One of the most common problems that homeowners face with dishwashers is that they can stop draining. This can result in water flooding the room and leaving quite a puddle on the floor. The regular cleanups, maintenance costs, and structural damage that stagnant water can create are a huge nuisance.
Staying educated about your dishwasher becomes important if this is a regularly occurring problem in your home. Learn why it is important to fix this issue at once, why it occurs, what you can do to fix the issue, and some prevention methods by reading below.
Why Does This Need to Be Treated at Once?
If your dishwasher isn't draining properly, it can cause a lot of problems.
- It can be a nuisance to clean the huge mess caused by the dishwasher.
- Maintenance costs for the dishwasher can also be high, causing unnecessary expenses.
- Stagnant water can also give rise to mold and fungus. These have an unpleasant smell and can have a negative effect on your health.
- If the water pools on the floor, it can cause damage to the structure of the house. The floor will absorb the water which may cause the cement slab to shift.
- Stagnant water can also attract pests, for example, mosquitoes which flourish in such conditions. Wet floors, walls, or furniture can also attract termites as this will create a good environment for them to thrive in.
What Can Cause the Dishwasher to Stop Draining?
There are a number of reasons why a dishwasher may begin to spill its contents on the floor. These include:
Clogged Filter Basket
Scrapes of food and other items are blocked from entering the pipes by a component called the filter basket. However, with time, the filter can become dirty and become a blockade for the water. As a homeowner, it is important to clean these filters frequently.
Clogged Drain Hose
Another problem that dishwashers can have is that that the main sewer line gets clogged. The appliance is attached to a hose that is connected to the garbage disposal or the kitchen sink drain. If the food sludge in the drain hose builds up, it can cause quite a clog. This will prevent your dishwasher from draining properly.
If the sink is backing up as well as the dishwasher, it may not be a local problem. More than one clogged drain could mean that the blockade is deeper down the sewer line.
Broken Sewer Lines
Every drain of your house is connected to the main sewer line. If this pipe breaks or collapses, then that could mean a massive problem.
Sewer lines can collapse if they are old. The cement slab can shift and put pressure on the pipe. Some pipe fittings can also become loose with time. Tree roots can infiltrate the pipes, or a poorly aimed shovel can break them. Outdated pipe systems like cast iron, clay or orangeburg have higher chances of collapse.
Blocked Air Gap
Your dishwasher could also face difficulty in draining if the air gap installed in your kitchen is blocked. The air gap is usually installed next to the faucet on top of the sink. It is actually used to prevent backflows to the dishwashers.
However, if it’s not doing its job, it could mean that the air gap itself has developed a clog.
What to Do If the Dishwasher Won’t Drain?
There are some ways you can actually fix the drainage problem of the dishwasher if the problem is small.
- If the garbage disposal is full or the connecting hose has an air gap, it could be the reason for your dishwasher not draining. Just run the disposal system for a little while to clear out the system.
- Empty the dishwasher and check the bottom of the appliance. There may be a food scrap or item that is preventing the water from reaching the drain pipe.
- If you aren’t loading the dishwasher correctly, that can also hinder the process of cleaning. Read the instruction manual for suggestions on how to load the dishwasher properly.
- There is a filter basket in every dishwasher which prevents food items and scraps from entering the drain pipe. Make sure to clean this out properly. To clean, just grasp the basket and pull. Clean with dish soap or soak in vinegar for best results. If you can’t find the filter basket, read the manual to locate it.
- The drain valve can also get jammed sometimes. Inspect the valve and push it to make sure it is working freely.
- The motor or drain pump may also be malfunctioning. Look out for any strange sounds and have them replaced.
What Are Some Preventive Measures You Can Take?
- Make sure to remove food scraps from plates before loading the dishwasher. The dishwasher isn’t a garbage bin.
- Load the dishwasher correctly according to the dishwasher manual.
- Clean the filters of the dishwasher, as well as the filter basket regularly.
- You should keep the water running while feeding your garbage disposal so it doesn’t get blocked. A full disposal means backflows in the dishwasher.
When to Hire a Professional?
In certain situations, you may need a professional plumber to look at your plumbing system. A dishwasher is a complex appliance. It can be costly to take chances by tinkering with it yourself.
If the sewer lines are blocked, a professional can remove the clogs in the system effectively. You will definitely need a plumber if the main sewer line collapses. A plumber will be able to pinpoint where the collapse in the pipes is and replace them, if necessary. If your pipes are old, it may be time to upgrade them anyway.
It is also better to let professional plumbers look at your dishwasher system as they will be able to guide you on whether your dishwasher needs replacement. If the drainage system of your dishwasher gets clogged regularly, there may be a problem with the motor or drain pump. You may need to replace these or get a new dishwasher.
Contact a plumber to solve your dishwasher drain issues at once, instead of escalating the problem.