5 Reasons Why GE Dishwasher Not Draining

A GE dishwasher is designed to wash dishes and then remove wastewater from the washtub at the end of the cycle.

It does so by pumping it through a drain hose and out into the sink drain.

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While it’s normal for small amounts of water to remain in the bottom of the tub, if you begin experiencing more than a cup or two of standing water, you may have a problem.

You will need to troubleshoot the problem, as there are several reasons this may happen.

Some examples are a clogged sink drain, obstructed air gap, or an improperly installed garbage disposal or drain line.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons your GE dishwasher stops draining.

Check for a Blockage In The Sump

Before going too far, it’s best to first check for a blockage. Here’s how to do so:

The first thing to do is determine if your model has a Fine or Ultra Fine Filter. If so, remove it and check underneath for debris.

Ge dishwasher fine filter clogged

Check to make sure there’s no paper or large pieces of food at the bottom of the dishwasher near the sump area (bottom of the tub).

Check the drain hose where it connects under the sink for a kink in the hose or a blockage.

Be sure when your dishwasher was installed the wire corrugated drain hose was used, rather than an older hose.

Check your kitchen sink for a clog. If you have a garbage disposal, run the disposal to clear the drain.

Remember to always run the disposal before running the dishwasher to prevent clogs.

Is there an air gap installed? If so, remove the cap and clear away any debris that’s present.

Finally, if you recently had a garbage disposal installed, ensure the drain plug inside was removed.

Faulty Drain Impeller

This is one of the most common repairs for a GE dishwasher that doesn’t drain.

The drain impeller pushes water through the drain hose and into the drain line or garbage disposal.

When this part goes bad, the whole drain pump need to be replaced. Here’s how to replace it:

  1. Turn off and disconnect the water supply, as well as the power supply.
  2. Unattach the mounting brackets so you can pull the dishwasher out from under the counter to access the bottom.
  3. Lay the unit on it’s back
  4. Remove the wiring harnesses from the drain solenoid and the other from the motor
  5. Loosen the clamp that goes to the sump, and also the outlet for the pump to the center spray nozzle
  6. Remove the clamp on the drain return line. Be sure to keep a container or towel near, as there will probably be water in this hose.
  7. Remove the support clamp for the motor
  8. Tilt the motor towards you and disengage it from the bottom of the tub to pull it out
  9. Move the pump and motor assembly to a suitable work area
  10. Remove the cutter blade and discard – hold the motor shaft while doing so
  11. Remove the grater and discard
  12. Remove the wear ring retainer and wear ring, discard
  13. Remove the impeller. Hold the motor shaft while doing so
  14. Remove the pump from the motor. Slide the pump off the motor shaft, set aside
  15. Remove the seal from the pump, discard the old seal
  16. Clean out any debris and begin reassembling the parts
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Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump uses the impeller to force water through the drain hose. When the drain pump is faulty, your GE dishwasher will not drain.

To check the drain pump you will need to use a multimeter and see if there is continuity. If there is no continuity, or if there’s power but it won’t run, you’ll need to replace the drain pump.

Keep in mind that drain pumps cannot be repaired, so it will have to be replaced. You will follow the steps above to access the drain pump, and complete the repair.

Failed Drain Solenoid

Another common reason a GE dishwasher won’t drain is due to a failed drain solenoid. This part opens the drain valve and allows water to exit the unit.

To check this you’ll first want to disconnect the power and remove the bottom panel on the dishwasher.

Once you have this part off, you will see the drain solenoid attached to the main pump. Reach under the machine and push down on the solenoid.

If it doesn’t move it’s failed, and needs to be replaced. If you notice that it does move, this generally means it’s still good, but you should still try this to further troubleshoot:

  • Reconnect the power
  • Start a cycle on the dishwasher
  • If the timer is mechanical, slowly turn it until the solenoid turns on
  • If you turn the timer all the way around and it never engages, replace the solenoid
  • If the dishwasher has electronic controls, start a cycle and wait a few minutes before pushing start/reset. This should cause the solenoid to engage.
  • If it doesn’t engage, replace the solenoid.

Defective Drain Check Valve

As we briefly discussed in the beginning, the drain can become clogged with debris. When checking this area, be sure to also check the drain valve.

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Over time, this part can become clogged, or even stop working all together.

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First, you’ll want to clean the valve if there is debris present. If you’ve already done this, but the unit still won’t actuate, you’ll need to replace the valve.

Again, these parts are not repairable, so you’ll need to buy a new one and replace.

Chopper Blade Area Clogged with Food

The chopper blade in a dishwasher is designed to dice items removed from the dishes into small particles before being drained.

This process helps avoid a clogged sink and dishwasher line. If too much debris builds up around the chopper screen, the dishwasher can stop draining.

GE dishwasher choper blade area clogged

When this occurs your best option is to check the chopper blade for damages, and clean all debris out of the area. If the blade is damaged, you’ll need to replace it. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Disconnect the power
  2. Open the door and remove the lower and upper rack from the dishwasher. Set both racks aside
  3. Remove the retaining nut from the lower spray arm
  4. Lift the spray arm off
  5. Find the spring clips on each side of the spray tower that’s attached to the back wall of the washtub
  6. Press the clips to release the tower
  7. Release the lower spray arm bearing and lift it from the center of the tub
  8. Remove the screws holding the filter housing and pump cover in place
  9. Once these items are removed, you should see the chopper assembly
  10. Remove the chopper assembly cover
  11. You should now see the blade. Is it damaged – if so replace it
  12. Also clean any food debris you find from the screens

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You’ll know if the drain pump is bad by checking to see if the motor runs during the drain cycle. If so, there’s probably a blockage in the line.

If the motor doesn’t operate at all or just hums, you probably need to replace the pump and motor assembly.

Have you had issues with your GE dishwasher not draining? What was the problem and how did you fix it? Leave us a comment below!

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