How To Troubleshoot And Fix A Dishwasher Not Draining

If your dishwasher isn’t draining, it could be as a result of clogging that can occur in several places within and around the dishwasher parts and connections that need careful inspection to identify them for unclogging. It can also be due to defective parts or electrical components of the dishwasher.

Dishwasher won’t drain – steps for troubleshooting and fixing the problem

Here are the different areas you need to check when troubleshooting your dishwasher to find out exactly what causes it not to drain properly.

Check for clog in the sink drain and garbage disposal

A clogged sink drain is a common problem that prevents a dishwasher from draining. So if after running water through your sink it doesn’t drain, make sure to clear it and that will fix the problem to allow your dishwasher to drain. If you have a garbage disposal for the sink, you can also run to see if water drains properly. If it doesn’t drain, clear it out. A broken garbage disposal that’s not draining needs to be replaced because if not it keeps clogging again and again. Also if you installed a garbage disposal but forgot to remove the knockout plug, it will prevent water from leaking through the opening of the dishwasher drain. That is an important step when installing a garbage disposal.

Check for possible grease clogs

The dishwasher drain hose connecting between the sink and the garbage disposal can also attract grease clogs and that too will cause the dishwasher not to drain. Remove the drain hose from the sink or garbage disposal connections to check for grease clogs. If any of it is found it should be cleared before reinstalling the drain hose. To test if the problem is fixed, you have to run the drain pump, which on most models is done by pressing the cancel button immediately after starting the cycle. For a dishwasher with a timer, you can jump to the drain portion of the cycle. All you need to do is to turn the timer to the end of the cycle.

Check for air gap blockages

Some dishwashers use an air gap which you should see next to the faucet of your sink. The air gap can get clogged too and the signs include stained water or water trails coming out of the vent holes. If you notice any of the signs, remove the air gap cap and also the cover. Run the plumbers snake through the drain hose running from the air gap to the sink drain or the garbage disposal to get the clog cleared. Other ways to clear it is by blowing air through it or using a wet/dry vacuum to suck all the debris out.

Check the pump drain hose

Clogs can also occur anywhere within the drain hose from the sink drain to the drain pump. Before doing the checks you will have to make sure the dishwasher is disconnected from the electrical power source. Any water in the dishwasher tub should also be removed either by bailing it out or sucking it out with a wet/dry vacuum. In order to access the drain hose connection on the pump drain, you have to remove the front panels of the dishwasher. Once you access the drain pump place underneath it a towel or a shallow pan to collect any water from the dishwasher sump. When checking for any clogs within the drain hose running between the sink drain and the drain pump, place the drain pump end of the drain hose on a shallow pan and pour some water from sink drain end of the drain hose. If there is an air gap also pour water from that end. If the water doesn’t go through then you will know there is a clog somewhere in the drain hose. So you will have to pull out the dishwasher completely and run the plumbers snake through the drain hose to clear the clog.

Problems that call for a professional appliance service technician

If you complete all the checks described above and still your dishwasher won’t drain, then probably you have more technical issues like a clog in the drain pump, the sump, a defective drain pump, defective timer or control board. Call a qualified appliance technician to fix it.

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