Drain that Dishwasher!
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Do home inspectors check out and test appliances? Short answer is yes; the long answer is, yes with limitations. I will save that for another time, since this is specifically about a common issue I find with dishwashers. Since the presence of a dishwasher is pretty important to many buyers, it is one appliance that I inspect a bit closer than any other appliance.
Since the wash cycle of a dishwasher can take some time, one of the first things I do when I enter the home to begin your inspection is check the dishwasher for proper connections, make sure it's empty, then start up a wash cycle. Although I cannot judge how well it works, I do verify that it does work and drains properly. And whether it's an older unit that's been there for many years, or it's brand new and has just recently been installed, there is one common installation error that I find in many homes: the absence of a drain loop. The above picture is pretty typical of an improper or incomplete installation, the red arrows pointing out the dishwasher drain line. Notice how it comes in low from the dishwasher at the right, and gradually slopes up to its connection at the disposal?
Drain Loops 101
A drain loop (also referred to as a high loop) is required and needed in the dishwasher drain line. The diagram to the left illustrates how it should look. The drain line needs to be elevated and attached near the bottom of the counter top before it is attached to the drain line (or garbage disposal, as shown in the illustration). Something as simple as a zip tie can be used to accomplish this. If it is connected and drains directly to the drain line, as opposed to the disposal, it should be attached before the p-trap to keep sewer gases from entering the home through this drain line.
Why? You May Ask
The reason behind this high loop is to keep any drain water from entering into the dishwasher drain line, and ultimately into the dishwasher. If there is any waste that finds its way into the hose, it can eventually cause clogs, which can be problematic when you run the next load of dishes, resulting in backed up water and/or leaks from the dishwasher into the kitchen floor. Time to get the mop out!
Go check out that drain line, and make sure you have a high loop. If not, it is a relatively easy fix. A simple hook attached to the bottom of the cabinet counter gives you a perfect place to attach it. And once that's done, it's one less thing to worry about. And while you're at it, maybe clear out some of those unused cleaning supplies or travel mugs you never use that are stored beneath the sink!
And when you're ready to buy or sell, make sure to give me a call. I can help you prepare your home for the market, or give your new home a top to bottom inspection.
Call Dream Home Inspections VA for your dream home inspection.