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How to Fix a Dishwasher That’s Not Draining

The dishwasher is the saving grace of the kitchen. Without it, we’d be up to our elbows in hot, soapy water washing dirty dishes, pots, and pans by hand. When it comes to your dishwasher, however, you likely don’t give it a second thought – that is, until something goes wrong with it.

As with any appliance in your home, the dishwasher isn’t immune to malfunctions. One of the most common problems with a dishwasher is that it won’t drain properly.

If your dishwasher won’t drain, read on to learn possible causes and how to fix it.

6 Reasons Your Dishwasher Is Not Draining

There are a few things that can prevent your dishwasher from draining properly. While the root of the issue may stem from a problem with your dishwasher, in many cases, the drainage problems are actually related to your plumbing.

If your dishwasher won’t drain, we recommend the following:

1. Check the Garbage Disposal

Within your dishwasher is a drain hose that connects to the garbage disposal. As food builds up within the disposal, the water doesn’t have anywhere to go.

If you think this might be what’s causing the standing water in your dishwasher, run the disposal, making sure there is plenty of water flowing to clear it out.

2. Clean the Air Gap

The air gap is a small, chrome cylinder positioned on the back edge of the kitchen sink near the faucet. The device prevents drain water from siphoning back into the dishwasher. Sometimes, however, the air gap can clog and cause improper water drainage.

If you notice water coming out of the air gap when you run the dishwasher, there is most likely a blockage between the air gap and the garbage disposal. Clearing it is easy – all you have to do is remove the air gap cap and clean the inside of the air gap. Then, disconnect the hose running from the nipple on the bottom of the air gap to the garbage disposal drain. Make sure it’s not clogged.

3. Inspect the High-Loop

Not all dishwashers have an air gap. If yours doesn’t, then it likely has a drain hose that is looped upward and attached at the bottom of the countertop, close to the sink.

If the hose comes loose and is no longer looped up higher than the level of the dishwasher, it can prevent water from draining as it should. Returning the hose to its proper high-loop position should fix the issue.

Is There Still Water in the Bottom of the Dishwasher?

If the methods above have not resolved the issue, the drainage problem may lie within the appliance itself, rather than the plumbing.

4. Check the Drain Screen

At the bottom of the dishwasher, there should be a drain screen. Check the screen and make sure there is nothing clogging it. Sometimes clear plastic lids or pieces of plastic can cover the screen and prevent water from draining (these can be hard to see!).

5. Clean the Filter

Every so often, the dishwasher’s filter should be inspected for debris and cleaned if necessary. Over time, food waste, soap scum, and the like can build up on the screen and impede water drainage. Look at the filter. If it’s dirty, check the appliance owner’s manual for cleaning instructions.

6. Check the Drain Hose

The drain hose is typically a corrugated plastic tube, running from the bottom of the dishwasher to the air gap, garbage disposal, or sink drain. If the drain hose is clogged, it can prevent water from draining.

You can check the drain hose for a clog by turning off the power to your dishwasher, removing the toe-kick panel, and loosening the hose clamp that secures the drain hose to the dishwasher pump. You’ll want to have a sponge, rag, or towel to absorb any water that may spill out.

Clean the end of the hose and blow into it. If you can’t blow air through the hose, it’s clogged. Remove the clamp on the other end of the hose and clean the hose in the sink. If your hose is cracked or has a hole in it, replace it.

Contact Sansone for Dishwasher Repair in South Florida

If you’ve tried all of the above and still have standing water in your dishwasher, we recommend calling a professional plumber. At Sansone, we provide services in Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie. We can determine why the dishwasher is not draining properly and provide the best solution.

Broward: (954) 800-2858
Palm Beach: (561) 701-8274
St. Lucie: (772) 879-5656

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