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7 Steps to Fix a Samsung Dishwasher Not Draining

One of the more common problems experienced with Samsung dishwashers is that the dishwasher will not drain. This issue is usually caused by food particles clogging the filter, drain hose, or pump assembly. However, a faulty drain pump, solenoid valve, or check valve (flapper) may also cause the issue. If your Samsung dishwasher is not draining, follow these steps to identify and fix the issue. Remember to disconnect the power and turn off the water supply to the dishwasher before performing most of these repairs.

Error Codes

The following error codes indicate a draining issue with a Samsung dishwasher: 5C, 5E, OE, and OC. A combination of blinking lights, such as the Heavy and Auto or Heavy and Quick buttons, also indicate a drainage issue. Check Samsung blinking lights error codes for other combinations relevant to your model.

1. Check That the Dishwasher Is Causing the Issue

  • Run water in the sink that the dishwasher is connected to, and make sure that it drains.
  • If the dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, make sure the disposal is not clogged. If the dishwasher has been recently installed, make sure the garbage disposal knockout plug in the garbage disposal’s drain tube has been removed.

2. Check the Dishwasher’s Connection to the Sink

Dishwashers require the drain hose to be connected to either an air gap or for the drain hose to have 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, which eliminates the negative pressure that can cause the discharged wastewater to return to the dishwasher. The “high loop” method works by looping the drain hose 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.

3. Clean the Filter, Drain Hose, Sump, and Tub

Depending on your model, you may have a removable filter in your Samsung dishwasher. Removing the filter may also allow you to clear the drain pump of any debris that may be clogging it. Check the dishwasher’s manual for filter removal instructions.

If your model has a filter assembly or pump cover with screws you can remove to access it, removing the screws and cleaning the filter and pump assembly may resolve the drainage issue. If the filter or pump cover is damaged, it should be replaced to avoid damage to the pump and motor seals. For safety, disconnect the power and water to the dishwasher before accessing the filter and pump assembly.

If the dishwasher is not draining due to a blockage, using a dishwasher cleaning product, or alternatively, white vinegar, will break down food particles and minerals that have built up and may be preventing the dishwasher from draining. If using white vinegar, pour 1-2 cups into a dishwasher-safe bowl, and place it on the top dish rack. Next, close the door and run a normal cycle.

4. Check for a Blocked or Kinked Drain Hose

A blocked or kinked drain hose may be stopping the dishwasher from draining. First, check that the drain hose is not kinked, perhaps because of how the dishwasher was installed. Next, run a cleaning solution through the dishwasher, as described in step 3. If the issue remains, the drain hose should be disconnected from underneath the sink and checked for blockages.

Once the hose is disconnected, put the end of the hose into a large bucket and run a short cycle. This may cause the blockage to blow out into the bucket or demonstrate that the pump is not working. Make sure you are prepared to turn the dishwasher off or have another bucket handy to collect the discharged water from the dishwasher.

To check where the drain hose connects to the pump and possibly remove and clean it, the bottom front kick plate or access panel underneath the dishwasher will need to be removed.

5. Check the Drain Pump

If the above solutions have failed to fix the issue, the dishwasher’s drain pump should be checked for faults. 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. An impeller that cannot be easily rotated indicates that the pump is defective. Make sure there is nothing stuck in the impeller that is causing it to malfunction.

The drain pump can be checked for continuity with a multimeter to determine if it has failed electrically. If the pump fails a continuity test, it will need to be replaced. When testing for resistance, most working drain pumps should show a reading of around 200 ohms.

Depending on the model, the drain pump can be accessed by either removing the bottom front kick plate or by putting the dishwasher on its back and unscrewing the access panel underneath the dishwasher.

6. Check the Solenoid Valve

Depending on the model, the dishwasher may 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 bottom front kick plate or bottom access panel.

7. Check the Check Valve (Flapper)

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.

The check valve is located on the outlet port of the drain pump or pump housing. You will need to remove the bottom access panel or kick plate to inspect it. Check that the flapper can move freely and that there are no signs of wear or damage.

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