While dishwashers are as prone to part failure as other devices, they also require regularly scheduled maintenance. Refer to your owner's manual and this troubleshooting guide to get your machine running.
Before replacing electrical components or hoses, consider disconnecting the electrical and drain the water supplies to dishwasher. This will look like flipping the related breaker to the off position or removing its fuse, then locating the water supply for the dishwasher and turning it off.
Obstructed Drain Hose
The drain hose transfers fluid from the bottom of your dishwasher to your garbage disposal or under sink drain connection. After it leaves the bottom of the dishwasher the hose passes through a loop on the outside of the machine. The hose then travels to an air gap, check valve, or high loop under your sink before connecting to the garbage disposal or under sink drain connector.
Air gap use is a plumbing standard in some locations and optional in others. Check local codes if you're unsure. Without an air gap, there is a small possibility to syphon sewage contaminants into your drinking water system.
|Air Gap units||High Loop units|
Solid debris — food, hair, etc — can accumulate in the drain hose with time, but normally form with broken plastic or porcelain chips. Disconnect the hose from both ends and check for obstructions. While the hose is off, there are other systems related to draining worth investigating.
Remove the sump pump screen at the bottom of your dishwasher and remove any materials that shouldn't be there. This screen is usually held in by a couple of screws. Remove the coarse and fine filters and remove all foreign material.
Many GE dishwashers have a self clean filter inside and at the far end of the dishwasher. The filter can be removed and a plunger will twist out of the self cleaning body. If the plunger is twisted and distorted, water cannot flow past. Clean, and replace.
Clogged Garbage Disposal
If the dishwasher is hooked up to a new garbage disposal, verify that the disposal was installed properly and does not still have a knockout plug in the disposer's drain tube. The plug must be removed to facilitate draining.
If the plug has been removed, it's possible the disposer is clogged with debris. Clear out the drain tube from any obstructions.
Defective Drain or Circulation Pump
A new drain pump should only take a few minutes to remove all water from your dishwasher. Taking longer to remove the water or leaving standing water in the machine is a sign of a bad pump. Low humming or squealing noises also point to a pump problem. Pumps can fail both electrically and mechanically. Some models of dishwashers may have separate pumps to drain and circulate the water, so check both pumps. These pumps are normally on the bottom of your dishwasher.
If your the dishwasher adds water, heats, and empties water, but the dishes are not clean then the circulation pump is likely the issue.
Let's listen to our dishwasher.
A loud buzzing noise indicates a blocked or dirty drain pump or wash pump. If the pump is jammed, remove the blockage. You may have to replace the drain pump if there are no blockages.
A squealing or droning suggests a failing wash pump. Search for blockages to the pump, and replace the wash pump.
A scraping sound suggests a damaged impeller or impeller fin scraping against the pump housing. The impeller is inside of the pump and is what moves the water through the system. Replacing the impeller instead of the whole pump may be possible. Inspect the impeller. If it's broken, replace it.
A worn drain pump may also have a hole, crack, or worn bearings causing a leak. Replace the drain pump in this case.
If none of the above tones are evident, then disconnect the drain pump from the system, and test its continuity. If the measured impedance in Ohm (Ω) between terminals is 15-40Ω, your drain pump is likely fine.
If the pump just hums when it should be running, the entire pump assembly might need to be replaced.
Defective Drain Solenoid Valve
Your machine may have a drain solenoid valve, which lets water drain.Take off the cover plate near the floor and inspect the motor. If your motor has two or three wires, then it is a single direction motor. A motor with four wires is a reversing motor. If you have a reversing motor, you can skip this section because it will not apply to your dishwasher.
Use a multimeter set to Ohm (Ω) and check for continuity by placing the probes onto the electrical leads. If the solenoid tests negative for continuity or nowhere near 40 Ohm, it will need to be replaced.
Malfunctioning Check Valve or Ball
If the check valve gets stuck in the closed position, water will not drain. The valve and ball are normally underneath the filters at the bottom of the machine. Remove the lower rack, sprayer arm and filters. Inspect and clean your check valve. It may need replacing if washer still will not drain. Some models use a check ball instead of a valve. This ball may be stuck, or need replacing.
Worn Water Pump Belt
Very few dishwashers have a water pump belt, so verify if your model has one. If the belt is broken or worn, replace it.