What Is a Dishwasher Pump?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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A dishwasher pump is used to remove the wash and rinse water from the dishwasher, forwarding it into the septic system. On built-in models, this component expels the waste water into the sink drain below the sink unit. On portable dishwasher units, the dishwasher pump pushes the waste water out of the machine through a long dual hose unit that also encases the water fill line. The waste water is emptied into the kitchen sink and is taken to the sewer system through the sink drain plumbing. In most models, the pump also powers the spraying action of the dishwasher's wash and rinse cycles.

A dishwasher is considered by many a handy device for cleaning everything from drinking glasses and silverware to plates, bowls and pans. In order to accomplish this task, the unit must take water from the home's plumbing system and propel it through the unit at high pressure to remove the dirt from the dishes. The unit relies on the dishwasher pump to pump the water through an impeller and force it out through the unit's spray arms. Once the dishes have been washed and rinsed, the dishwasher pump forces all of the dirty water out of the washer and into the plumbing system, which is typically located under the sink.


The pump unit is protected from potential damage from food particles and debris through the placement of a small screened cover at the water inlet side of the pump. Occasionally, this screen will become plugged with trapped debris and will cause the pump to fail in the task of emptying water from the unit. If the pump is not removing the water and the screen does not appear to be plugged, the pump is most likely damaged. Replacement pumps can often be obtained through the store the washer was purchased from, and some of the larger box stores also supply replacement pumps and repair kits.

Commonly, a dishwasher pump will begin to demonstrate a problem through poor cleaning and/or delayed emptying of wash water. In some instances, the cost of a replacement dishwasher pump will be very near to the cost of a new dishwasher. Many installation experts offer free installation when a replacement pump is purchased through their parts department. This is why it pays to shop around when planning a pump replacement. In some circumstances, a store may give a fair credit for a trade-in of a disabled dishwasher when a new unit is being purchased.


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