GE Dishwasher Won’t Start, Stop, Drain, etc.

GE Dishwasher Won’t Start, Stop, Drain, etc.

GE Dishwashers are great machines and are useful appliances to have in any kitchen. Considering that washing dishes by hand is considered one of the most boring chores to do for many people, they definitely are a blessing! But like with any important appliance, when it stops working properly, it is a very frustrating experience.

There’s a lot that can go wrong with a GE dishwasher, or any dishwasher for the matter, such as not heating, not draining, not starting, and other issues. But if your dishwasher is not starting at all, it could be due to the door not shutting properly or a drive motor that needs to be replaced.

We will be going over the common failures that can happen with a GE dishwasher and how to fix them. If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to read on!

GE Dishwasher Won’t Start or Turn On: Why, and How to Fix

GE Dishwasher Won’t Start or Turn On: Why, and How to Fix

As we mentioned above, there are a number of reasons why a dishwasher will not start, and we will go over them one by one. 

Dishwashers almost always will not start until you close the door, or else water would leak out if not properly closed. This is definitely a good thing, and if your dishwasher isn’t starting due to a faulty door latch or latch switch, you could say it is a blessing in disguise. 

Several things you can check to determine why your dishwasher isn’t starting are as follows:

  • The dishwasher isn’t plugged in. This is a pretty generic answer to the problem, but it is the first thing to check. If your dishwasher isn’t plugged in all the way, it simply will not start. If it is plugged in, check the circuit breaker to see if the corresponding switches are turned on. 
  • The child lock is on. Many dishwashers come with a child lock for safety reasons, including GE dishwashers, and they won’t start when it is on. If you are unsure if your dishwasher even has a child lock, you can look up the model and check the manual for it. This is another simple fix that you’ll be glad isn’t anything more!
  • The dishwasher might need to be reset. A dishwasher that refuses to start but still has working lights can indicate that you are stopping the cycle before it even starts by pressing it twice or more. Press the start button once and wait to see if it starts after about 10 seconds. Some dishwasher models won’t start instantly after pressing the button.

Check the Door Latch Assembly 

A GE dishwasher will not start if the door isn’t closed properly because it will not receive the power to finish a wash cycle. The door latch assembly holds the door closed and also houses the door latch switch, which is what provides power to the dishwasher’s buttons.

If your dishwasher isn’t starting due to this issue, either the door latch isn’t securing the door shut, or the latch switch isn’t on or providing power to the controls. If you want to check to see if the door latch switch is the issue, you can use a multimeter like this AstroAI Digital Multimeter to check for continuity after powering the dishwasher off. To check for continuity:

  1. Unplug the dishwasher from the power source.
  2. Remove the inner door panel for access to the latch assembly, usually located at the top.
  3. Insert the catch into the door assembly to check if the catch activates the door latch switches.
  4. The switches should be activated manually and remove them to check for continuity.
  5. On Rx1, touch the probes to the switch’s terminals with the multimeter.
  6. If the reading is either zero or close to zero, the issue is with the door latch switch. If it is higher, the door latch assembly needs to be replaced. 

Check the Timer and Electronic Control

These parts are responsible for determining how much power gets to parts such as the heating circuit, drain pump, and water inlet valve. You can check to see if these are functioning properly by testing the electronic control and timer with a multimeter.

Check the Selector Switch

This part of the dishwasher is responsible for letting you select between different options when it comes to drying, washing, etc. If your dishwasher is refusing to start, the problem could be due to the selector switch not working at all, or it might be stuck, or multiple buttons are being pressed at once. If the issue is that there is no power, you can test this with a multimeter. 

If you find that the selector switch isn’t working at all, find the official OEM replacement selector switch and replace the broken one with the new one. 

Check the Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is what allows the control board to receive power. If it breaks, then there will be no power for the dishwasher to start. You can check the thermal fuse by opening the access door panel, locating the thermal fuse typically located at the top of the circuit board, and checking for continuity with a multimeter. If it is blown, it needs to be replaced.

Replace the Drive Motor

If the drive motor fails, your dishwasher will not start. Ask yourself if you’ve been hearing any weird noises coming from previous cycles, such as humming. This indicates that the drive motor is failing and it needs to be replaced with a new one.  

If you would like to learn how to do this yourself, this video is a good tutorial:

GE Dishwasher Won’t Stop Running: Why and How to Fix

GE Dishwasher Won’t Stop Running: Why and How to Fix

If you have the opposite problem and your dishwasher won’t stop running, there are a number of things that could be wrong, but thankfully, it is slightly easier to pin down this problem than when it won’t start at all. 

If your dishwasher is currently running while reading this, unplug it and/or kill the power by switching off the circuit breaker. 

Assess the Timer Motor

The first thing you should check is the timer motor; it is what regulates the dishwasher’s cycles from start to finish. If the timer motor isn’t working properly, or at all, the dishwasher will continuously run. 

After ensuring you unplugged your dishwasher or flipped off the circuit breaker switch, remove the control panel face by removing the screws on it and the latch. Open the door and remove the door panel screws and locate the timer motor.

You will see two wires at the top of the motor, remove both of them, label them with tape to tell them apart, and use an ohmmeter to assess the motor function. The setting should be on X1000 and should have a reading between 2,000 and 3,000 ohms. If the number is outside of this range, it needs to be replaced.

Check the Heater Element 

Dishwashers work in stages, and if a stage doesn’t pass, they will generally stick on a certain stage continuously. This is especially the case for the heating stage. If the water temperature isn’t hot enough, a dishwasher will continue to try to heat it indefinitely. 

The culprit is likely an issue with the heating element. 

Same as above, ensure the dishwasher is unplugged.

There will be a metal rod at the bottom of your dishwasher, this is the heating element, and they vary in appearance depending on the manufacturer, but they are usually unidentifiable as the heating element across the board. 

To access the heating element, remove the lower front panel of the dishwasher and remove the wire connectors, labeling them with tape so you know how and where to put them back. With a multimeter on X1, check the terminals for a reading between 0 and infinity. 

If you don’t get this reading, it will need to be replaced. Using a wrench, remove the lock nut and lift the heating element out and replace it with a new heating element reconnecting both the wires and power. 

Check the Thermostat

The thermostat tells the dishwasher that the next cycle is ready to commence. If it isn’t working, it will simply stay on the heating stage. 

  1. After disconnecting the dishwasher from power, remove the dishwasher’s outer panel and control panel. Remove the screws, and you should now have access to the bottom front and tow panels. 
  2. Remove the wires from the high-limit thermostat and the metal mounting bracket and thermostat.
  3. Remove the thermostat from the bracket and replace it with a new one. Reconnect the wires and panels. 

Check the Float Switch Assembly

In order for the dishwasher to fill and drain, the float switch assembly has to work properly. If it is not, the dishwasher will continue to run.

  1. Unplug the dishwasher. 
  2. In the front corner of the dishwasher, locate the float switch assembly under the float bulb.
  3. Using a multimeter, test the float switch assembly’s operation by setting your multimeter to x1. If you don’t get a reading of zero or infinity, it should be replaced.

GE Dishwasher Won’t Drain: Why and How to Fix

GE Dishwasher Won’t Drain: Why and How to Fix

A dishwasher that won’t drain will leave you with standing water when you open it. Troubleshooting this won’t be as difficult as the above examples, so don’t be afraid to try these methods before calling a pro!

Clean Detergent Mistakes

Dishwashers and regular dish soap do not mix. If you have accidentally made this common mistake, your dishwasher will fill with suds making it harder to drain. Simply clear out the suds and water and run the cycle again. 

Clean the Drain Basket

Another common reason for a dishwasher draining is debris in the drain basket, which is located at the bottom of a dishwasher’s interior. It is typically either detachable by hand or is held in place by a couple of screws.

Simply remove the cover and clean out any debris, put it back, put the cover back on, secure it, and run another cycle. 

Check the Drain Hose For Clogs 

If the drain hose is clogged, then water won’t be able to drain.

  1. Unplug the dishwasher
  2. Place towels underneath the unit
  3. Remove the lower front panel and locate the area where the hose connects to the drain pump. 
  4. Blow through the hose to check for any clogging; air should pass through if there isn’t any.
  5. If the clog is near the front, you can remove it with a straightened wire coat hanger, but if it is near the end, you may have to replace it if you aren’t able to easily get to it. 

Other GE Dishwasher Issues

Other GE Dishwasher Issues

There are other issues that dishwashers face, and we are going to run through them briefly. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask experts or get the problem professionally fixed.

GE Dishwasher Keeps Filling

One of three things can have happened if your dishwasher doesn’t stop filling: the timer is stuck on fill, the float switch is faulty, or the water inlet valve is stuck open.

  1. Unplug the dishwasher.
  2. The cabinet contains a dome-shaped plastic float switch. It won’t lift up. Remove the plastic top and scrub the stem and replace the dome. Ideally, it should move up and down freely now, and you can move to the next step.
  3. Using tape, label the wires connected to the float switch for reference.
  4. Set the multimeter to Rx100 and touch the probes to the terminals. Lifting the float, you should get a reading of infinity. If not, it will need to be replaced.

GE Dishwasher Door Won’t Close

Like we went over earlier, if your dishwasher’s door won’t close, this is probably due to the door latch assembly needing to be replaced. A door latch replacement can cost anywhere between $40, depending on your model of dishwasher. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can hire a repairman, but the cost will jump up substantially. 

GE Dishwasher Won’t Clean Dishes

Like many problems that a dishwasher can have, not cleaning your dishes – the one thing it was designed to do, can have many factors that are causing this issue. Here are several of the most common reasons why a dishwasher might stop cleaning dishes:

  • Dirty interior: Over time, a dishwasher’s interior will become dirty from food, grease, and soap scum. Many people think that dishwashers clean themselves when you use them, but this isn’t the case. Appliances, even ones designed to clean, will almost always need good cleaning themselves. You can clean a slightly dirty dishwasher by running a cycle with 3 cups of white vinegar poured in the bottom. 
  • Dirty filter: If your dishwasher has a removable filter, it might need a cleaning. In these dishwashers, it is easily accessible below the racks covered by a twist-off cap. Remove the filter and rinse it thoroughly with hot running water. If it is particularly dirty, soak it in hot soapy water.
  • Broken soap dispenser: The major component that cleans your dishes is soap. If your soap dispenser isn’t distributing soap, or at the right time, or not enough of it, your dishes won’t come out clean. Typically the issue is due to a jammed spring in the dispenser door, which you can clean using a small brush dipped in hot water and vinegar. If the dispenser door or the spring is broken, it will need to be replaced.

GE Dishwasher Won’t Dry Dishes 

Not as bad as a dishwasher that won’t clean your dishes, but one of the conveniences of a dishwasher is that you have dry dishes once it has completed a full cycle, which can be annoying.

  1. Check your settings. Dishwashers these days come with multiple different settings in how a cycle behaves. Many of them come with a heated dry option for superior drying. Furthermore, your dishwasher may have a rinse agent, which may be preventing dishes from being as dry as you would like. 
  2. Check the vent heating element. If a dishwasher is failing to dry your dishes, problems with the components may be the issue. A lot of dishwashers have a vent to release the hot hair that dries dishes, and if it is failing to open or has a fan that isn’t working properly, you’ll have wet dishes.

GE Dishwasher Filling and Draining

A dishwasher that is filling and draining without cleaning your dishes could mean that you have one of the issues discussed above or a problem with the float switch, which is what monitors how much water enters and leaves the machine.

GE Dishwasher Won’t Heat

Either the heating element or the thermometer is not functioning properly. In this case, consult above on how to assess these components. You will need to use a multimeter in order to access if the heater element is functioning properly. If it isn’t functioning, you will need to replace it, which is usually under $40 if you do it yourself. 

GE Dishwasher Door Pops Open

This indicates a door latch failure, and a door latch assembly replacement is of order if you are sure you are closing the door all the way. As previously mentioned, this repair typically costs $40 to do. 

GE Dishwasher Fills but Does Not Wash

As mentioned previously, this problem can be attributed to a dirty dishwasher, filter, or a broken soap dispenser. Ensure that you are cleaning your dishwasher regularly, including the filter. Not maintaining your machine is the most common reason why a dishwasher can leave behind dirty dishes. 

Final Thoughts

GE Dishwashers and dishwashers, in general, are quite complex machines, and the more complex something is, the more areas where something can go wrong. Reputable dishwashing brands like GE typically have a good track record when it comes to reliability, but not everything goes according to plan all the time.

If any of the above tips don’t work, don’t be afraid to consult a professional. Or in the last resort case, the dishwasher may need to be replaced.

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