If you entertain often, you really come to appreciate your dishwasher—and how unpleasant it is to be without it. Believe it or not, though, almost three quarters of a century elapsed between the time the dishwasher was invented and the time when most households owned a dishwasher.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the first “useful” dishwasher was invented by Josephine Garis Cochran (1839-1913), “a wealthy woman who entertained often” and “wanted a machine that could wash dishes faster than her servants, and without breaking them.”
When Cochran learned that such a machine did not yet exist, she built one herself—and received a patent from the USPTO in December 1886.
But her invention was anything but an instant hit.
“She showed the dishwasher at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, but only restaurants and hotels showed interest in it,” notes the USPTO. This explains why her first customers weren’t homeowners or housewives, but prominent hotels in Chicago like the Palmer House and Sherman House. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the vast majority of American households owned a dishwasher.
Fast forward to today and most families are loath to go without one, and when you run your dishwasher only to find that your dishes aren’t clean—or that there is standing water in the bottom—it’s not only a disappointment, it’s an indication that there is a problem with your plumbing.
5 Signs that Your Dishwasher Has a Clog
- Dirty dishes. If you run your dishwasher and your dishes and glasses are still dirty when you open the door, it’s possible the appliance didn’t fill with water, likely because of a clog in the main or secondary kitchen line.
- Standing water. If you run your unit and you find standing water in the bottom of your dishwasher after the cycle is complete your appliance is probably not draining properly. Oftentimes this is because leftover food has clogged the drainage system. You may want to try inspecting and cleaning easily accessible areas like the drain basket, but more often than not, there will be a clog in your drains.
- Gurgling sounds. If you hear unusual gurgling sounds—or ominous shaking, humming or thumping sounds—while your dishwasher is running, it could be indicative of water trying to break through a clog in your main sewer line or secondary line. A professional plumber can identify the location of the clog and fix the problem.
- Water backing up into your kitchen sink. The dishwasher connects to the kitchen sink’s drainage system so if water is backing up into the kitchen sink while your dishwasher is running, it’s possible there’s a clog. Run the garbage disposal while the dishwasher is off, as it’s possible that food is stuck in the sink, in which case the dishwasher may not be implicated at all.
- Slow-flowing drain. If it appears that your dishwasher (or kitchen sink) is draining slowly, there might be a partial clog in your kitchen sewer line. You’ll want to call for professional help as soon as possible, because that near-clog is likely to lead to a fully clogged dishwasher and kitchen sink—and potentially more costly repairs.
At Jewell Mechanical, our licensed and bonded plumbers are available to clear your clogged drains and pipes. We also provide both routine plumbing repairs and emergency service. Contact us online or call us at (615) 469-5965.
We also offer a Plumbing Maintenance Agreement—the plumbing version of our HVAC Maintenance Agreement—for additional peace of mind. Jewell Mechanical provides residential and commercial plumbing services to Davidson County and most of the rest of Middle Tennessee.