Fixing Your KitchenAid Dishwasher Drain Pump Not Working

May 23, 2024

Fixing Your KitchenAid Dishwasher Drain Pump Not Working | KitchenAid Appliance Repair Professionals

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Your KitchenAid dishwasher is an essential appliance in your kitchen, making daily chores easier and more convenient. However, if you encounter a problem where your KitchenAid dishwasher drain pump is not working, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. The good news is that you can easily troubleshoot and fix the issue yourself, without the need to call an appliance technician.

In this blog, we will guide you through the process of diagnosing and fixing your KitchenAid dishwasher drain pump not working. We will cover everything from understanding how the drain pump motor functions to common symptoms of a malfunctioning drain pump. We will also provide you with a step-by-step guide to troubleshooting the issue and offer some DIY fixes that you can try before calling for professional help, including installing a new pump if necessary.

By following the troubleshooting steps and DIY fixes outlined in this blog, you can save time and money while getting your KitchenAid dishwasher back to its optimal performance. Let’s dive in and learn how to fix your KitchenAid dishwasher drain pump not working.

Understanding Your KitchenAid Dishwasher’s Drain Pump

The drain pump plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of your KitchenAid dishwasher. It is responsible for pumping out the wastewater from the dishwasher during the drainage cycle. The drain pump is typically located at the bottom of the dishwasher and is powered by a pump motor.

When the dishwasher goes through the drainage cycle, the pump motor activates, creating suction that pulls the wastewater out of the dishwasher and into the drain hose. The drain pump essentially acts as a pump and propels the wastewater towards the sink or the garbage disposal.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how the drain pump works, let’s move on to understanding how it functions in your KitchenAid dishwasher.

Common Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Drain Pump

A malfunctioning drain pump in your KitchenAid dishwasher can manifest itself in various ways. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Dishwasher partially draining (possibly making strange noise)
  • Dishwasher not draining at all

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is likely that there is an issue with the drain pump or the components associated with it. Additionally, your dishwasher may display an error code related to the drainage issue.

It’s important to address these symptoms promptly to avoid further damage to your dishwasher and ensure its proper functioning. In the next section, we will discuss some initial checks you can perform before troubleshooting the drain pump issue.

Initial Checks Before Troubleshooting

Before troubleshooting the drain pump issue, perform some initial checks to rule out simple causes. Check the power supply and control board for errors. Refer to your user manual for correct operating procedures.

Ensuring Power Supply and Settings Are Correct

To ensure that your KitchenAid dishwasher is receiving the proper power supply, start by checking the power cord and making sure it is securely plugged into an outlet. If the dishwasher is hardwired, check the breaker to ensure it hasn’t tripped.

Next, inspect the control board for any error codes or indicators of a problem. Many modern dishwashers have built-in diagnostics that can display error codes to help troubleshoot issues. If you see any error codes, refer to your user manual or the manufacturer’s website for guidance on what the code means and how to address it.

Additionally, double-check the dishwasher’s settings to ensure that they are properly configured. Make sure the dishwasher is set to the appropriate cycle, and that any additional options (such as delayed start or heated dry) are selected according to your preferences.

Pre-Checklist: What to Look for in a Glance

Before diving into the troubleshooting process, there are a few things you can quickly check to rule out simple causes of the drainage issue. Here’s a pre-checklist to help you get started:

  • Check the float switch: The float switch is a small device located at the bottom of the dishwasher tub. It controls the water level and can sometimes get stuck, preventing proper drainage. Make sure the float switch moves freely.
  • Check the garbage disposal: If your dishwasher drain hose is connected to a garbage disposal, check if it is clear of any blockages. Sometimes, food particles or debris can clog the disposal, leading to drainage issues.
  • Check the air gap: The air gap is a small device located on the top of the sink or countertop, near the dishwasher. It prevents backflow of wastewater into the dishwasher. Ensure that the air gap is clean and free of any blockages.

By performing these quick checks, you can rule out any simple causes of the drainage issue before moving on to more in-depth troubleshooting steps. Let’s now proceed with the step-by-step guide to diagnosing the issue.

Step-by-Step Guide to Diagnosing the Issue

To diagnose the issue with your KitchenAid dishwasher’s drain pump, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Check the filter for blockages: Start by accessing the dishwasher’s filter and cleaning it out. A clogged filter can impede proper drainage.
  2. Inspect the drain hose for kinks or clogs: Examine the drain hose for any kinks or clogs that may be obstructing the flow of water. Straighten out any kinks and remove any debris or blockages.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can identify and address any issues with the drain pump in your KitchenAid dishwasher. Let’s now go into more detail about each of these steps.

Common Causes of Drain Pump Failure

Understanding the common causes of drain pump failure in your KitchenAid dishwasher can help you troubleshoot and address the issue effectively. Here are two common causes to be aware of:

  • Foreign objects blocking the sump area: The sump area is located at the bottom of the dishwasher tub and can sometimes get clogged with food particles or other debris. This can obstruct the flow of water and cause the drain pump to fail.
  • Failure of the check valve: The check valve is designed to prevent water from flowing back into the dishwasher after draining. If the check valve fails, it can impede proper drainage.

By being aware of these common causes, you can focus your troubleshooting efforts and address the specific issue affecting your KitchenAid dishwasher’s drain pump. Let’s now discuss each cause in more detail.

DIY Fixes for Your Dishwasher’s Drain Pump

If you are a handy DIY enthusiast, there are several fixes you can try to address the drain pump issue in your KitchenAid dishwasher. Here are some DIY fixes to consider:

  • Clean the filter: As mentioned earlier, a clogged filter can cause drainage problems. Cleaning the filter can improve the dishwasher’s drainage performance.
  • Clean out the sump area: Removing any debris or blockages from the sump area can help restore proper water flow and alleviate the drain pump issue.
  • Check the garbage disposal: If your dishwasher drain hose is connected to a garbage disposal, make sure it is clear of any blockages. Also, check if the knockout plug has been removed if the dishwasher or garbage disposal was recently installed.

By trying these DIY fixes, you may be able to resolve the drain pump issue in your KitchenAid dishwasher without the need for professional assistance. However, if the issue persists, it may be time to call an appliance technician for further diagnosis and repair.

When to Call a Professional

While many drainage issues with KitchenAid dishwashers can be resolved with DIY troubleshooting and basic fixes, there are instances where it’s best to call a professional for repair like KitchenAid Appliance Repair Professionals.

If you have attempted the recommended cleaning methods and the dishwasher is still not draining properly, it may indicate a more complex issue that requires professional diagnosis. Additionally, if you are uncomfortable with disassembling your dishwasher or working with electrical components, it’s best to leave the repair to a qualified appliance technician.

By opting for professional KitchenAid dishwasher repairs, you can ensure that the correct problem is identified and fixed, reducing the risk of further damage to your appliance and ensuring optimal performance.

Preventative Maintenance to Avoid Future Issues

Preventative maintenance is key to avoiding future drainage issues with your KitchenAid dishwasher. By following a few simple maintenance tips, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly and minimize the risk of clogs and blockages.

Regularly clean the filter and sump area, as discussed earlier, to remove any food particles or debris. Additionally, check the drain hose for any kinks or blockages, and ensure it is installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

In addition, regularly clean the dishwasher’s interior and exterior surfaces to prevent buildup and maintain optimal performance. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or materials that could damage the dishwasher.

By incorporating these preventative maintenance practices into your routine, you can help prolong the lifespan of your KitchenAid dishwasher and avoid future drainage issues.

Recognizing When Parts Need Replacement

Your KitchenAid dishwasher may require parts replacement over time to ensure peak performance. Look out for signs such as strange noises, leaks, or persistent drainage problems, which could indicate issues with components like the drain pump, check valve, or electronic control board. If these problems persist despite cleaning and basic troubleshooting, consider replacing the faulty parts, including the end of the drain hose. Refer to your user manual or seek advice from an appliance technician for the right replacements for your model.


In conclusion, maintaining your KitchenAid dishwasher’s drain pump is crucial for its optimal functionality. Regularly checking for blockages and ensuring proper cleaning can prevent common issues. If DIY fixes don’t resolve the problem, seeking professional help is advisable. Remember, preventative maintenance and timely KitchenAid dishwasher repairs can prolong the life of your dishwasher. For more in-depth troubleshooting tips and information, check our comprehensive guide: DIY Solutions: KitchenAid Dishwasher Repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a dishwasher work without a functioning drain pump?

No, a dishwasher cannot effectively drain without a functioning drain pump. The drain pump is responsible for removing wastewater from the dishwasher during the drain cycle. If the drain pump is not working, the dishwasher will not be able to properly drain the water.

How often should I clean the dishwasher filter?

It is recommended to clean the dishwasher filter at least once a month to prevent clogs and ensure proper drainage. However, the frequency may vary depending on the usage and the amount of food particles or debris present in the dishwasher. Regular cleaning of the filter will help maintain optimal performance.

What are the signs of a failing dishwasher drain pump?

Signs of a failing dishwasher drain pump include unusual noises during operation, the dishwasher not draining or draining slowly, and leaks around the pump area. If you suspect a failing drain pump, it’s best to consult a professional appliance technician for diagnosis and repair.

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