Question from Brad:

My dishwasher is not draining. I’ve run it many times and tried different cycles. I’ve even taken it apart and reassembled it, but nothing has worked so far. What’s going on?


Brad, thanks for asking. It is difficult to diagnose a dishwasher without knowing more information. Your problem is certainly not uncommon, and I’ll start by giving you a basic analysis of what is happening.

The problem might be with the dishwasher’s water inlet valve, or with a faulty drain hose, or something else entirely. The first step is to make sure that your appliance isn’t overloaded – if you’ve been using too much soap or sopping wet dishes are causing a clog in the drain line, the mechanism can’t pump away all of the dirty water from inside which causes this issue when there’s too much weight sitting on top of the pump inlet line (usually underneath). So check your appliance for overloading and make any adjustments necessary.

The other likely culprit is a hose or connection issue, but this time the problem might be on the dishwasher’s inlet hose itself. Dishwashers are very noisy because there are a lot of moving parts, and some of these parts can develop problems that aren’t apparent until they wear out. One of these is a worn-out O-ring on the pump inlet line – it’s directly connected to the water valve, and acts as a seal to keep water from leaking into your dishwasher during startup. If the O-ring is worn, water will start leaking into your dishwasher during its first few routines, and it will never drain properly.

To diagnose the problem, I suggest you start by checking for leaks under the appliance, and then remove the dishwasher from its installation to see if something is obstructing the inlet hose. If nothing is found there, you’ll need to take out more parts of your dishwasher until you find the problem – a messy job but one which almost always solves this issue.

Don’t forget to call a qualified technician if you’re not sure how this could happen. A dishwasher is a very complex piece of equipment, and it’s easy to overlook something that you would not expect to happen until it’s too late. Also, the plumbing in your home can be very complicated, and if there is a blockage somewhere, it might not be immediately evident.

Another question from Tina:

I’ve been having problems with my dishwasher not draining. I’ve run it many times and tried different cycles. I’ve even taken it apart and reassembled it, but nothing has worked so far. I have a Whirlpool Gold Quiet Partner II (model GU2500XTLQ1). Could you tell me what part might be causing this issue? Is this a common problem?



Yes, it is a fairly common problem. A lot of people have this issue from time to time, and we’d love to help you out! Part of the difficulty is that there is no short answer: your dishwasher almost certainly has a variety of problems on top of this issue.

We’ll start by helping you understand how the unit works. There are several parts that make up a dishwasher: an electric motor, the heating element which they’re in (and also the spray arms), and various pipes and hoses leading to it and away from it. These parts are connected together to allow the dishwasher to move the water around, heat it up, and spray it onto your dishes.

So I think we can agree that there is a part of your dishwasher that is not draining properly. Since you’ve already replaced the drain hose, it could be any number of other parts. The first item I’d suggest trying (after checking for loading issues) would be taking a look at your water inlet valve.

This is the part that allows water into the dishwasher during its cycle – if it’s not working or defective in some way, the pump won’t be able to complete its job properly. Taking the bottom panel off of your dishwasher will allow you to see this part, and you can also test it by removing the power cord from the dishwasher and touching the two terminals on either side of the inlet valve. If water comes rushing out of it, it’s working properly – but if not, we’ll need to replace it.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to start dismantling your dishwasher further until you find an obstruction or other problem – this is a fairly common issue with a lot of different causes. Removing parts of your appliance is something that not everyone should try on their own – check with a repair technician in your area for help if necessary.

Also, don’t forget to call your local plumber to help you out with this. You might be in a situation where there is a blockage somewhere between your dishwasher and your plumbing, and only a professional plumber will be able to help with that. There are also some related issues which you should know about – for example, what happens if your dishwasher drain isn’t clogged, but it’s still not working? If you happen to live in the Daly City, CA area then give us at Plumbers in Daly City a call right away and we will come over and help you figure out what is wrong with it.