Let’s face it; you could wash dirty dishes by hand, but when the dishwasher won’t drain, life as you’ve known it is over. Of all the kitchen appliances, a dishwasher is probably the one you could do without, but the inconvenience of not having an automatic dishwasher makes it an essential player. Failing to drain or to drain properly is one of the most common maintenance issues affecting the appliance.
Don’t Stand for Standing Water
You loaded the dishes just as you’ve done hundreds of times and going about your kitchen duties, you suddenly realize that the dishwasher isn’t cycling through. Opening the door, you wait for the steam to escape only to view a pond in the bottom of the dishwasher. There are a few reasons why the dishwasher won’t drain. Besides bailing dishwasher from the pond that’s gathered, there are tactics you can use to assess the problem before calling in a plumber or repairman.
Clean the Filter
Did you know that the dishwasher has a filter? Most dishwashers are manufactured with the filter either in one of the back corners of the unit or on the spray arm, specifically around the base and below the lower rack. Tiny food particles or even teeny pieces of paper from the labels that the hot water and steam unglued from jars may get stuck in the filter. The debris that’s landed there could be the reason that the dishwasher won’t drain.
Once the filter is located, remove it by gently turning it clockwise about a quarter of a turn. Some filters are designed with two parts: lower and upper. The upper portion of the filter is what you will turn and pull out. Next, lift the lower filter out of its place by pulling it in a forward motion. Removing the filter is the most difficult part. Cleaning it is easy. Run water from the kitchen tap over the filter to dislodge debris. If necessary, scrub it out with a sponge or brush. Avoid using a wire brush or a cloth that has a rough texture that could potentially harm the filter. Calcium deposits could also block water from draining through the filter. Use dish soap or a detergent that’s designed to remove calcium deposits.
The drain hose carries water from the dishwasher to the sink drain. When the drain hose is blocked, the water will back up into the dishwasher, keeping it from draining properly. This may be a more trying job for the average DIYer, but it is possible to clear the drain hose on your own. Clearing the drain hose will involve disconnecting the power. Either disconnect the power by throwing the circuit breaker associated with the dishwasher or simply unplug it from the outlet. The next step is to remove the toe-kick at the base of the dishwasher. This will enable you to reach the drain hose. The drain hose has crinkled edges and can be removed by loosening the clamp on the hose. Notice if the drain hose is crimped or has a kink in it that could inhibit the flow of water. If the crimp is excessive, then the hose may need to be replaced. Additionally, buildup inside the hose or corrosion of the hoses on older units, may be the culprit behind the blockage. Clear out the corrosion with a screwdriver or a wire coat hanger, being careful not to injure the hose. Blowing through the hose will help to determine if it’s clear or not.
The drain pump, as its name implies, pumps water out of the inside of the dishwasher. The dishwasher won’t drain if the pump breaks or if it’s blocked. Drain pumps are inexpensive to replace, though it may be a job left to a professional. Otherwise, the homeowner would be tasked with removing the broken pump, which is difficult, due to its location at the bottom of the dishwasher. The workspace is limited too and hampers the removal process. Getting a good hold of the pump is hard.
A dishwasher that won’t drain is only one of the many issues that can affect the appliance. There are multiple working parts that can break due to normal wear and tear. Call 844-965-1133 to learn about a home warranty plan offered by FPL Home* to help protect major appliances and systems due to failure from normal wear and tear.
*FPL Home is an unregulated subsidiary of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). The home warranty plans are offered and administered by FPL Home, Florida license #E099597, and not FPL, and are provided by Lyndon Southern Insurance Company (FL Lic. No.: FL-03698). The home warranty plans are service plans and not warranties. Please refer to the full home warranty plan provisions for complete information including details of benefits, coverage, specific exclusions, arbitration provisions, class action waivers, conditions and limitations.
** Appliances Warranty Plus and Home Warranty Plus are brand names of the service plans and are not warranties.