Why Does Water Keep Backing Up Into Your Dishwasher?

Dishwashers are only supposed to be full of water when they're in use, and otherwise are to remain bone-dry so as to keep your dishes safe and sanitary. Unfortunately, if your dishwasher is filling with water at other times, this likely means that there's a problem going on with your plumbing. Here's what you need to know about this problem.

How It's Happening

When dishwashers fill up with water on their own — unless there's a noticeable leak — it's not coming out from the same spray arms that rinse everything with water when your dishwasher is running. Unfortunately, this water is coming up from the drain of your dishwasher. This is a serious problem for the health of your family, and something that should be taken care of as soon as possible.

The water that's emerging in your dishwasher is likely coming from a large appliance or a sink nearby. Appliances like these often share plumbing, and water with a great deal of pressure behind it can end up emerging from your dishwasher instead of making it out to the sewer line.


The only reason this is happening is that there's a blockage somewhere in your plumbing. Under normal circumstances, water with a large amount of pressure behind it (like a washing machine draining) should go straight down the exit pipe and lead to the sewer line and away from your house. If it's not all going there, that means that something is in the way that's preventing high-pressured water from getting out. Smaller streams of water that can slowly drain out past the blockage won't cause this same problem, which is why it's unlikely that you have water backing up in your dishwasher every time you wash your hands, for example.

What to Do

Unfortunately, blockages like this are usually deep down in the pipes and are sometimes completely inaccessible to homeowners. Simply using a drain cleaner won't cut it here. In times like these, you need to rely upon a plumber for help.

Your plumber will be able to inspect the line with a small camera, guiding it through the pipes until they find the blockage. Once it's discovered, they'll be able to determine what's caught in the pipe, or if there's another problem like a pipe has broken and shifted. The cause of the blockage will ultimately decide what kind of solution your plumber can offer you, but rest assured that by the time they're done, the blockage will be gone and your dishwasher will be safe to use again.

For more information, contact a local plumber.