Dishwasher Model Number Locations
Knowing your dishwasher’s brand and model number is extremely important for finding dishwasher repair help and parts. After you find your dishwasher’s model number click on the “Parts” link above to find specific parts for your dishwasher and other useful dishwasher repair information.
Dishwasher Not Draining?
How to Fix a Dishwasher That’s Not Draining
To fix your dishwasher not draining problem you are going to need to learn a few things about that now useless hunk of plastic and metal in your kitchen!
Since dishwasher’s first began to be affordable and widely used in the 1960’s obviously there have been many different brands and types of dishwashers created…
All dishwashers have a least one pump to move water.
Most modern dishwashers have two pumps, one main pump to wash your dishes and another pump to drain water from your dishwasher.
Most dishwashers use a simple 120 AC drain motor to push drain water out of your dishwasher into your home drain system through the kitchen sink.
Three possible dishwasher to home drain styles…
- Dishwasher drain connects to an “air gap” mounted next to the sink faucet, then flows to the garbage disposal or sink pipe. (Most Common)
- Dishwasher drain hose connects directly to the garbage disposal or sink drain pipe.
- Some weird Jimmy Rig that some yahoo figured out to bypass the sink all together… (Good Luck)
K.I.S.S. Keep it simple… smarty pants.
Look at your dishwasher’s control area. Most dishwashers have a “Cancel” or “Drain” button or option. Sometimes this will be two buttons pressed at the same time, which should be noted on the control.
If you have a manual timer type dishwasher, start in the wash part of the cycle and slowly rotate the dishwasher knob clockwise until the wash motor stops and hopefully the dishwasher’s drain pump kicks in. If you have a dishwasher with a timer instead of a touch control you may have a dishwasher with only one pump so look at the single pump dishwasher notes below for more tips.
At this point the dishwasher’s drain pump should be sent power from the control board or timer and you should hear at least a faint hum.
“I hear a hum!”
Good News! The problem is not your dishwasher’s control board or timer!
The reason your dishwasher is not draining is ether a clog in the drain system or the drain pump is getting power but not working for some reason…
More Dishwasher Not Draining Tips
“I don’t hear a darn thing!”
If the dishwasher has power but you don’t hear a pump motor trying to run when it should be draining then there are two possible causes for your dishwasher not draining.
- Your dishwasher is not draining because the control board or timer is not sending electricity to the drain pump.
- Your dishwasher is not draining because the drain pump is broken electrically and is not working even though it is getting power from the dishwasher’s control.
- Your dishwasher is not draining because the wires or some wire connection is weak and power is not getting to the drain pump.To really narrow down why your dishwasher is not draining you will need to have some knowledge of electricity and ability to check for 120 volts from the dishwasher’s control and at the dishwasher’s drain pump…
So if you are feeling out of your element you may want to call a dishwasher repair company
Before you call a dishwasher service person to figure out why your dishwasher is not draining, you may want to look at these other articles to decide if repair or replacement is the best option for you.
Common Problems that could make your dishwasher not drain…
In order of likelihood, Ask yourself…
- Is the dishwasher not draining because a filter in the bottom of the dishwasher is clogged up? Dishwasher Not Draining Videos
- Is the dishwasher not draining because there is something clogging the dishwasher drain system at your sink?
If you have the “air break” style of drain that I talked about earlier, this is the most likely place for a blockage.
Disconnect the dishwasher’s drain hose from the sink connection and try draining the dishwasher into a bucket. If the dishwasher will drain you have just narrowed down the problem and should focus on your sink plumbing.
If you are still not getting any water from the dishwasher even though you hear the drain pump trying to drain, use a shop vac to suck on the drain hose and see if you can pull out whatever is in there, that may be causing your dishwasher to not drain.
Most shop vacs can be reversed to blow. If you blow on the hose, do you get water and air coming back into the dishwasher?
- Is your dishwasher not draining because the drain pump is jammed or broken?
Checking Your Dishwasher’s Drain Pump
Unfortunately, the drain pump may be difficult to check depending on what dishwasher brand you have. Some dishwashers have lots of room and are easy to work on others, not so much. If you have a very quiet dishwasher that is closed in on the bottom, I hope you are determined because it may be worth the money to call a dishwasher repair company. However some have placed the drain pump in the front where it is fairly easy to remove and check…
Check out the dishwasher repair videos for your style of dishwasher and see if it’s something you want to take on. Dishwasher Drain Pump Videos
Let’s take a moment to sum up the situation… You can hear the dishwasher’s drain pump running when you advance the dishwasher to drain, and you have eliminated the possibility of a clog in the drain hoses with a shop vac or some other method. How could the pump keep your dishwasher from not draining?
The drain pump has a small paddle wheel that starts spinning and causes the water to flow out of the dishwasher. The drain pump is not very powerful so it doesn’t take much to stop it from spinning. Small things like seeds or broken glass can work past the dishwasher filters into the drain pump and jam up the works. If this is the case usually removing the object will fix the problem.
The other way that the drain pump can fail to work is when an object has worn the paddle wheel down. In this case even if the drain pump is spinning it still will not effectively drain the water from the dishwasher. A sign of this would be a dishwasher that is draining but is very slow to drain.
Lastly the pump motor may be working just fine but the shaft of the paddle wheel inside the drain pump is broken. When you get into the pump to check it you should notice that the drain pumps wheel has a magnetic jump, this is normal. If the drain pump is okay it should tighten up and then jump forward suddenly. What it should not do is spin freely with no drag, that would be a sign that the ether the shaft or wheel is broken and the pump needs to be replaced.
Single Pump Dishwashers
Dishwashers that only have one pump will have a shifting device that will direct water from the main spray arm for wash and the drain system to push the dirty wash water out. Some older dishwashers use a solenoid, that can sometimes melt or jam to move the diverter. If the dishwasher will wash but not drain, first check for blockages that cause your dishwasher to not be draining. Then try to disconnect the solenoid and move the shifting device manually. If this works, focus on the dishwasher’s shifting device. Why is it not moving properly? The answer to this question should also answer why your dishwasher is not draining…
If this Dishwasher not draining repair guide was helpful please take a moment to “Like” or “share” It’s a big help to me! Thank you!
Other Dishwasher Not Draining Help Links:
Chemistry of Soaps & Detergents
In today’s laundry detergents, enzymes such as proteases and amylases are some of the active ingredients. In the U.S., about 50% of liquid detergents, 25% of powder detergents, and almost all powdered bleach additives now contain enzymes to help break down stains that are otherwise hard to remove with conventional surfactants alone. Protein-based stains have traditionally been among the hardest to remove. Proteins can act as strong natural bonding agents that make all sorts of dirt adhere stubbornly to textile fibers. Anyone trying to wash away bloodstains can testify to this effect.
How Detergents Work
Soaps are useful for cleaning because soap molecules have both a hydrophilic end, which dissolves in water, as well as a hydrophobic end, which is able to dissolve grease and fats molecules. Although grease will normally adhere to skin or clothing, the soap molecules can form micelles, which surround the grease particles and allow them to be dissolved in water. Applied to a soiled surface, soapy water effectively holds particles in colloidal suspension so it can be rinsed off with clean water. The hydrophobic portion (made up of a long hydrocarbon chain) dissolves dirt and oils, while the ionic end dissolves in water. Therefore, it allows water to remove normally-insoluble matter by emulsification. In other words, while normally oil and water do not mix, the addition of soap allows oils to dissolve in water, allowing them to be rinsed away.
A Little History
The earliest detergent substance was undoubtedly water; after that, oils, abrasives such as wet sand, and wet clay. The oldest known detergent for wool-washing is stale urine. (Now that’s what I call getting it clean!) Other detergent surfactants came from ox bile… Yummy!
The detergent effects of certain synthetic surfactants were noted in 1913 by A. Reychler, a Belgian chemist. The first commercially available detergent taking advantage of those observations was Nekal, sold in Germany in 1917, to alleviate World War I soap shortages. Detergents were mainly used in industry until World War II. By then new developments and the later conversion of USA aviation fuel plants to produce tetrapropylene, used in household detergents, caused a fast growth of household use in the late 1940s. In the late 1960s biological detergents, containing enzymes, better suited to dissolve protein stains, such as egg, were introduced in the USA by Procter & Gamble
Detergents, especially those made for use with water, often include different components such as:
Surfactants to ‘cut’ (emulsify) grease and to wet surfaces. Emulsion is a mixture of two or more immiscible (unbendable) liquids.
Abrasives to scour surfaces
Substances to modify pH (Potential for Hydrogen) or to affect performance or stability of other ingredients.
Caustics to break down organic compounds
Water softeners to counteract the effect of “hardness” ions on other ingredients
Translation… “Clean is good…Soaps clean good.”
How Dishwashers Work.
-Troubleshooting Dishwasher Problems-
Timer | Selector Switch | Fill Valve | Float Switch | Soap Dispenser | Rinse Aid Dispenser | Drain Solenoid | Thermostat | Soil Sensor | Motor | Pump | Door Switch | Drying Fan |Heating Element | Drain System
Tip: Many dishwashers will have a helpful troubleshooting guide for technicians, located behind the dishwashers toe plate, or behind the front panel. Please view the safety page before you remove lower dishwasher panel.
Selector Switch: The dishwasher’s selector switch further defines what components will be energized and which ones will be ignored, depending on the options you select. For example the heat dry / air dry option, the timer will send electricity to the heater regardless of this selection; however this switch is placed between the two components in the circuit. If air dry is selected the switch is opened, blocking electricity from reaching the heater. If the heat option is selected the switch is closed allowing current to flow though energizing the heating element for the dry cycle, the heating element may still be used for the purpose of heating the wash water. On newer models that use a circuit board, the selector switch will modify the control’s program to keep the heating element from being activated at the end of the dishwaher’s cycle.
Float Switch: the float switch assembly is designed to protect your dishwasher from overflowing and is made of two parts, the float and the switch. The water level in the tub lifts a small inverted cup (the float) attached to a post that passes through the bottom of the dishwasher tank to operate a switch. When the float has raised enough the switch below opens, breaking electrical contact to the fill valve, stopping water from entering the dishwasher’s tank and preventing the dishwasher from overfilling.
Tip: Something as simple as a fork lodged beneath the float will cause the dishwasher to think that it is full and not allow the fill valve to open and begin a new dishwasher cycle.
Soap Dispenser: This may come as a surprise, but the soap dispenser dispenses soap. How it performs this amazing function at the proper time is the timer’s responsibility. “But how is the electricity supplied by the timer converted into movement opening the dispenser?” You may ask…well one of two ways, either a solenoid will pull amechanical arm releasing the spring loaded detergent door allowing it to open, or a device called a wax motor will perform the same function by pushing instead of pulling.
Tip: Improper loading of the dishes may block the detergent door from opening not allowing soap to be released.
Rinse Aid Dispenser: The dishwashers rinse aid dispenser is often an integrated part of the overall dispenser assembly. The rinse aid dispenser may have its own operating solenoid opening a small release valve at the proper time, or the same actuator used for open the detergent dispenser may be used. If the same actuator is used a small cam component will reroute the actuators movement to open the rinse aid on its second pass at the end of the cycle.
Note: If you are attempting to repair this component. Improper installation would result in rinse aid being released on the first pass and detergent being released at the end of the wash cycle. (Not very good results)
Drain Solenoid: Not all dishwashers have drain solenoids. Some dishwashers use a solenoid to reroute the motor’s force from wash to drain. If this solenoid fails to operate the dishwasher will be stuck in ether the wash or drain mode. Most often the dishwasher will be unable to drain. The picture on the right is a defective solenoid; notice the melted black plastic on its metal plunger post.
Thermostat: A thermostat is used to measure the amount or heat presentin the water of the dishwasher. Some dishwashers may have several thermostats, which are almost always single temperature bimetal switches. Cool water results in poor detergent enzyme activity and thus poor cleaning results, so manufacturers will use a thermostat tosense if the water is to cold and try to heat it with the heating element in the bottom ofthe dishwasher’s tank. Most newer dishwashers designs have reduced water-heating ability to conserve electricity and comply with energy star standards. Therefore it is more important than ever that the water heater be set to a temperature level that will compensate for this temperature reduction. Most manufacturers suggest at least 120º.
Tip: As wasteful as it is, you must run the water at the sink until it is at it’s maximum temperature before starting the dishwasher. Save the water in a bucket and use it in the washer or to water your plants.
Soil Sensor: Some dishwashers use a soil sensor, actually called a turbidity sensor to monitor the amount of soil the wash water. The turbidity sensor shines light through a small sampling of dishwater measuring sediment content and adjusts the dishwasher’s cycle time and functions accordingly. Technologies like this are another benefit to solid-state timers.
Motor: The motor converts electric energy supplied by the timer into rotational motion. This rotational motion is used to spin an impeller, which pushes water up into and out of spray arms. There are many different motors styles but they can all be categorized into two main groups, single directional and reversing. Single direction motors will use a separate drain pump motor or a drain solenoid to reroute water out through the drain system. Reversing motors will change the direction of the impellers rotation causing water to be removed from the dishwasher’s tank. The motor may also spin a grinding blade that will pulverize any debris rinsed from the dishes into smaller pieces able to easily pass through the drain system.
Pump: In many cases the motor acts as a pump moving water out of the dishwasher’s tank; however, a separate drain pump may be used. Most modern drain pumps are usually magnetically driven. A rotating magnetic field is created, causing a small paddle wheel inside the dishwasher pump to spin pushing water out through the drain system. Tip: Sometimes become jammed by small items like bone fragments or toothpicks. Objects can also break a blade of the paddle wheel off reducing its ability to move water. A small amount of water in the bottom of the dishwasher’s tank at the end of the cycle is normal to keep seals moist; however if more water remains than normal you may have a clogged drain slowing the drain process or a broken pump blade.
Door Switch: Dishwashers use a series of door switches to control electrical flow to other components, the switches close allowing current to flow when the door is sealed. In most cases the switches are located on both the right and left side of the latch within the dishwashers door.
Tip: Sometimes the small actuator that inserts into the latch will become slightly bent not engaging some or all of these switches fully; the result is no dishwasher operation because the dishwasher thinks that the door is open. Slightly adjusting the door switch actuator to apply more pressure may help.
Heating Element: heating element is energized within the dishwasher to heat the water within the tank or accelerate the drying process. This heater becomes extremely hot and is protected by a thermostat. If the tank becomes to hot a thermostat will open breaking electrical flow to this element.
Tip: The heating element tends to attract large mineral and soap deposits insolating it from radiating the heat it produces and greatly reduces its efficiency. Mineral deposits can be kept from building up with a variety of dishwasher cleaning products. Once the heating element has been coated it may need to be manually cleaned or replaced to return it to its original heat radiating glory.
Drain System: Drain system is partially located internally within your dishwasher. The second half of that system is on top of or under your kitchen sink. A dishwasher’s drain hose may connect directly to the drainpipe, directly to a garbage disposal unit, or to an air gap mounted next to the faucet. Problems can occur when one of the hoses or connections within this system become clogged, a new garbage disposal unit is installed and the garbage disposal knockout is not removed, or if no air gap is used dirty water from the sink flows back into the dishwasher because the drain line is sagging.
Tip: If water is spraying out of the air gap on the top of your sink try removing the hose that connects the air gap to the garbage disposal and make sure it is clean. Also check the garbage disposal connection to be sure it is clean and clear. Dishwasher Installation Video