Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s What to Do

Fred's Appliance
July 7, 2021
Dishwasher Repair

If your Frigidaire dishwasher cannot drain, you will want to get it fixed quickly. When left, the dirty water begins to smell, and the dirty dishes start piling up. The good news is that the issue can usually be solved by cleaning out the dishwasher filter or unblocking the drain hose. If the issue relates to the pump or solenoid, it can be fixed by following the instructions below; however, it may be easier to contact a trained professional.

Blocked Drain Hose

A blocked drain hose is the most common reason why a dishwasher will not drain. The drain hose often becomes blocked when food particles get stuck in the hose. Other items like glass, labels, or wire ties can also block the drain hose. The drain hose should also be checked to make sure that there is not a kink that is causing the issue.

It is best to disconnect the drain hose from the sink drain pipe and dishwasher. However, it may be possible to clear the hose by detaching the hose from the sink pipe. Once the hose is disconnected, put the end of the hose into a bucket of water and run a short cycle. This may cause the blockage to blow out into the bucket. Make sure you are prepared to turn the dishwasher off or have another bucket handy to collect the discharged water from the dishwasher.

If you need to remove the drain hose from the dishwasher, make sure to put a container down to collect the water that will come out of the dishwasher when you remove the hose. The power and water supply to the dishwasher should also be disconnected. You will then need to remove the dishwasher kickplate or bottom access panel. If you need to pull the dishwasher out, disconnect the twist-on wire connectors or wire nuts and remove any brackets that may be mounting the dishwasher to the kitchen counter.

Defective Drain Pump

Another common cause of a dishwasher not draining is a defective drain pump. To access the drain pump, you will need to follow the instructions above. The drain pump usually becomes defective because of a broken impeller or faulty motor. Pump motors can fail either mechanically or electrically. A mechanical fault is usually caused by a broken impeller. If the impeller is damaged, it will need to be replaced. The drain pump can be checked for continuity with a multimeter to determine if it has failed electrically.  If the motor tests negative for continuity, it will need to be replaced.

Pump Belt

Some older Frigidaire dishwashers may have a belt that drives the pump. If the belt has come off or is slipping, the pump will not be able to drain the water from the dishwasher. The pump belt can be accessed by removing the kickplate or lower access panel and following the drain hose access instructions above.

Blocked Garbage Disposal

One of the most overlooked causes of a dishwasher that will not drain is the knockout plug being left in the garbage disposal’s drain tube. If you have recently installed the garbage disposal, make sure the knockout plug has been removed. The garbage disposal should also be checked for debris that could be causing the drainage issue.

Blocked Glass Trap or Filter

Some Frigidaire dishwashers have a glass trap or filter that may have become blocked with debris. The filter is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher, under the lower spray arm. To access the filter, remove the silverware basket, dishwasher rack, and spray arm. The filter can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a sponge. White vinegar, baking soda, or bleach (only if the filter is not stainless steel) can also be used for a more thorough clean. A damaged filter should be replaced to avoid damage to the pump and motor seals.

Air Gap or High Loop Connection Fault

Dishwashers require either an air gap or a drain hose with a high loop. These features are responsible for preventing the wastewater from the dishwasher from returning to the dishwasher. The air gap is typically a fitting mounted to the sink or kitchen cabinet. It works by sending air into the hose and eliminating the negative pressure that can cause the discharged wastewater to return to the dishwasher. The high loop method works by looping the drain hose up so that it is secured just under the sink.

If the air gap is blocked or the drain hose does not have a high loop, the dishwasher may have trouble draining. The air gap can be inspected and cleaned of debris by removing the cover and cap.

Defective Drain Solenoid Valve

Some Frigidaire dishwasher models have a drain solenoid valve that opens to allow the water to drain. The solenoid can become defective due to abnormally high or low temperatures. If the solenoid fails, the valve will not open, and the dishwasher will not drain. As with the pump motor, the drain solenoid can be tested with a multimeter to determine if it has continuity. If the solenoid is defective, it should be replaced.

The solenoid is usually located by the motor or on the drain pump. It can be accessed by removing the kickplate or lower access panel.

Malfunctioning Check Valve (Flapper) or Ball

A check valve prevents wastewater from returning to the dishwasher once it has been pumped out. If the check valve gets stuck in the closed position, the water will not drain correctly. Cleaning the check valve may solve the issue, but if the problem persists, you should replace it.

On some models, the check valve uses a check ball to prevent water from backing up into the tub. In some cases, the dishwasher may not be draining because the check ball is stuck. If the check ball continues to get stuck in the valve, it should be replaced.

Some dishwasher models will feature a check valve in the drain outlet. Checking that the drain outlet check valve is not stuck may solve the drainage issue.

How to inspect the check valve:

  1. For safety, disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.
  2. Locate the check valve flapper. In most models, it will be found on the outlet port of the drain pump or housing. You will need to remove the lower access panel or kickplate to inspect it.
  3. Check that the flapper can move freely and that there are no signs of wear or damage.
  4. Clean the flapper to ensure it can move freely.
  5. If the check valve is damaged, it should be replaced.
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