A dishwasher that cannot drain is a problem you will want to get fixed quickly. Not only is there a risk of further damage caused by leaking water, but dirty dishes will also start piling up in the sink. Fortunately, this guide is here to help you.
Most of the time, the dishwasher will not be draining because of a defective drain pump. However, before you access the drain pump, check that the drain hose is connected properly and not blocked. The filter and sump should also be checked for debris. If the dishwasher still will not drain, there may be a defective solenoid causing the issue.
Go through the checks below to diagnose and fix the drainage issue in your GE dishwasher.
This guide applies to most GE dishwasher models, including the following:
1. Drain Pipe and Garbage Disposal
Before checking the dishwasher components that could be responsible for the drainage problem, check that the pipe the dishwasher drains into is not clogged. If the dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal, make sure the disposal is clear of debris. Note that the garbage disposal’s drain tube that connects to the dishwasher drain hose can become clogged. Detaching the drain hose and clearing the disposal’s drain tube may fix the drainage issue. If the dishwasher has been recently installed, make sure the garbage disposal knockout plug in the garbage disposal’s drain tube has been removed.
2. Air Gap and High Loop
If your dishwasher drain hose does not connect to a garbage disposal, it may connect to an air gap. If you do not have an air gap, the drain hose may be positioned in a high loop underneath the sink. Both the air gap and high loop are designed to stop wastewater from flowing back into the dishwasher during the draining cycle. If the air gap is clogged or the drain hose is not in a high loop position, then water backing up and not draining may be causing the drainage issue.
The air gap is usually a fitting mounted to the sink or kitchen cabinet. The air gap works by sending air into the hose, which eliminates the negative pressure that can cause the discharged wastewater to return to the dishwasher. The air gap can be inspected and cleaned of debris by removing the cover and cap.
The “high loop” method works by looping the drain hose up so that it is secured just under the sink. Check the dishwasher’s manual for the correct specifications for your dishwasher’s drain hose.
3. Filter and Sump
Depending on your model, you may have a removable filter in your GE dishwasher. Removing the filter may also allow you to clear the drain pump of any debris that may be clogging it. If you can remove the filter, clean it with warm water and soap; make sure to remove all debris.
The filter is located at the bottom of the dishwasher, in the sump area. The sump assembly refers to the dishwasher tub. The sump’s main purpose is to collect water for the pump. Making sure the sump area is clean and free of large debris will help the dishwasher to drain and prevent future blockages.
For safety, make sure to disconnect the power to the dishwasher before accessing the filter.
4. Drain Hose
If the dishwasher cannot drain, it may be because the drain hose is kinked or blocked. The first thing to check is if the drain hose is kinked. If the hose is not kinked, check to see if the drain hose is blocked. Detaching the drain hose from under the sink should not be too difficult; pliers can be used to release clamps that may be securing it. You can use a drain snake tool to clear the hose of debris.
Another method to clear the drain hose is to put the end of the hose into a large bucket and run a short cycle. This may cause the blockage to blow out into the bucket or demonstrate that the pump is not working. Make sure you are prepared to turn the dishwasher off or have another bucket handy to collect the discharged water from the dishwasher.
Checking the other end of the hose will likely require accessing the drain pump inside the dishwasher. Follow the instructions below to access the drain pump and check the drain hose.
5. Drain Pump
If the drain hose or filter is not blocked and the drain hose is connected properly, the dishwasher likely has a faulty drain pump. Pump motors can fail either mechanically or electrically. A mechanical fault is usually caused by a broken impeller or a foreign item clogging the drain pump.
The impeller on the drain pump should rotate when you manually turn it. If it will not rotate, the drain pump will likely need to be replaced. If a drain pump impeller is damaged, the impeller (if separate) or the entire drain pump will need to be replaced.
To check if the drain pump has failed electronically, use a multimeter to test the drain pump for continuity (a continuous electrical path). If the pump fails a continuity test, it will need to be replaced. When testing for resistance, most working drain pumps should show a reading of around 200 ohms.
Depending on the dishwasher model, the drain pump can be accessed by either removing the bottom-front kick plate or putting the dishwasher on its back and unscrewing the access panel underneath the dishwasher. Alternatively, the drain pump may be accessible when you remove the filter inside the dishwasher tub.
Before accessing the drain pump, make sure to disconnect the power and turn off the water supply to the dishwasher.
6. Drain Solenoid
The drain solenoid opens the drain valve to allow water to drain from the dishwasher. The solenoid can become defective due to abnormally high or low temperatures. If the solenoid fails, the valve will not open, and the dishwasher will not drain.
As with the pump motor, the drain solenoid can be tested with a multimeter to determine if it has continuity. If the solenoid is defective, it should be replaced. The solenoid is located by the motor or on the drain pump. It can be accessed by removing the bottom-front kick plate or bottom access panel.