Why is My Dishwasher Not Draining?

Although it’s always annoying to open your dishwasher and realize the machine hasn’t emptied fully, don’t panic just yet. You might be able to deal with the issue without having to call a plumber or buy a new dishwasher.

Your dishwasher refusing to empty could be caused by multiple components a few of which are simple to rectify. Therefore, before you call a dishwasher repair service here is a selection of possible components you can correct yourself. A few of which aren’t even related to the machine itself.

Ensure the program wasn’t stopped mid-way

It is possible that there is nothing stopping your machine from draining. Alternatively, the program might have been cut short.

The program may have been stopped mid-way for a number of of reasons. Children pushing buttons, mistakenly pushing on the controls, a power cut or opening the dishwasher mid-program could all stop the cycle from completing and mean your dishwasher doesn’t empty.

If you suspect this may be the case, or you just want to be sure it’s not the issue start your dishwasher again on a quick cycle.

A few machines could have an empty capacity so it’s worth checking your instructions or doing a quick internet search to find out.

Examine the disposal

If your dishwasher is attached to the disposal examine this before you move on as an obstructed waste disposal will stop your dishwasher from draining. Turn on the disposal using fast running water to make sure there are no obstructions.

If you do uncover an obstruction drain cleaner or a plunger can be sought after to clear the blockage and this may rectify the problem.

Inspect the sink for blockages

If you sink is emptying slowly this could suggest an issue with the drains as opposed to a fault with your dishwasher.

If the kitchen sink is draining inefficiently you could attempt putting some bicarb and vinegar down the drain, leaving it for a while and then flushing it away with hot water.

A sink plunger could also be employed to attempt to shift the blockage.

This may be sufficient to allow the machine to work again so run a short rinse and drain cycle to check. If not you can remove the standing water by hand using a jug as well as a sponge and check a few more possible issues.

At this point make certain to disconnect the dishwasher to prevent electrocution.

If in the process of any one of these checks you think you have detected and fixed the issue there is no need to continue to the next step. Just start an empty cycle to ensure your machine is repaired.

Check and wash the filters

Popcorn, labels from containers, plastic lids and broken glass, as well as scraps of food, may all block the machine filter. Clear plastic lids may also be hard to see if you don’t look carefully.

Remove the filter and give it a thorough clean before replacing it. Not all machines have their filter in the same location so you could need to consult the instructions for this.

Is the waste hose blocked?

The next component to inspect is the waste hose. Many things could cause a blockage including a build up of food debris, a kink in the hose, or a crushed hose. All of which can all stop your machine from draining.

Contingent upon the location of the waste hose (usually the ribbed one) you may be able to view it by lifting away the kick plate alternatively you may have to move the dishwasher away from the wall.

Look at the hose first to see if it has been crushed or kinked. You may be able to fix these issues by hand which will most likely resolve the issue, but it’s worth noting that when this has occurred the probability of it happening again is significantly increased so you may need to purchase a spare hose.

If you are unable to see an issue you can remove the waste hose from the pump and blow into it to figure out if there are any blockages. Make sure you put down newspaper or towels first as there could still be dirty water in the pipe.

If you can’t blow air through the waste hose this could be the problem.

Remove the hose at the sink end and give it a thorough clean to clear the obstruction. If you are unable to shift the blockage or the pipe is split or damaged purchase a new one. If you could get rid of the blockage then put the hose back and run a short program to make sure you have solved the fault.

You may also examine the point where the waste pipe connects under your sink. This is a typical point for debris to build up so if you do take off the pipe give this connection a thorough scrub as well.

Examine the drain valve

You may manually examine the drain valve to ensure it isn’t seized. The drain valve will usually be located at the base of the dishwasher on the valve bracket. Check your owners manual if you’re not sure.

Depressing the valve or giving it a wiggle will likely be sufficient to let you know if it’s seized. If you are able to see any debris stopping it from moving remove this. If you are unable to, this could be when you should get in touch with a repair person unless you are undaunted by purchasing and swapping out the component on your own.

Inspect your pump is not blocked

Your dishwasher pump makes use of impellers that can become obstructed by pieces of glass or other objects. Check your pump isn’t broken by taking off the safety cover and making sure the impellers are free to move.

Listen to your dishwasher while it’s running

If the dishwasher sounds unusual your pump or motor could be damaged and need to be repaired.

Call a repair person

If none of the above investigations has fixed the fault, or you suspect the pump, pump valve or motor are broken, it might be the right time to call for help.

At least having attempted to troubleshoot you have prevented having to pay a big repair charge for a clogged filter.

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