Dishwasher Not Draining. Help!

Dishwasher not draining? Perhaps you have a cat in there.

Standing water in the dishwasher is a big problem, and has numerous causes. If you find your dishwasher not draining, try the following.

First of all, make sure that the door is completely closed.

Press the cancel button (sometimes twice, depending on model) to manually drain water left behind because the dishwasher cycle was interrupted (i.e. kids/roommates). The dishwasher will turn off after a couple minutes.

Tips for Dishwasher That Won’t Drain

1. If you have a disposer, run it, because your drain system could be blocked.

2. If you have an air gap, it could be clogged. Consult your particular brand for instructions on how to clear that, but mostly it’s just taking off the chrome cap, unscrewing the plastic cap and cleaning out whatever’s ailing it.

3. Make sure you’ve got drain hose in right dishwasher area codes. The drain hose should be looped to touch the underside of the counter and connect to the sink drain or disposer. The hose should not exceed a foot in length. Also, check for any kinks.

4. If you’re still under water, contact our plumbing department. Your sink drain could be clogged, which prevents your dishwasher from pumping out water.

Dishwasher Troubleshooting: Dishwasher Leaving White Film on Glasses

glasses with white film on them

I’ve been noticing many more glasses coming out of the dishwasher with a white residue on them.

I blame this trend on my roommates’ overzealous dish-rinsing habits rather than my overzealous wine glass-using habits, of course.

But, what does rinsing my plate have to do with my wine glass, Julie?

Everything, Loyal Appliance Blog Reader.

Many of today’s dishwasher detergents contain phosphates, which need food residue to break down. So, if there’s no food residue or grease, the phosphates don’t break down. Instead, they somehow end up on your glassware (disclosure: I’m no chemist, if you haven’t noticed yet.)

As if you need another reason to stop pre-rinsing/washing your dishes.

So, washing my dishes actually causes them to become dirty?

That’s what we call irony, LABR. You’re catching on.

How To Prevent Filmy Glassware

If you find yourself with a rack of filmy glassware, save the labor – and the water (rinsing dishes often uses more water than a dishwasher cycle) – and run a warm vinegar rinse.

Put 2 cups white vinegar in a glass or dishwasher-safe measuring cup on the bottom rack. Then run the dishwasher through a complete washing cycle using an air-dry or an energy-saving dry option. Do not use detergent. The vinegar will mix with the wash water.

Running a vinegar cycle every few months is a good idea, per se.

What are your best dishwasher tips? Share them in the comments below!

What Refrigerator Noises Are Normal?

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not clean

Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?

WRONG.

Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean — especially on the top rack.

You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.

I think these people may have used too much detergent.

Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces  so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.

So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.

How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.

To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:

  • Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
  • Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
  • Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
    • If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
    • If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.

You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.

And I’ve said it again but I will continue to harp on about using rinse aid. It’s not just for looks, people! Maghan reminds us dishwashers today come designed to use rinse aid to help dry, as they lack a built-in fan.

So remember: gorge on turkey, just go easy on the soap, OK?

Photo credit:

Ice Maker Not Working? Try This

Ice makers built into your refrigerator are super handy, but if something on a fridge requires troubleshooting, it’s usually our frosty freezer friend. The good news is you can probably diagnose and treat the most common problems without a service tech.

We’ve compiled some of our most frequently asked questions from about ice makers for you to print, save or bookmark (or frame).

Click on links below to jump to a section or scroll down and read the post in its entirety

How do ice makers work?

Troubleshooting

Still having problems?

How do ice makers work?

Water constantly runs over a freezing plate in your ice maker. Meanwhile, minerals from your water are rejected; this mineral water, if you will, is drained with each ice-making cycle.

When the ice is thick enough, it slides down into a cutter grid that separates the sheet into cubes, which fall into the storage bin. A sensor determines when the bin is full and the ice maker shuts off until more ice is needed.

Key takeaways: The bin isn’t refrigerated so some melting will occur, especially if you take your good, sweet time loading the freezer after a trip to the grocery store. Also, higher temperatures in the freezer mean fewer cubes. So shut that door! Likewise, if you want more ice, dial your freezer to a colder setting, wait for 24 hours and see what happens. Wash, rinse, repeat — ice cubes!

If your freezer is completely cooled, you should get a batch of cubes every three hours. Note: It takes 24 hours for a newly installed ice maker to start making ice and 72 hours for it to swing into full operation. So be patient and remember to be supportive of your new fridge as it reaches its full ice-making potential.

Troubleshooting

Ice makers vary from model to model, but here are the most common issues and how to make them go away.

Ice maker not/barely producing ice

Is the control set to “ON”? It should be.

Is the water supply properly connected and turned on? It should be, also.

A loose drain cap can leave you with thin ice because water will empty from the water pan, so tighten that drain cap!

The drain tube could be clogged from sediment. Shut off the water line, wait, and turn it back on. This should help flush the sediment out. And speaking of the drain tube, make sure there are no kinks in it as they could prevent the flow of that rejected water out.

Make sure the metal arm on your ice maker is DOWN. (Remember: There’s no “on” in UP, but there’s “on” in dOwN.)

My ice cubes are small/hollow

You probably have low water pressure. You need a cold water supply with pressure between 35 and 120 psi to properly operate the ice maker. If you have a water dispenser, you can test the pressure by filling a measuring cup for 5 seconds. If you end up with fewer than 3 ounces (a little more than 1/4 cup), your pressure is likely low.

Do you have a water filter in your fridge? It could be clogged or installed improperly. Remove the filter and see if your water flow improves. If it does, try reinstalling the filter. If that doesn’t work, buy a new filter.

My ice dispenser isn’t working

Is your dispenser locked? It might sound stupid, but that’s probably why you didn’t check it before you checked this. Press and hold the lock button for several seconds to unlock.

Has there been a recent power outage? If power goes out for more than one hour, some models disable the dispenser. Press and hold the reset button to fix this. (Some models beep when they’re finished resetting.)

Check the ice chute for large clumps or cubes that are blocking it (continue below)

My ice cubes clump together

Pull any clumps out out of the dispenser and wipe the area out with a warm, wet cloth and then make sure to give it another once-over with a dry cloth. Ice clumps in the bin could also be your problem, so give the bin a good shake. If the clumps don’t separate, empty it and clean it out. This is also the solution is ice has formed around the auger (that usually-metal spiral thingy in the middle of the bin). Remember: It’ll take 24 hours to the bin to refill.

Ice clumps aren’t always because of melting. Even if freezer temperatures stay well below freezing, water molecules can condense and refreeze back together where the cubes are touching each other. So naturally, clumps can be lessened with more frequent use of the ice dispenser (i.e. don’t ignore it for a week).

Ice cubes can clump because of increased moisture due to a bad dispenser seal or gaps on in the freezer-door gasket (the rubber that seals to the freezer cabinet — try rubbing Vaseline on its face if it’s not sealing.) You’ll know bad seals are the culprit if there’s frost on the cubes. Unwrapped fresh food in the freezer can also be releasing the extra moisture.

Still having problems?

Call us at (651)222-001, option 4. We have a group of real, customer service representatives who answer the phones right here in our St. Paul headquarters/warehouse from 8:30-5:30 Monday through Friday.

Or you can contact the manufacturer directly, if you prefer.

Take some time to leave your own maintenance tips in the comments. What’s gone wrong? What works to fix it and what doesn’t?