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Solving the Mystery of Dishwasher Drainage

image of dishes in a dishwasherYou rely on your dishwasher to clean and drain away all the remaining food particles from last night’s dinner, so any malfunctions are big deals. Significant damage can occur if your dishwasher doesn’t drain properly, causing possible leaks into your cabinetry or onto the flooring. When the appliance doesn’t drain, take a look at just a few areas where your problems could lie.

Air Gap Clog

That dome-shaped installation on your kitchen sink is referred to as an air gap, allowing pressure to ease between the dishwasher and the surrounding environment. Inspect the air gap for any clogs. Food, hair and other particles slowly accumulate on and within this assembly. It may be necessary to remove the outer cover for better access to the blockage. If you feel uncomfortable with this process, call your local repair person for a professional evaluation.

Kitchen Sink Blockage

Your kitchen sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher are all linked by hoses for rapid water use and removal. Use your garbage disposal frequently to move food particles down into the plumbing. You want to avoid plumbing blockages at the sink because those create drainage problems at the dishwasher itself. Use a plumbing snake to dislodge any sink blockages and solve several drainage problems at once. Be careful using chemical drain openers in disposal sinks. Turning on the system could fling chemicals up into the air, causing potential injury.

Improper Detergent Type

Verify you have the right cleaning agent working in the dishwasher. Always use detergents designed for dishwashers specifically. They have reduced suds action to avoid clogging the appliance’s drain pathways. Placing concentrated dish soap into the machine cause excessive bubbles, blocking drainage throughout the interior. If improper detergent was used, clean out the dishwasher to remove all residues. The next cycle should be run with normal detergent or none at all to clear out the drains.

Pull out the Filter

Similar to many other appliances, dishwashers have internal filters. Over time, they become encrusted with particles. Water can’t flow through the area, causing puddling within the machine. Access the filter which is normally hidden in the dishwasher’s bottom section. Remove it and clean it out. Replace the filter if it appears broken or too dirty to clean adequately. Many drainage problems are solved with just a filter servicing.

Kinked Drain Hoses

Try to look behind your dishwasher by accessing the open cabinets beside it. Inspect all the hoses you can see. They may be coiled, but no kinks should be visible. If the appliance was just recently installed, the physical placement of the dishwasher into the cabinetry could have warped the hoses. Contact a professional if you cannot see the hoses clearly. It may be necessary to pull the appliance out slightly from the wall to verify any issues.

Consider High Drain Loops

Although many areas require the air gap on your sink, your dishwasher may not need one in unregulated regions. However, you’ll need a high drain loop to compensate for the missing air gap. Look behind the appliance again to see an obvious hose loop attached to a wall, for example. It shouldn’t be kinked and must be high above the floor. This loop allows air and water to flow unimpeded through the system.

Although some basic troubleshooting is essential to home appliance care, such as through this helpful article, many issues are best cared for by the experts. Even if you have a reputable Milwaukee dishwasher repair person, you’ll still need some professional help at times to service your dishwasher too. If any malfunctions occur that are out of your comfort range, unplug the appliance and call the professionals immediately.

photo by franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Helpful Hints

Things to check before you call:

  • CHECK for a blown fuse
  • CHECK that the appliance is plugged in
  • CHECK that the dryer vent is clean
  • CHECK that refrigerator controls are at the proper setting