In this kitchen dishwasher plumbing tip series we take a look at the most common dishwasher plumbing problems, possible causes, and share some insight on diagnosing dishwasher’s that either leak or stop draining.
The two problems that most frequently affect a homeowner’s kitchen sink drain, especially when a dishwasher unit and/or a garbage disposal are installed, are clogged kitchen sink drains and leaking supply pipes. Minor repairs using basic plumbing tools are one thing, but generally speaking, the homeowner will be in-over-their-head with a persistent, full-blown drain clog. The job of the homeowner is to practice some preventive maintenance to potentially avoid dishwasher drain leaks and clogs altogether.
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Cleaning a Dishwasher Inlet Screen
If your dishwasher takes forever to fill, a clogged inlet screen restricting the water flow might be the culprit. Water contains minerals and sediment and after time the screen in the supply line of your dishwasher will need cleaned or replaced altogether. Open the lower access door at the bottom of the dishwasher and locate the inlet valve solenoid, (an electrical valve responsible for controlling the flow of water being supplied to certain appliances – washing machines rely on this same principle). Typically, you will find a screen at the entrance to this supply hose. In some cases you may have to pull the dishwasher out and put it on its back to have access to the solenoid, a job most homeowners prefer to offer to a professional. If you are savvy, clean this screen or replace it if it has disintegrated.
If the problem persists, check all of the supply hoses for kinks. If you notice any water or signs of a leak, address the problem before it causes damage. Silent leaks can and will lead to mold and mildew growth, foul odors and damage to wooden cabinets, floors and walls.
Why Doesn’t All the Water Drain Out of My Dishwasher?
If your dishwasher is not draining properly there are a few things to take into consideration before relinquishing to the fact that you have a plumbing emergency. Some water remaining in the bottom of your dishwasher when it completes the entire wash cycle is normal. If you open the door when the dishwasher has completed and water runs out or water runs out while the dishwasher is running this could indicate a clogged dishwasher drain or a bad dishwasher door gasket, respectively.
Since there is such a network of connections under the busiest sink in the house, kitchen drains remain one of the most complicated plumbing systems for a homeowner to diagnose. Why is this? Because most of the time there is a garbage disposal tied into the plumbing and if it is full it could prevent proper draining. Turn on a steady stream of water and engage the garbage disposer for a moment or more. Continue running cold water for an additional 30 seconds. This could resolve the issue.
Sometimes a lightweight plastic cup can find its way to the underside of the loading rack and there have been some cases where it just settles in such a way that it can restrict the water flowing out of the dishwasher drain. Make sure to keep that screen free from pieces of food or a paper label that has come free from a glass jar, as well.
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Troubleshooting Dishwasher Plumbing Problem Tips from Our Experts
It seems like an elementary thing to mention, yet people get complacent and in the hectic routine of just living life, begin to haphazardly load the dishwasher up with as much as it can possibly hold and in very random ways. Make sure you load the dishwasher according to the suggested instructions provided in the manual for your specific machine for best results. Here is a short list of other possibilities:
- Check the drain hose connecting to the sink and garbage disposal. If there are any kinks, try and straighten them out. Make sure the hose seal is tight.
- Find the drain basket, located at the side or bottom of the appliance for hardened detergent or food particles which can sometimes be responsible for clogs. Simply wash the basket free of debris and replace it.
- Listen to your machine while it’s running. Is it making a humming sound or a clicking noise? Anything other than the usual operating sounds could be a clue that something is possibly wrong with the drain pump or motor.
If you should have to clear the standing water remaining in the bottom of your dishwasher this is the best way to do it without making too much of a mess. Line the floor under the dishwasher with towels or newspaper and use a plastic cup or a long handled spoon to scoop out the water into a bowl or bucket. When the water becomes too shallow to scoop, soak up the remaining moisture with old rags or paper towels.
Always make sure that you’re using the right type of dish detergent per manufacturer’s directions, to avoid clogging the drain. Taking some preventative steps to keep your dishwasher running smoothly can help you avoid annoying dishwasher drain issues.
Call us today for a free drain evaluation. Ask about our drain maintenance program. We are available 24/7 – including weekends and holidays – no overtime charges and no trip fees. Our licensed, trained professional plumbers can fix your problem today!