How to Fix a Frigidaire Dishwasher That Won’t Drain

Dishwashers have their fair share of technical issues, but the most common problem that many Frigidaire dishwasher owners run into is drainage. It can be very frustrating to see water pooling inside the dishwasher when you go to unload your dishes. Troubleshooting the drainage problem can be tiring and time-consuming.

We've gotten the question a lot: "How do you unclog a dishwasher with standing water?" So today, we will be discussing the various reasons behind drainage problems in your Frigidaire dishwasher and how you can resolve them. We shall also be discussing some tips to avoid this problem in the future.

The following are the reasons that could lead to a drainage problem in your Frigidaire dishwasher:

  1. Blocked garbage disposal
  2. Clogged filters
  3. Clogged drain out valve
  4. Clogged/faulty drain-out tube and drain-out hose/pipe
  5. Faulty drain pump
  6. Faulty drain solenoid
  7. Broken drain pump belt
  8. Using excessive detergent

Now that we understand the various causes behind the drainage problem, we can cover them one by one. But before addressing them, let's first understand how a dishwasher works—knowing how your appliance works can make troubleshooting quick and easy.

How Does a Frigidaire Dishwasher Work?

Like most dishwashers, the Frigidaire model automatically washes dishes without human intervention. It has a soap dispenser that it uses during a wash cycle and a freshwater feed.

Once the dishes complete their wash cycle, the residual water drains out through a series of filters and outlets. These filters restrict the movement of food particles or debris inside the drain valve and pipe to avoid blockages. Sometimes, the debris is so tiny that it passes through the filter and gets stuck in the dishwasher’s drainage system. This causes a drainage problem and water to pool inside the dishwasher.

Now that we know how it works and why the drainage problem occurs, let’s go over common causes.

1. Blocked Garbage Disposer

Sometimes water drainage problems occur in a brand-new Frigidaire dishwashers due to a blocked garbage disposal. Every new dishwasher has a garbage disposal that collects solid debris and food waste. If your brand-new unit has drainage problems, it could be the knockout plug located inside the garbage disposal. Try removing it by accessing the garbage disposal - usually located under the sink. After removing the plug, the dishwasher should drain correctly.

If your dishwasher is not new and there is a blockage in the garbage disposal’s drainpipe, this could be the cause of your dishwasher’s drainage problem. To troubleshoot this, disconnect the drain hose from the disposal and clean the joint connecting the two. Remove any unwanted debris and reinstall. 

2. Clogged Filters

Every Frigidaire dishwasher comes with a series of filters. These include a glass filter, a basket screen, and a large circular screen. Together, these filters work to restrict any debris or food waste from entering the dishwasher’s drainage system and causing a blockage.

A glass filter collects large pieces of glass if a dish breaks inside the machine. Every model comes with one below the bottom sprayer arm. You can access it by removing the sprayer and then turning it 90-degrees clockwise to release it. Once it comes out, check it carefully for any debris and remove as necessary. Clean it thoroughly using a fine brush under running water. Additionally, check the housing area for any debris and clean as needed.

Be sure to clean the basket as well and check for any debris or blockage. It has a small hole on one side for the water to drain out. 

Finally, remove the large circular screen and check it for any debris as well. After everything is cleaned and replaced (don’t forget the sprayer arm), you can test the dishwasher with a small wash cycle. If the water drains out, that’s all there is to it. If not, then move on to the drain-out valve.

3. Clogged Drain-Out Valve

The drain-out valve drains residual water from the dishwasher and restricts it from flowing inside. You can find this under the basket screen. To access it, you will need to remove the sprayer arm along with various filters.

Once you’ve removed all the filters, siphon out the standing water to access the ball valve located in a closed chamber near the drain valve. For that, you need to unscrew the cover. Once removed, you’ll see the ball valve. You can move it to check its condition but do not remove it. Also, check the surrounding area for any debris and clean it.

Once you have checked the ball valve and cleaned the area, screw its cover back, place all parts removed in the correct order, and test the dishwasher again for a short wash cycle. If the water drains out, it is working fine. If not, there could be a blockage inside the drainage hose or between the hose and the drain valve.

To remove this blockage, you can use some items from your kitchen. Follow the steps written below carefully:

  1. Remove the sprayer arm and all the filters except for the ball valve cover.
  2. Take a cup, add six spoons of baking soda, and mix it thoroughly with some tap water.
  3. Take another cup and fill it halfway with vinegar.
  4. Simultaneously, boil some water.
  5. Once ready, pour the baking soda mix and vinegar in the second cup, and then a generous amount of hot boiling water.
  6. Wait for 10 minutes and then start another short wash cycle for the test.

If the above method works and your Frigidaire dishwasher drains out the water, it is good to go. If not, then the problem could be with the drain-out hose/pipe.

4. Clogged/Faulty Drain-Out Tube and Drain-Out Hose/Pipe

A drain-out hose is responsible for draining out the residual water from the drain valve into the sink. If this pipe either gets blocked or broken, it could lead to a drainage problem with your Frigidaire appliance.

To access it, look for it underneath the sink. There will be a hose leading to the sink connected to the cleanout tube. Disconnect the metal bracket holding the tube and the outlet hose together. Once done, remove the hose and put a wire cleaner inside the drain-out tube.

If you feel any obstruction, try breaking it so that it becomes loose and comes out quickly. Once done, put everything back. Also, check the outlet hose for any kinks as they too could cause blockage.

Now test the dishwasher for another test wash cycle. If the water drains out, your machine is draining out the water properly. If not, then move on to the next step.

5. Faulty Drain Pump

Every dishwasher uses a drain pump to drain out residual water. It has an impeller that it uses to push the water out. If it cannot remove the residual water, then a faulty impeller and drain pump could be the reason behind it.

To check it, you need to access the backside of your dishwasher, where you should see the pump assembly. Using a multimeter, test it for continuity. If the multimeter beeps, then it is OK. But if it shows OL, then your drainage issue is the drain pump and you would need to replace it.

6. Faulty Drain Solenoid

A faulty drain solenoid could cause a drainage issue with your dishwasher. It is an essential piece of equipment that controls the drain valve’s moment and drains the water. It won’t open the drain valve if it is faulty or broken and will cause a drainage problem.

To check it, unplug the dishwasher from the main power supply and access its backside. Once there, look near the drain pump to find the drain solenoid. Once found, try pushing it downwards. If it moves, then it should work. Test your dishwasher by plugging the unit into the primary power source and running a short wash cycle. The solenoid should move at both the start and the end of the wash cycle. If not, then it needs a replacement.

7. Broken Drain Pump Belt

A broken drain pump belt rarely occurs with this dishwasher brand, as not many of them nowadays come with a belt-driven drain pump. However, if this is the case with yours, look for the belt at the bottom of the motor. If broken, you would need to replace it.

8. Using Excessive Detergent

Loading excessive detergent in the dishwasher's detergent dispenser could cause sud formation inside the dishwasher and drainage areas. These suds club together and form large clogs that get stuck to different filters and inside the drain valve or hose.

If you ever find soap particles inside after a wash cycle, try using less soap when you fill the dispenser. It's best to be careful when filling the soap dispenser and we recommend reading the manual to get an idea of how much detergent to use to avoid over-sudsing.

Dishes are a daily chore in most American homes. A problematic dishwasher could ruin your day. Taking care of your machine can help to avoid that.

We specifically designed this troubleshooting guide with your requests in mind to keep your Frigidaire dishwasher running great. However, if you’ve tried this list and a problem still persists, it is time to call the experts.

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