I had called up the owner of our house on Monday, to tell him that our dishwasher had broken. By the way, it was the first time we've called him for a repair since we moved here. Anyway, it wasn't pumping water. So I told him that we've tried everything for 3 days, and now we are turning the problem over to him. Well, he came today to look at it.
He turned the dial to the heat setting. "If it is electrical, the heat setting won't work."
He waited about a minute.
He opened up the dishwasher, put his hand down over the heating element, and nearly jumped back on top of me in effort to get his hand off the burning coil. "Uh, heating element works" he said. I suggested he run his hand under cool water. He ignored said suggestion.
He turned the dial again, pulled out the lever, and started the dishwasher.
What'do ya know. It not only started, but I hear water whooshing into the machine. He opens the door to peek inside. Yup. We see water in the bottom. He asks me if there is a soap tablet in the dishwasher. I reply "Yes, there is a tablet right next to the burning hot coil. Don't touch it."
He gives me a little smirk, then asks me if, when I tried to start it before, I pulled the lever out to make it turn on.
"Yes. We've been living here for a while. I know how to start the dishwasher."
At any rate, maybe something was tweaked and just needed a good flip, push, or tug. It is a very old dishwasher, in any case. So it turns out that no matter how many times I turned the knob to change cycles, hoping that the water would start...and no matter how many times I changed it from "heavy wash" to "normal wash" and from "heated dry" to "energy efficient air dry", it wouldn't work for me. But the minute the owner did it, it worked. That is annoying.