Dishwashers can be considered a necessity in these modern times. After all, when all you need to do is load the day’s dishes in and let the appliance do the rest, it definitely frees up a lot of time for other tasks. But we can become so dependent on having a working dishwasher that we are at a loss when it suddenly stops working.
Drainage issues are one common reason for dishwasher problems. Most of the time, debris build-up, water problems, or faulty features are some of the contributing factors that can affect the drain, limiting your dishwasher’s effectiveness. However, we can easily avoid this problem as long as you know how to properly maintain your dishwasher and address the problem once it arises.
Below, we’ll learn about the warning signs to watch for and how to remedy them. Hopefully, these tips can help you resolve the issue yourself before you must resort to calling a technician, or worse- buy a whole new machine.
Problem #1: Clogged or Blocked Filter
Dishwashers come with a filter basket in the drain that keeps food scraps and other debris away. These can potentially enter the pipes and affect the drain pump and drainage of your machine. This must be examined and cleaned regularly to ensure optimal water flow through the machine and that the drainage system functions properly. This also ensures that your machine is free from any residue and that it’s running a clean cycle whenever you use your dishwasher.
If you notice poor cleaning results, like visible food particles on your dishes, or they feel dirty and grimy to the touch, it may mean that your filter basket is due for a cleaning or replacement.
Follow these simple DIY methods to remove junk or debris from your machine to ensure that the water drains properly:
Step 1: Remove your dishwasher filter first
To check for something potentially stuck in your filter, you need to remove it first. Always make sure that your appliance is turned off or unplugged every time you do this step. Next, open your machine and remove the bottom dish rack. One can usually find the small plastic tubular filter under the base of the spray arm or at the back corner of the dishwasher tub. To remove it, carefully turn and lift.
Step 2: Cleaning the filter
Run warm water over the filter to remove dirt and debris from your dishwasher filter. Calcium deposits and other difficult-to-remove material may require the use of a soft brush and dish soap. Scrubbing it with a wire brush, scouring pad, or anything else that is harsh could potentially cause damages or holes, and we don’t want that because it can pass bigger debris onto your drain hose and pipes, causing bigger problems down the line. Always use soft materials when cleaning and do not scrub too hard.
Step 3: Replace the filter
If the filter is too dirty or damaged beyond repair, it might be time to replace it. Remember, having a filter is important to ensure that the water flows smoothly through your pipes. This will also prevent blockages in your pipes and dishwasher. Nowadays, it’s easy to place an order for the spare parts directly from the manufacturer or online. However, always check that the new part is not faulty or damaged before installing it and turning on the dishwasher.
Problem #2: Damage to the Drainpipes or Drainage System
Leftover food particles and grease buildup can easily clog your dishwasher’s drain pump or drain hose. Having a clogged drainage system will prevent the water from draining and will leave standing water. Usually, any debris that has made its way to the drain pump is near the impeller rotor, the part that increases the pressure and flow of water.
Foreign materials such as broken glass or plastics can easily get stuck in the drain tube and can prevent it from working efficiently. A tip to keep this clear is to make sure that the dishes put in the dishwasher are not damaged or cracked and are free from other possible debris that can cause blockage. Do this any time before you turn on your dishwasher. This extra step will ensure that your drain tube and drain pump won’t encounter any blockage and prevent major appliance repair.
Check for proper installation of all hoses and check valves. This will ensure that the water flow is efficient and that there is no backflow. A dishwasher’s check valve is an electrical component with a visible, movable bracket or arm. You can access this by removing the front panel of the unit and setting it on the floor.
If you would like to attempt to do this yourself, it might be helpful to look for the user manual for your specific appliance. If you suspect that the damage is too major, it is best to call a technician to ensure that a professional handles it properly.
Problem #3: Blockage in the Water Supply Pipes
If you find that your dishwasher is still not draining after cleaning the screen and drainage sections, you most likely have a clogged water supply line or an issue with the supply pipes. An indication of this could be a very weak backflow of water, dishes feel unclean after running a cycle, or your dishwasher won’t drain and the water constantly gets stuck at the bottom. Check this by examining the pipes under your sink and find the supply line.
As always, before doing anything, disconnect the power plug and the plumbing line that feeds into the main drain and place a bucket underneath the pipe to catch any falling water. Next, allow the water to drain into a bucket. Inspect the pipe for any possible blockages and loosen them using a snake. You should also check your dishwasher drain and drain pumps for any foreign substances. Finally, reconnect the plumbing line after clearing any obstructions, and run an empty wash load.
If you suspect that this solution has not helped with the drainage issue, then it means that a part of your machine might already be defective. Check this with your technician to see if you need to replace any parts or the motor.
Problem #4: Clogged Garbage Disposal
If your dishwasher is not draining properly after checking the drainpipes and water supply line, you may find the blockage in the garbage disposal or your machine’s drain hose. Checking your dishwasher drain hose is pretty simple. Just follow these easy steps:
- Turn on your sink faucet and run the garbage disposal to clear any potential blockage inside.
- If nothing is blocking it, turn off your faucet, the machine, and unplug it.
- Place a bucket under the disposal to catch any water that may leak out during the process.
- Remove the drain hose using channel-lock pliers and check inside. Check for any possible clogs at the connection points as well.
- You can also use a commercial clog remover to help dissolve any hard debris in the drain hose.
- After cleaning it, install the hose back in place and run the dishwasher to see if the dishwasher’s performance has improved and water flows through the drain tube again.
Again, always make sure that your dishwasher load is free of glass or plastic debris and anything that can potentially cause the block in the drain. It’s an extra step, but it’s necessary to ensure that your dishwasher won’t encounter any problems and will last you for a long time.
Problem #5: Non-Functional Features
Another possible reason your dishwasher is having drain problems is because of a faulty mechanism. Check your machine every time you use it and make sure all features of your machine are working properly. If you think that a feature may be defective, you can attempt to troubleshoot your dishwasher, provided that you follow the guidelines from your manufacturer. You can do so by following the instruction manual that came with your appliance.
Also, keep a lookout for error codes that might appear on your machine. You can reference the error codes in the manual.
Sometimes, you just need to replace a broken part. It’s also a good idea to regularly check the valves and power plug, ensuring that everything is connected and installed properly.
Faulty features can also affect the dishwasher’s drain. The issue may be a problem with the pump or motor connected to your dishwasher. Check the dishwasher’s manual to reference certain features and specific troubleshooting tips or call the customer service line for your machine’s manufacturer.
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Having a dishwasher is a lifesaver in our day-to-day lives. However, it could be a massive inconvenience if it gets clogged or becomes defective – not to mention expensive. That is why it’s so important to regularly maintain your dishwasher to keep it functioning seamlessly at all times.
Thankfully, clogs are an easy fix when you check the usual culprits: the filter, the drain, or other faulty features. Routinely making sure that your dishwasher is properly maintained and free from broken debris will help keep your appliance running.
There are sometimes other issues that your machine might encounter, aside from the drainage system, but whatever issue it may be, you don’t want to ignore the problem and have it lead to a bigger complication. If left unchecked, you may have to get a new machine altogether, costing you a lot of money.
The next time you encounter drain problems or blockage in your dishwasher, try these tips first and see if it helps. If you still have issues after checking everything, give your technician a call and schedule an appointment.