GE Dishwasher Won't Drain? (Possible Causes And Fixes)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

A dishwasher that doesn’t drain can cause a variety of issues. Not only does it prevent you from washing dishes easily, but it also can lead to flooding. If your GE Dishwasher doesn’t drain, address the issue immediately to avoid further frustration and damage.

If your GE Dishwasher doesn’t drain, check the drain hose below the sink for any blockages or kinks. You should make sure that the drain hose is a white, corrugated hose as worn hoses promote crimping and blockages. Also, check that you don’t have a clogged kitchen sink drain.

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Common Reasons Your GE Dishwasher Won’t Drain

Your GE dishwasher washes dishes and then removes any water from the washtub after the completed cycle. The dishwasher does this by pumping the wastewater through a drain hose and out into the sink drain.

It can be normal for small amounts of water to remain in the bottom of the tub. However, if you begin to have more than a cup of standing water, you have a problem. Here are some common reasons your GE dishwasher won’t drain.

Broken Drain Impeller

The drain impeller pushes water through the drain hose and into the garbage disposal or drain line. If there is a broken impeller, it will prevent water from being pushed through, and you should replace it.

Defective Drain Pump

The drain pump uses the impeller to push the water through the drain hose. If the pump motor isn’t working, the dishwasher won’t drain. To determine if the drain pump is defective, check the pump motor for continuity using a multimeter.

If the motor doesn’t have continuity or gets power but won’t run, replace the drain pump.

Drain Solenoid Kit Has Failed

The drain solenoid opens the drain valve and allows the water to exit the dishwasher. If the drain solenoid has failed, the valve will not open, and the dishwasher won’t drain.

Clogged Drain Valve

Over time, the drain valve can get clogged with debris, and the water can not flow through the valve. To resolve a clogged drain valve, clean it out. If the drain valve is clean but still isn’t working, replace it.

Broken Pump and Motor Assembly

The motor drives the impeller to force water out of the drain hose. If the motor runs during the drain cycle, check for a blockage in the drain line. If the motor won’t run during the drain cycle and instead hums, you should replace the pump and motor assembly.

Improperly Installed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are installed with a plug in the drain tube. If the dishwasher doesn’t connect to the garbage disposal, the plug must remain in the drain tube. However, if the dishwasher connects to the disposal, you should remove the plug.

If you installed the garbage disposal recently, you might not have removed the drain plug.

Stuck Check Ball

The check ball is a small, plastic ball in the check valve. The check valve prevents water from returning to the dishwasher after the dishwasher has drained. If the check ball gets stuck, it will prevent the water from draining through the check valve.

If the check ball is stuck, try to free it.

Stuck Check Valve

The check valve prevents wastewater from returning to the dishwasher after it has drained. The valve gets stuck closed, and the water is not able to drain. If the check valve is stuck, try cleaning it out or replace it if necessary.

Clogged Drain Hose

If your dishwasher isn’t draining, you could be dealing with a clogged drain hose. To unclog the drain hose, remove the drain hose from the dishwasher and sink drain and clean it out. A drain hose clog is usually near the garbage disposal or the drain branch tailpiece.

Broken Water Pump Belt

If you have a GE dishwasher model with a water pump belt, it could be worn or broken. Search for your model number to determine if it has a water pump belt. To access the water pump belt, remove the lower panel located on the bottom of the motor.

If there is damage to the water pump, replace it.

How to Troubleshoot a GE Dishwasher That Won’t Drain

If your GE dishwasher doesn’t drain, you need to troubleshoot the problem. Follow the steps below to resolve the issue.

Step 1: Check for a Blockage in the Sump

The sump’s main purpose is to collect water for the pump. Determine if your model has a Fine or Ultra Fine Filter and then remove it and check underneath for debris. There should be no paper or large pieces of food at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Step 2: Determine If You Have a Faulty Drain Impeller

A faulty drain impeller is one of the most common reasons a GE dishwasher doesn’t drain. The drain impeller pushes water through the drain hose and into the drain line or garbage disposal. If this part is faulty, you will need to replace the whole drain pump.

Step 3: Check for a Failed Drain Solenoid

If the GE dishwasher still isn’t draining, a failed drain solenoid could be the reason. This part opens the drain valve that allows the water to exit the dishwasher. To check this, first, disconnect the power and remove the bottom panel of the dishwasher.

You should then be able to see the drain solenoid attached to the main pump. Reach under the dishwasher and push down the solenoid. If the solenoid doesn’t move, replace it.

If the solenoid does move, you should still try to troubleshoot it by following the steps below:

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

Step 4: Check for a Defective Drain Valve

As mentioned earlier, the drain can become clogged with debris. When checking this area, also check the drain valve. Over time, the drain valve can become clogged and stop working.

Clean the valve if there is debris present. If you have already done this, but the unit will not actuate, you will need to replace the valve.

Step 5: Check the Chopper Blade for Clogs

The chopper blade in the dishwasher dices any food particles that come off the dishes. This helps to avoid a clogged sink or dishwasher line. If too much debris builds up around the chopper screen, the dishwasher can stop draining.

Therefore, if your dishwasher isn’t draining, determine if the chopper blade has damage and then clean the debris from the area. If you discover a damaged blade, you will need to replace it.

To replace the chopper blade, follow the steps below:

  • Disconnect the power, open the door, remove the dishwasher’s lower and upper racks, and set them aside. 
  • Remove the retaining nut from the lower spray arm and lift the spray arm off. 
  • Find the spring clips on each side of the spray tower attached to the washtub’s back wall. Press the clips to release the tower.
  • Release the lower spray arm bearing and remove it from the center of the washtub. 
  • Remove the screws holding the filter housing and pump cover in place. Then, you should be able to see the chopper assembly. After removing the chopper assembly cover, you should see the blade.
  • If the blade has damage, replace it. 

Step 6: Check for a Faulty Drain Pump

If your drain pump is faulty, the dishwasher will not drain. Check the drain pump using a multimeter to determine if there’s continuity. If there is no continuity, you will need to replace the drain pump.

How to Replace your GE Dishwasher’s Drain Pump

Step 1: Disconnect Power and Mounting Brackets

Turn off and disconnect the water and power supply. Unattach the mounting brackets so that you can pull the dishwasher out from under the counter to access the bottom.

Step 2: Remove Wiring Harness from Solenoid and Motor

Lay the dishwasher on its back and remove the wiring harness from the drain solenoid and the motor.

Step 3: Loosen Sump Clamp and Remove Drain Line Clamp

Loosen the clamp that goes to the sump and the pump’s outlet to the center spray nozzle. Remove the clamp on the drain return line. Make sure a towel or container is near as there will most likely be water in the hose.

Step 4: Remove the Motor

Remove the support clamp for the motor and tilt it towards you. Disengage it from the bottom of the tub and pull it out.

Step 5: Remove Pump and Motor Assembly Parts

Move the pump and motor assembly to a stable work area. While holding the motor shaft, remove the cutter blade, grater, wear ring and retainer, and discard. While continuing to hold the motor shaft, remove the impeller and then remove the motor’s pump.

The pump should slide off the motor shaft, then you can set it aside.

Step 6: Clean Out Debris and Reassemble Pump

Remove the seal from the pump, discard the old seal, clean out any debris and then reassemble the parts.

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Related Questions

How do I remove an odor from my dishwasher?

If your dishwasher has an odor, more often than not, this is the product of a dirty dishwasher or hard water. Over time, small particles of food can accumulate in the machine’s filter or crevice and begin to smell. This can even cause your dishes to have an unpleasant odor. Remove the odor by placing a cup of white vinegar in a bowl on the dishwasher’s top rack. Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle available, and the acids in the vinegar will help break down any deposits. Remove the bowl once the cycle is complete, and this will leave the interior of the dishwasher smelling fresh.

How often should I clean my dishwasher?

How often you run your dishwasher will determine how often you should clean it. If you run a load every day, experts recommend that you clean your dishwasher’s filter and drain once a month. This helps the dishwasher to continue to run smoothly, and it keeps your dishes clean. If you use your dishwasher less often, you can wait a bit longer between cleanings. Every two months, take some time to give your dishwasher a deep clean. This will remove any trapped food and dirt, so your glasses and plates will come out of the dishwasher sparkling. 

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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