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Kenmore Dishwasher Draining Problem

Dishwashers have the amazing ability to make all our food and beverage scraps disappear from our dishes. However, if your Kenmore dishwasher has a draining problem, you may have had the unfortunate experience of seeing all the dirty water and debris come back into the tub. This article details why your dishwasher drain may not be working so that you can once again rely on it to drain that dirty water away.

A Kenmore dishwasher may not drain if the drain pipe is blocked or damaged, the pump/motor is broken or the electronic controls have failed. It will continually drain if the drain pipe does not have a high loop or if there is a leak in the dishwasher. A faulty circuit board may also cause problems.

Top view of dishwasher repairman

I will explain these issues in more detail below, as well as how you might be able to identify them. I have also included why drainage issues may also cause the dishwasher to leak or produce a burning smell

Kenmore Dishwasher Draining Problem

If your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining properly, you have one of two problems. Either your dishwasher is not draining or it is draining when it should be retaining the water. Both of these issues have been discussed in detail further down.

As a quick summary, below are the reasons why your dishwashing continues to drain, even when it shouldn’t.

· No loop in the drain pipe is causing water to be siphoned out

· A leak is making the dishwashing think it needs to drain

On the contrary, if your dishwasher is not draining, it may be due to one of the following reasons.

· Blocked drain pipe or valve

· Broken motor or pump

· Damaged drain pipe or valve

· Broken solenoid component

Your dishwasher may also have a control failure. You may have damage to the main circuit board or to one of the smaller electronic controls. This could cause it to keep draining or not drain at all, depending on which part of the electronics is not working.

For example, the valve at the beginning of the drain pipe may be controlled by a nearby solenoid. If this solenoid is broken, the signals from the circuit board will not directly open the drainage valve and the dishwasher will not be able to drain. If the main circuit board is broken, you will most likely notice other issues with your dishwasher.


A Kenmore dishwasher making a loud noise might have a hard object, like a bone or piece of glass, caught in the chopper blade area. The noise occurs as the object hits the blades during the dishwasher’s operation. To fix this, turn off and unplug the dishwasher, remove the bottom rack and spray arm, and inspect the chopper blade area. Carefully remove any debris you find to eliminate the noise.

Kenmore Dishwasher Keeps Draining

Profile view of dishwasher repairman

If you notice that your dishwasher is filling, but immediately draining before running through its cycle, then the water is escaping prematurely. This results in dirty dishes at the end of the cycle.

One thing to check is that your dishwasher was installed correctly. All dishwashers must have a high loop or air gap in the drainage pipe, which is normally designed to prevent backflow of water and sewerage smells into your dishwasher.

If your drain pipe does not have an air gap and is not looped higher than its attachment into the sink drain, water could be siphoned out of the dishwasher. This will appear as though your dishwasher is continually draining when it shouldn’t be. You should find this section of the drainage pipe under your sink.

The dishwasher will also continuously drain if there is a leak underneath. If this is the case, you should be able to see water in the cavity under the dishwasher, behind the kick-panel. To find the source of the leak, clean up the water and look for the fresh leak when you turn the dishwasher on for another cycle.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining

Top view of repair man fixing dishwasher and his tool box

If there is too much water in the bottom of your dishwasher after a cycle, there is most likely an issue with the drainage system. Keep in mind that there is usually a small residual amount that should be left in the bottom, which I will explain further down.

The drainage system is made up of a number of different components, which I have listed below. Issues with any one of these parts will prevent proper drainage.

· Pump/motor

· Hose

· Valve (including solenoid)

The easiest thing to check is the drainage hose. Often this hose will become clogged with food. If this is the case, there is no need to replace any parts of the dishwasher because it should work normally once the blockage is removed. You should also check the valve, which can also get blocked with food.

The valve normally retains water inside the dishwasher until opened by the solenoid component when the dishwasher is ready to drain. If you can’t find a blockage, it is likely that the valve or solenoid is broken and requires replacement. A broken solenoid will prevent the valve from opening to allow the dirty water to drain through.

Another possibility is that the pump is broken. The pump powers an impeller, which pushes dirty water through the drain hose for disposal. If the pump or impeller is broken, they will also need to be replaced.

If you have a different brand dishwasher please check out our dishwasher not draining article for other brands.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining Completely

Repairman fixing dishwasher

It is normal for a small amount of water to remain in the bottom of your dishwasher. This helps to prevent seals in the sump housing from drying out and cracking. This residual water collection is usually around one cup or less of water, which will be drained immediately prior to the next cycle.

If there is more water than you would expect, but the dishwasher has drained some of the water, there is most likely a partial blockage in the drain. These are usually the blockages that occur from a build-up of food in the filter, much like water in your sink will partly drain when there is food piled on the drain grate.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining and Leaking

Repairman looking inside dishwasher

If your dishwasher is not draining and also leaking, it is likely that the leak is caused by a blockage. You will need to check all the components of the drainage system mentioned above, including the food filter.

A leak can also be caused by a number of other issues that you should look over. These are outlined below.

· Leaky gasket or pump seal

· Faulty door latch

· Damaged hose or valves

· Issues with the float

· Using the wrong detergent

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on July 7, 2021.

The gasket and pump seal are made from rubber and can easily perish over time. This could look like buckling or dry/cracked sections. Open the dishwasher door to inspect the door gasket or check under the dishwasher, behind the kick-board to find the pump seal.

A faulty door latch will cause issues because the door needs to be closed tightly to engage the seal of the gasket. This, as well as the gasket and pump seal, is a replaceable part that can be ordered through Kenmore.

If your valves, drainage hose or water pipe are cracked, you will be able to feel or see the water dripping from the broken component. Make sure you turn off the electricity prior to touching these pipes because the excess water may have a current running through.

The float is designed to shut the water off once it reaches a particular level. If this is stuck and cannot rise with the water, the dishwasher may be overfilling, causing a leak. This could also be giving the impression that it is not draining properly.

Finally, the dishwasher could leak simply if you are using the wrong detergent. Anything other than dedicated dishwasher detergent/tablets will cause too many suds during the wash cycle. The pressure from these suds will force water and detergent through the door or floor seals.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on July 7, 2021.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining and Burning Smell

Dishwasher under repairs

A burning smell is likely coming from a worn-out motor. If the motor/pump has stopped working, the dishwasher will no longer be able to pump water through the drain as well. This requires a replacement motor.

There is also an element at the bottom of the dishwasher that heats up the water to the desired water temperature for the cycle. If there is anything trapped up against this element, such as food or plastic, it may be melting and creating a burning smell.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on July 7, 2021.

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