3 Issues That Will Cause A Clogged Dishwasher

After a long day at work and several hours of preparing dinner, the last thing you want to do is wash your dishes by hand. However, your dishwasher isn't draining correctly, and you're having trouble identifying the cause of the problem. Instead of continuing to wash your dishes by hand every night, inspect your dishwasher assembly for these three problems and perform or arrange for the necessary repairs:

Clogged Garbage Disposal

Your dishwasher drain line connects directly to your garbage disposal. Although this is typically a useful design that allows for you to grind up food chunks that drain through your dishwasher, it can be problematic when your garbage disposal's discharge hose becomes clogged.

Typically, a garbage disposal's discharge hose will become clogged when a piece of food manages to slip through the disposal blades and gets stuck in the hose.

Luckily, a clogged discharge hose is easy to identify because a leaking air gap always accompanies it. If water leaks from your dishwasher's air gap (the small, seemingly-useless fixture next to your faucet), then there's likely a large buildup of food stuck in your discharge hose.

To clear your disposal's discharge hose, you must remove the clamps that secure the hose to your disposal and drainage pipes with a flat screwdriver. Lower one end of your discharge hose into a drain pan or bucket to allow any water inside the hose to drain.

Use a large pipe cleaner, plumbing snake, or unwound metal clothes hanger to force the blockage out of the hose and into your drain pan or bucket. Reconnect your discharge hose to your disposal and drain pipes to finish the job. Make sure your hose clamps are thoroughly tightened to avoid any leakage.

Seized Float Cup

Your dishwasher's drain motor is activated by a small float cup located at the bottom of your dishwasher's tub. When water fills your dishwasher, your float cup will rise and activate a switch that stops the flow of water into your dishwasher's tub. Additionally, the switch will activate your drain motor, which will begin draining water from the base of the tub.

After several years of use (and dozens of gallons of dishwasher detergent), dried detergent residue can build up inside your float cup and prevent it from rising with the level of water inside your tub. As a result, the drainage process of your dishwasher will not be able to occur. Typically, this issue is accompanied by leakage through the door of your dishwasher.

Depending on the design of your dishwasher, the drainage process may still be able to occur even while the float cup is seized. In such a case, open your dishwasher door once the drainage process finishes and remove your float cup by loosening the screws or pulling the tabs that secure your float cup. Soak your cup in hot water and wipe away any stubborn detergent residue before reinstalling it into your dishwasher.

If your dishwasher won't drain while your float cup is seized, place a drain pan and towels beneath your door to contain the leakage from your door. Once the leakage stops, open your door and clean your float cup.

If you find that your float assembly became seized due to physical damage, then don't bother cleaning it—replace it instead.

Malfunctioning Drain Pump

Your dishwasher's drain pump forces the water inside your dishwasher's tub through your drain line and into your plumbing's drainage system. When your drain pump malfunctions, no water will drain from your dishwasher.

There are several components of your drain pump that are susceptible to malfunctioning—specifically, your circulation motor, various seals and gaskets, and your belt drive (depending on your type of motor).

If you suspect that your drain pump is malfunctioning, or if you have trouble performing any other dishwasher repairs, then contact a professional appliance repair technician right away. If you attempt to inspect or repair your dishwasher without knowing exactly what to do, you can cause further damage to your dishwasher and increase your repair costs.

For more information, contact a local appliance repair company, like Appliance Service Co Inc.