yes, you can bypass a thermal fuse on a dishwasher if you don’t have a multimeter, and it is easy to do so. However, bypassing is not something that should be done to temporarily operate the dishwasher – only to troubleshoot the problem.

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What is a Thermal Fuse?

Most, but not all, dishwashers are outfitted with a thermal fuse. The purpose of a thermal fuse is to protect the pump, motor, and other electrical mechanisms of the dishwasher from damage caused by high temperature. Although the thermostat is designed to control the water temperature during a wash cycle, if the thermostat fails or malfunctions, the temperatures can get too high.

In this case, the thermal fuse will burn out first, which cuts the power to the dishwasher to prevent any other components from harm. It makes it impossible to operate the appliance without fixing the problem. This safety component also prevents faulty internal components from tripping the mains of your home and it may even blow when a pump or heating element fails.

When the thermal fuse blows, it needs to be replaced. Though, you’ll first need to test the thermal fuse for continuity.

How to Tell If Your Dishwasher Thermal Fuse Has Blown

Since you can’t always find out whether or not a thermal fuse has blown by simply looking at it, you’ll need to perform a continuity test. A continuity test will determine if a continuous electrical path is present in the fuse. If the fuse has continuity, it should be functioning properly.

However, no continuity means that the electrical path has broken and the fuse has blown. Fuses come in many shapes and sizes but they can all be tested in the same way: by using a multimeter. From analog to digital, you can choose from a variety of multimeters to perform the test. First, make sure that rotate the dial to the lowest setting and calibrate the meter by pinching the probes together while adjusting the meter to read zero.

After removing or isolating the thermal fuse from the appliance, touch one of the multimeter’s probes to one of the fuse’s terminals and the other probe to touch the other terminal. Then, examine the meter’s reading. If the multimeter displays zero ohms of resistance, the fuse has continuity. Though, if the meter does not move or the digital display does not change significantly, there is no continuity and the fuse has blown.

Can You Bypass a Thermal Fuse on a Dishwasher?

Although checking the thermal fuse on your dishwasher is easy when you have a multimeter or ohmmeter, there is still a way to troubleshoot if you do not. If you don’t have access to a multimeter, you can bypass the thermal fuse temporarily. To do this, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Shut off the power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker and by unplugging the appliance from the outlet. Only once the power has been cut is it safe to start troubleshooting.
  • Locate the thermal fuse. The location will vary based on the model and brand of dishwasher that you have, so consult your owner’s manual or look online for specifics. In most cases, the thermal fuse will be mounted on the control board housing.
  • Remove the screws securing the control panel, then pull the panel away from the appliance and rotate it downward to expose the back of the panel.
  • Press the tab on the side of the control board cover to unlock it. Then, insert a flathead screwdriver into the lower locking tab under the control panel to unlock and remove the cover.
  • Once you’ve located and exposed the thermal fuse, to bypass it, remove both wires and join them together using a small piece of insulated wire. Use some electrical tape to wrap the connection but don’t let it touch anything metal.
  • The thermal fuse is now bypassed. So, turn the power back on and see if the display lights on the dishwasher turn on. If the dishwasher works with the thermal fuse bypassed, this indicates that another component in the dishwasher is malfunctioning.

Bypassing the thermal fuse on your dishwasher should only be used as a last resort and only long enough to troubleshoot the problem. You should NEVER operate your dishwasher with a bypassed thermal fuse.

While it is possible to bypass a thermal fuse on a dishwasher, it’s important to be aware that a blown thermal fuse usually indicates that there’s a shorted electrical component in the dishwasher – such as a heating element or thermostat. If the problem persists after replacing the fuse, heating element, and/ or thermostat, you may need to contact a professional to repair your dishwasher.

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Replacing the Thermal Fuse on a Dishwasher

First, always make sure that you switch off the power supply and unplug your dishwasher from the outlet. Then, once you’ve located the thermal fuse on the control panel of your dishwasher’s door, you can access it by removing the screws on the control panel to free it from the door. Then, replace the fuse by following these steps:

  • Disconnect the damage thermal fuse and the wires.
  • Connect the wires to the new thermal fuse and put it in the exact position of the original fuse.
  • Replace the inner door panel and power up the unit.

At this point, the display panel should be activated and you can check if the control panel responds appropriately to commands. For best results, always be sure to choose a replacement thermal fuse that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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