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How Do I Know if a Dishwasher Drain Pump Is Bad

Washing Machine Drain Clean

Have you ever loaded up your dishwasher only to find that it’s not cleaning your dishes as expected? Or perhaps you’ve observed that it’s taking longer than usual for the dishwasher to complete a cycle.

Sometimes, it can even be that the machine is leaking. All these and many others can indicate that your dishwasher drain pump is faulty.

The drain pump is an essential part of your dishwasher, with the sole responsibility of moving the dirty water produced while draining out of the dishwasher.

Without a functioning drain pump, your dishwasher can become blocked and may not clean your dishes well. Moreover, a damaged drain pump can cause the machine to be damaged.


If you think the drain pump of your dishwasher is faulty, check out for these signs:

  • Water leak
  • Error code display
  • Abnormal/odd sound
  • Inability to drain effectively

If you encounter any of these problems, then it’s most probable that the drain pump is at fault.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the signs that your drain pump may be bad, and then we’ll discuss how to detect the issue and the steps you can take to fix it.

A faulty drain pump can cause problems with your dishwasher, but you can take steps to fix the issue. Keep reading to learn more.

5 Common Signs That Your Dishwasher Drain Pump Is Bad

If you’re having a bad experience with your dishwasher, it’s essential to pay attention to the signs and symptoms that something may need to be fixed.

If your dishwasher drain pump is faulty, various problems can arise with your dishwasher, from not draining properly to making strange noises or vibrating excessively.

In this section, we’ll explore the five common symptoms of a bad drain pump and how to identify them:

1. Water Leak From Your Dishwasher

Close-Up Of Spilled Water On Kitchen Floor At Home

One of the most common signs of a bad drain pump is that the dishwasher is water leakage.

If you observe water pooling around the dishwasher or dripping from the bottom of the unit, you must check the drain pump for any signs of damage or malfunction.

A faulty drain pump can cause leaks that can damage the dishwasher and hence, causes water damage to your home.

2. Error Code Display

Dishwasher Control Panel

A bad drain pump can cause the dishwasher to start displaying error codes. A bad drain can either stop your dishwasher from working or cause it to display an error code, depending on the type of your dishwasher.

If you see error codes on your dishwasher or it’s not starting work when you turn it on, that could signal that the drain pump has gone bad.

3. Inability To Drain Effectively

Metal Clamp For Connection Of Dishwasher Drain Hose Under Kitchen Sink Close Up

In normal conditions, a dishwasher must drain out used water as waste after it finishes washing, with the help of the drain pump.

However, if your dishwater does not pump out water during the drain time, it can cause the machine can become overloaded and likely cause water damage to your home.

If you notice that your dishwasher is not draining properly, we advise that you check the drain pump for any signs of damage or fault.

4. Odd Sound From the Dishwasher

Kitchen Detail Of Dish Washer Appliance With Open Door To Reveal Racks And A Few Dishes

Another common sign of a bad drain pump is that your dishwasher produces unusual sounds or vibrates excessively while working.

A bad drain pump can cause the dishwasher to make strange sounds or vibrate more than it usually does. That is because a component of the machine is not in a good state, making it struggle to function well.

Your dishwasher making an abnormal sound or shaking excessively may indicate a problem with the drain pump.


Paying attention to the explained common symptoms and fixing any issues as soon as possible can help prevent further damage to your dishwasher and home.

If you ignore these issues, they may lead to more serious problems and costly repairs or replacements as time goes on.

Identifying and fixing any problems with the drain pump early on can help ensure that your dishwasher is functioning properly and efficiently.

Ignoring these issues can lead to more serious problems as time progresses and may require costly repairs or replacements.

Address any issues with the drain pump promptly to keep your dishwasher running smoothly and avoid problems in the future.

How To Diagnose the Problem

Handyman Repair Dishwasher In The Kitchen

You’ve noticed that your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes as well as it used to, and you suspect that there may be an issue with the drain pump, follow these steps to diagnose the problem:

  1. Look out for any visible damage: The first step you should take in diagnosing the problem is to check for any visible damage on the drain pump. If the pump is broken or has a large crack down the middle, you will likely need to change it.
  2. Check out for any blockage: Another potential cause of drain pump issues is a blockage in the drain pump. To check for any blockages, locate the drain pump and then check if there is any obstruction. If you find a blockage, remove it with a plunger or another tool. If the blockage is too difficult to remove or the drain hose is damaged, you’ll need to replace it.
  3. Test with a multimeter: If you can’t find any visible damage, use a tool like a multimeter to test the drain pump for continuity. A multimeter is simply an instrument we use to measure the flow of electric current. To use it on the drain pump, you’ll have to connect it to the terminals on the drain pump. If the multimeter reveals no continuity, it’s a strong sign that the drain pump is bad and needs to be changed.
  4. Check for any other malfunctioning part: In some cases, the bad drain pump might be caused by other malfunctioning parts in the dishwasher. Checking these components on your own might be risky if you do not possess the technical knowledge. In this case, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek the help of a professional.

You need to accurately diagnose the problem before attempting to repair or replace any part of the machine.

When you follow the outlined steps and are also mindful of the potential symptoms and causes of a bad drain pump, you can take the necessary action to fix the issue.

How To Fix Bad Drain Pump

Installation Hoses For Washers Domestic Connection Plumbing Pipes

Once you’ve accurately diagnosed the issue with your dishwasher’s drain pump, the next step is to decide whether to repair or replace the pump.

In some cases, a repair may be sufficient to fix the fault, but in others, you may need to replace the drain hose (this is more cost-effective). There are a few factors to consider when making this decision; some of them are:

  • Degree of damage: If the drain pump is only slightly damaged or is experiencing a minor issue, a repair may be sufficient to fix the problem. However, if the damage is critical or the drain pump is experiencing multiple issues, you may need to spend more money to replace it.
  • Age of your dishwasher: If you just got a new dishwasher recently and the drain pump is still under warranty, you might not spend much to have it repaired by the manufacturer. However, if your dishwasher is older or in a poor state and its drain pump is no longer covered by a warranty, replacing it may be more cost-effective.
  • Cost of replacement or repair: In some cases, repairing a faulty drain pump may be almost the same as replacing it. In these cases, you’ll need to consider the dishwasher’s age and the damage’s degree to know which option is more cost-effective.

To repair the drain pump, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the work is done correctly.

Depending on the level of the damage, a repair may involve replacing a small component of the drain pump or performing a more extensive repair.

00You must follow the proper steps and use the correct tools to avoid causing further damage to the dishwasher.

However, if the drain pump is beyond repair or you are uncomfortable with repairing it, you’ll need to replace it.

Replacing the drain pump is a more involved process and will require you to purchase a new pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Note that some dishwasher models may require special tools or equipment for the replacement process, so check the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding.

Common issues that may require repair include loose or damaged electrical connections, worn-out seals or gaskets, or debris stuck in the pump.


Before you attempt to repair the drain pump of your dishwasher, make sure you turn off the machine and disconnect the power supply.

Also, be very careful when handling it to avoid other damages. Also, remember always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions strictly.

You can avoid costly repairs or replacements and enjoy the efficiency of a fully working appliance by keeping your dishwasher in good working order and regularly maintaining it.

Repairing the drain pump is not enough. If you do not maintain it properly, it’ll reencounter the same issue.

How can you maintain or keep the new or repaired pump drain from future faults? That’s what we’ll be explaining in the last section.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips

Man Cleans The Filter In The Dishwasher

While it’s not always possible to prevent issues with your dishwasher’s drain pump, you can take a few steps to reduce the risk of problems. Here are a few tips for preventing drain pump issues:

  • Use the appropriate type and amount of detergent: If you use the wrong or too much detergent, your dishwasher drain pump can develop an issue. Consult the manufacturer for a good recommendation.
  • Keep the dishwasher clean regularly: You can help prevent any issues with the drain pump and other appliance components by regularly cleaning the machine, especially after use. This can involve wiping down the dishwasher’s interior, cleaning the filters, and removing any food or debris that may have accumulated in the dishwasher.
  • Do not overload the dishwasher: Overloading the dishwasher can strain the drain pump and lead to issues. Avoid cramming too many dishes or pots and pans into the dishwasher. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for load size and arrangement to avoid overloading the dishwasher.
  • Use a rinse aid: A rinse aid can help prevent issues with the drain pump and other dishwasher parts. Rinse aids can help remove food and debris from the dishwasher and prevent it from accumulating and causing problems.
  • Inspect the drain pump regularly: It’s always a great idea to regularly inspect the drain pump and other components of the dishwasher for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any issues, address them immediately to prevent further problems.

If you can follow these tips, you can help ensure that your dishwasher will work adequately and efficiently.

Not only will this help prevent costly repairs or replacements in the future, but it will also help you get the most out of your appliance and save time and energy on dishwashing.


The drain pump is an essential component of a dishwasher, responsible for pumping out water during the drain cycle.

If the drain pump becomes bad, it can cause many issues like poor cleaning performance, water leaks, and inability to start or work properly.

To identify and fix these issues, you need to pay attention to the common symptoms of a bad drain pump, accurately diagnose the problem, and decide whether how to fix the bad pump.

When you follow these steps and maintain the drain pump issues through regular cleaning, proper loading, and using the correct detergent and rinse aid, be assured that your dishwasher will work smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does a Bad Dishwasher Sound?

A bad dishwasher can make different sounds depending on the type of fault. The sound can be:

  • A knocking sound- if the drain pump is not accurately aligned or secured.
  • A buzzing sound- if the drain pump is struggling to function properly. In many cases, this sound is caused by a clog in the drain hose or a faulty control panel.
  • A grinding sound- when the drain pump is worn out.

If your dishwasher sounds like any of these, check the drain pump for any visible damage and take the necessary steps to fix the problem. Also, don’t hesitate to consult a professional if you need to.

What Are the Most Common Problems With a Dishwasher?

Some of the common problems your dishwasher can encounter include the following:

  • Wear and tear on the drain pump: The drain pump is a vital component of the dishwasher. As it ages, it can become damaged or worn, leading to issues with the drainage and overall function of the dishwasher.
  • Blockages in the drain pump: If it becomes clogged or blocked, it can prevent proper drainage and cause problems with the dishwasher.
  • The offensive smell even when clean.
  • Anormal sound
  • Water leak

Can I Repair a Bad Dishwasher Drain Pump Myself?

It’s generally best to seek a professional’s help when repairing your bad dishwasher drain pump, as the process can be complex and require technical knowledge or special tools.

However, if you feel comfortable fixing the issue yourself, you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have the necessary tools and parts on hand.

Always remember that if you repair the drain pump improperly, you could cause further issues, which may require costly repairs or replacements. Always contact a professional if you’re not confident in repairing the drain pump.

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