How to Fix a Dishwasher that is Not Draining

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Most of the time, a dishwasher issue is with your plumbing and not the dishwasher itself.

The holiday season is upon us and that means gatherings, friends and family, traditions, good food, and… more dishes. Imagine going to start your dishwasher after a big meal with guests, only to find that it will not drain and wash your dishes. Taking all of those dishes back out and hand washing them can be less than ideal at any time of the year, but especially over the holidays. We are going to review how to fix a dishwasher that is not draining, so you aren’t stuck with an extra mess on your hands over the holiday season.

How do I know my dishwasher is not draining?

You likely are not a dishwasher repair expert, so you may not notice the signs that trouble is brewing. There are warning indicators that your Buffalo dishwasher may be starting to back up. Let’s review those before diving into how to fix a dishwasher that is not draining.

Unusual Noises: If your dishwasher is starting to make loud gurgling noises, as with all other gurgling drains, that is a sign that there may be a build up somewhere.
Slow Drain: If your dishwasher or kitchen sink have started to drain slower than usual, there may be a clog down the line and it is likely time to have your drains cleaned.
Water Backup: If while your dishwasher is running, water is backing up and coming up through the kitchen sink, there might be a problem. Shut off the dishwasher and run the garbage disposal to ensure there’s no food stuck or causing a clog. If the water backup persists, you may have an issue looming.
Dirty Dishes: If you go to empty your dishwasher, once it is done running, and notice the dishes are still dirty, that could be a sign that your dishwasher is not functioning as it should.
Leftover Water: One of the most obvious ways to identify that your dishwasher may not be draining correctly, is if water is left over in the bottom of the dishwasher after its cycle has finished. When food or sediment build up within these systems, the dishwasher won’t drain properly and could cause a problem.

How can I fix a dishwasher that is not draining?

If your dishwasher is not draining, don’t panic. You can troubleshoot on your own or call in a professional plumbing expert to help resolve the issue for you. Most of the time, the issue is with your plumbing and not the dishwasher itself.

Here are some steps you can take:

Identify the Issue: The first step to fixing the problem with your dishwasher is to identify that you have a problem in the first place. By noticing that an issue is on the horizon before it actually occurs, and addressing it, you can likely prevent yourself from having your dishwasher fully back up and you having to hand wash all of those holiday dishes.

Clean the Garbage Disposal: Most dishwashers don’t have a dedicated plumbing line and they connect and drain through the garbage disposal, which is connected to the outside drain pipe. Run your garbage disposal and thoroughly clean it. Food and debris can build up, in turn, causing your dishwasher to back up.

Clean the Filter: Locate the filter on your dishwasher. This is usually easy to find at the bottom. Ensure there is not any obvious blockages that are preventing the filter to function as it should. Clean all food scraps, soap scum, and other items off of the filter area.

Check the Drain Hose: The drain hose, as its name suggests, is the tube that drains the dirty water out of your dishwasher. Locate the hose and inspect for blockages and kinks. Any obstructions could be what is causing your dishwasher to back up.

The last thing you probably want to deal with over the holidays is a dishwasher that won’t work and you likely don’t want to spend any time trying to fix a dishwasher that is not draining. Like with all plumbing issues, Reimer Home Services is your Day or Night Buffalo plumbing team.

Our full-service plumbing team is ready to help with whatever your home needs, from thawing frozen pipes to cleaning out your shower drain. Our Buffalo plumbers are available Day or Night to help you and your home. We provide upfront estimates and we don’t charge you anything extra for service on nights or weekends.

When you need a plumber, don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.

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